The Charlatans – Powerstation: October 6, 2022

The Charlatans

The Charlatans last graced our shores in 2018, they would’ve come sooner, but for Covid, we shouldn’t grumble, previous to 2018, they last came in 2008!

So, their 30th Anniversary Tour became the 32nd Anniversary Tour, based on their debut album Some Friendly being released in 1990.

Ekko Park

Ekko ParkEkko Park start the night with a 30 minute set of well-crafted and hook ridden songs. Band members Joe Walsh (Vocals), Jessie Booth (Guitar), Bryan Bell (Bass) and drummer Nick Douch are all seasoned musicians and the tightness of their performance is shown. Joe Walsh has a great repertoire to connect with the audience, regaling between songs about how the singer of The Dandy Warhols is a dick, and how lovely the members of The Charlatans are. They made a few new fans tonight I think.

The Charlatans

The Charlatans are a Manchester band, right? Well, kind of and kind of not! Maybe we should call them a Greater Manchester band, because it is the band’s ability to draw influences not just from their hometowns, but also from the wider world around them that has given them longevity, as many of their contemporaries fell by the side through the years of Madchester, Britpop and Acid House.

The CharlatansTim Burgess’s fascination with Bob Dylan, Neil Young and 60’s Soul balanced well with founding band members: Martin Blunt (Bass) and John Brookes (Drums) punk influenced rhythms and Rob Collins (Hammond Organ) Strangler-esque keyboards. And while there have been personal changes over the three decades; Mark Collins replacing original guitarist Jon Day, who left after Some Friendly in 1991, the car accident fatality of Rob Collins in 1996, replaced by Tony Rogers and the passing of John Brookes who succumbed to cancer in 2013. The Charlatans had a steady creative core around Tim, Mark and Martin to date.

The Powerstation is bursting in numbers and anticipation, not many young fans can be seen, tonight’s audience are the loyalists of the 1990’s and possibly early 2000’s, mostly now coupled, with the occasional band t-shirt and a lot of Heineken being drunk.

The band takes the stage to little fanfare, Tim Burgess waves and grins and the shows begins with I Don’t Want to See the Sights (Between 10th and 11th 1992) It feels like they are warming the audience up. Then a seemingly off the cuff comment ‘This song is for all the weirdos’ from Tim and then, explosively the crowd and band connect as Weirdo launches the night.

Tonight’s concert is an example of why The Powerstation is perfect venue to see bands such as The Charlatans, with such an expansive stage, all the band members can easily be seen contributing to the performance. Tim Burgess is the obvious focal point with his dad-dancing moves, a never-ending grin, and a playful fingertip interaction, particularly with those brave enough to be in the front row. At 55, Burgess is still full of energy and bright disposition, tonight though, the actual banter is sparse he seems infatuated with filming and photographing the audience as well as himself with his phone. Is he making some post-modern comment on the proliferation of phones at concerts? More likely he is sharing them with his beloved back home in the UK.

All the while Martin Blunt (Bass), Mark Collins (Guitar), Tony Rogers (Keyboards) and touring drummer Peter Salisbury (ex The Verve) are creating and recreating. Guitar, Drums and Bass are busy laying down a rhythmic base and looping, which the keyboards underpin, and for Tim to join, their performance approaches perfection for most of the show.

Like their visit in 2018, the show features many of the songs that have seen them traverse fads and fashions, find success in UK/Europe, be unlucky in love in America, and deal with personal challenges and loss over the last 30 years.

Yes, the set list is focussed around three albums (Some Friendly 1990, Between 10th and 11th 1992 and Telling’ Stories 1997) and you wouldn’t expect it to not be, they serve their purpose, and the audience respond. But this is not a repeat of 2018, the band pull out some hidden gems: How High (Tellin’ Stories) Sleepy Little Sunshine Boy which was a b-side of the Forever single, a personal favourite Blackened Blue Eyes from the underappreciated 2006 album Simpatico, and  Plastic Machinery from their last album Different Days released in 2017.

After almost two hours, the unmissable organ sounds emanate from stage left (Tony Rogers) the crowd prepare for one last burst of energy. Sproston Green (Some Friendly 1990) signals the end of the encore, and the show and at its’ end a thousand punters go home well sated. Well done lads.

Simon Coffey

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski

The Charlatans:

Ekko Park:

 

Setlist
I Don’t Want to See the Sights
(Between 10th and 11th 1992)
Weirdo (Between 10th and 11th 1992)
Can’t get Out of Bed (Up to Our Hips 1994)
Then (Some Friendly 1990)
So Oh (Modern Nature 2015)
You’re So Pretty (Wonderland 2001)
Sleepy Little Sunshine Boy (bside of Forever single1999)
Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over (The Charlatans 1995)
One To Another (Tellin’ Stories 1997)
Tremelo Song (Between 10th and 11th 1992)
Plastic Machinery (Different Days 2017)
The End Of Everything (Between 10th and 11th 1992)
Come Home Baby (Modern Nature 2015)
Ignition (Between 10th and 11th 1992)
The Only One (Some Friendly 1990)
North Country Boy (Tellin’ Stories 1997)
How High (Tellin’ Stories 1997)

Encore
Blackened Blue Eyes (Simpactico 2006)
Sproston Green (Some Friendly 1990)

Simon Coffey