LIVE: The Charlatans, SFA & Blossoms @ Castlefield Bowl 04.07.15

The Charlatans showed once again why they are still one of the best live acts around at their ‘homecoming’ Castlefield Bowl show this weekend (4th July).

Manchester for a change was blessed by intense sunshine as around 8,000 fans congregated at the cracking inner city outdoor arena for a gig which will live long in the memory of those present.

First up were Stockport’s rising stars Blossoms. Only big things lie ahead for this young five piece. Their psychedelic numbers were a perfect start to the day its fair to say the band are getting better and more self-assured every time they perform. Tracks like ‘Cut Me And I’ll Bleed’ and set closer ‘Blow’ were sounding massive in the outdoor arena and it’s no exaggeration to say that it is a realistic prospect of these boys headlining at Summer in The City in their own right in the coming years.

Super Furry Animals have made a welcome return this year, celebrating 15 years of ‘Mwang’. The band, donned in the now customary all white boiler suits, played an hour slot brimming with classics. Always a great turn live, it’s great to have them back on the scene. They absolutely bossed Glastonbury headlining the Park Stage the weekend prior and they brought their scintillating form to Castlefield along with their Super Furry encore costumes and Dylan style placards instructing us when to “Cheer” and “Applaud”. A truly brilliant band – it’s great to have them back and let’s hope for new music to from them and a tour of their own.

The Charlatans entered the stage just after 9.15pm coming on to a montage of Tony Wilson introducing them on a Granada TV broadcast from back in 1990, followed by the Coronation Street theme tune. Quite the entrance. And a perfect demonstration of the longevity of a band who it is fair to say are probably playing as well as ever. Especially on the basis of this performance.

As the day light starts to descend the band look the business on stage with Burgess on the top of his game, working the stage brilliantly and very much the focal point with the striking red, white and blue jumper and the blonde barnet.

They rattled off banger after banger with all the big hitters in there. ‘The Only One I Know, ‘How High’, ‘Just When You’re Thinking Things Over and ‘Can’t Get Out Of Bed’ all getting a massive sing along from a responsive crowd whilst the new material from the bands 12th studio album ‘Modern Nature’ slotting in perfectly.

The encore as ever is the imperial ‘Sproston Green’. The Charls are joined on stage by New Order’s Gillian & Stephen Morris (who had been DJing in between sets for the evening) and the Dexy’s brass section to form a more than decent super group and do the impossible and take ‘SG’ to an ever bigger level for one of the most raucous renditions of the song I’ve witnessed.

A spectacular show from a band on the top of their game.