Live Review: The Charlatans, Rock City (08/12/2015)

25 years after their first appearance at Rock City, The Charlatans showed that they still have the mainstream impact to fill venues as a packed out Rock City were treated to a spectacular two hour set. A throwback, bursting with 90’s classics that reminded the crowd why this band were able to hold their own and have a lasting influence during one of Britain’s most flourishing music scenes.

However this wasn’t simply 120 minutes of nostalgia as The Charlatans added to their set new music from their 12th album which is surprisingly stellar for a band which formed in 1989. Modern Nature is a refreshing effort that worked very well in the Rock City environment and made an invigorating change from many reformed bands whose sets resolve completely around their anthems. Tim Burgess and the band started with the lead single from Modern Nature, ‘Talking in Tones’, which got the lively crowd active from the start. A collection of hits quickly followed which were all accompanied by bright visuals which worked perfectly with the psychedelic guitars and added an extra layer to the performance making it even more exciting.

The quality of the overall gig was increased again by the frontman Tim Burgess whose interactions with the crowd made sure that they were thoroughly engaged through the long set. Also there’s always a worry with a band when they reach a certain age that their talents begin to wane, however fortunately this is not the case with The Charlatans as Burgess’s vocals sound just as good as on their early records. In fact the whole sound from the band still transfers very well onto stage as shown through ‘North Country Boy’ which provoked a fantastic reaction from the slightly older, middle aged crowd as they all appeared to relive their youth as the crowd became very energetic.

“Burgess’s vocals sound just as good as on their early records”

As the set entered its second half it still managed to maintain the intensity of the first. A particular highlight of this was the instrumental from ‘Just when you’re thinking things over’ which showed the immense skill of guitarist Mark Collins as the riff within the instrumental was truly outstanding. After this the band treated the fans to the anthemic ‘only one I know’ which drove the whole venue insane in fits of raucous chanting and dancing. After this excitement Burgess took a moment to calm the atmosphere through introducing the rest of the band to the crowd, the reaction to their introductions clearly showed the positive effect the gig had had on everyone. However the quiet did not last long as the fans were even louder to ‘Come home baby’ as it ended the main set.

The gig ended on a high note as close to 10 minutes of guitar instrumental built the atmosphere within the venue to a truly outstanding finale which left the crowd wanting even more despite the substantial length. A highly entertaining performance showed Nottingham that despite being over 25 years in, The Charlatans can still put on a show.

Jack Smiddy

Image: Paul Carless via Flickr

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.

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