LIVE: The Charlatans @ O2 Apollo, Manchester, 02.12.17

Think Madchester: think The Charlatans. The homecoming gig whilst touring their thirteenth studio album Different Days was well awaited and their return to the Apollo theatre, brought this venue back to it’s former glory of stand out, unapologetically “we are Manchester” shows that administered the city-wide reputation for feisty, irrevocable style. Although they perhaps don’t sound quite as Mancunian as the thoroughbred’s of that genre such as Oasis or The Stone Roses, this band has created their own long-lasting sound that defies their veteran status and is refreshed and rejuvenated with each new album we are graced with. We’ve seen band member changes, decades pass, audiences alter and still have the dedication of this miraculously victorious four-piece.

Lead singer Tim Burgess oozes the collective charisma and grace of his band, represented by him taking an audience-wide selfie at the beginning of the show. His modern unity towards his followers through his meticulous twitter updates and appreciative love for his supporters has guided the fans into a complete adoration for Tim and the band that have stood the test of time. Each one of their gigs is every inch the memorable, inspiring event and this evening didn’t falter in matching their title as one of our generations’ best and most admired bands.


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Opening with the classically Charlatans-esque but invigoratingly modern Not Forgotten, from their new album it’s clear that these “big kids” of music have an apt method for expertly tweaking that favoured Charlatans formula each time they bring us something new. They haven’t slipped into that classic obnoxious twist that some of their musically minded peers often slide into and are thankfully still keen to play their much-loved classics that got them to hero status. So Oh and Come Home Baby were featured amongst our heavy, consecutively marvelous set-list, with no person not moving to the pace that is presented by the soft plucks of guitar and divinely thick happy/sad tone to Burgess’ voice. One sweet thing that I was happy to see at this particular gig was the lack of mobile phones and the amiable dancing that was undertaken by many an audience member – not that typical steady bopping movement seen at most gigs. But instead this was a furor of happy, content, arm-in-arm dancing from across the audience, resonating that Charlatans are known for their loyalty and pleasure.

Music videos from the new album played silently behind the performers during their set, to give a bigger sense of the album and the modernity it displays – that they’ve seen it all and the Charlatans still “have it all”. Offset by this was a gleaming spotlight on Tim Burgess, as they played classic tracks like The Only One I Know which truly displayed his notable look as the edgy, Mancunian, peroxide bowl-cut lead singer for a timelessly classic band. Time and time again, The Charlatans prove that they icons in their own right and having never had a break or called it quits, we hope that day never comes.

Words – Hannah Tinker / @hannahetinker
Photos – Nidge Sanders (Trust-A-Fox) / @trustfox