The Charlatans

As Tim Burgess looked out at the bouncing crowd filling the Apollo from underneath his dyed peroxide blonde fringe and launched into the opening lyric from ‘North Country Boy’ with steely force and confidence, I knew that this was going to be one of those gigs. Playing their 1997 hit album Tellin’ Stories in its entirety, The Charlatans brought the house down on Friday, leaving their audience for the most part in a state of shock and awe.

The Charlatans

Kicking off the evening with a deafening blast of sound was the lone support act Deadbeat Echoes. This four-piece North West band owned the Apollo stage in their own right, playing their dark indie beats with the confident swagger of a group that knows it is good. The track ‘Get Yer Blues On’ in particular stood out as one to listen out for in the future and I’d be surprised if this band aren’t storming the charts sometime soon.

The Charlatans

Blue lights danced across the stage as The Charlatans emerged to loud cheers and launched straight into ‘With No Shoes’, but it was the second song of the set ‘North Country Boy’ which sent the gig spiralling into stratosphere. The audience was obviously mostly made up of a loyal contingent of fans who have stayed with the band throughout their journey (one person I spoke to had been to 85 of their shows), thrilled at the chance to hear Tellin’ Stories once more.

The Charlatans have been around for over 20 years and while they play with the experience and mastery you’d expect from a band that old, the music doesn’t sound like it was composed over a decade ago. That is their secret weapon. It’s not that they have a wild front-man or put on elaborate stage shows, it is that they have excellent material that sounds like it could have been released yesterday.

The Charlatans

The stage set up was pretty simple and the band themselves didn’t really need to perform to the crowd much at all. Tim Burgess occasionally sauntered across the front of the stage in that way that only front men of indie bands can, shaking his blonde hair around and encouraging the audience to dance and that was the only incentive people needed to go absolutely wild. The stars of The Charlatans show are Burgesses unique voice and their killer guitar and piano riffs.

‘How High’ was played with the ferocity of a young band with a point to make which is what I found quite refreshing. There was no resting on laurels; all the tracks, even the b-sides which perhaps weren’t as good melodically as some of their hits, were still played with such gusto that it was hard not to dance along to them.

The CharlatansThe Charlatans

When the band came on for a seemingly everlasting encore there was a high level of anticipation surrounding ‘The Only One I Know’. When it was finally played it really was one of those moments you believe you’ll find hard to forget. The combination of a classic track played brilliantly and a few thousand Mancunians bouncing up and down in jubilation is hard to wipe from your memory. My ears are still ringing and I’m still smiling. It really was one of those gigs.

The Charlatans

Set List Included: With No Shoes / North Country Boy / Tellin’ Stories / Clean Up Kid / One To Another / You’re A Big Girl Now / How Can You Leave Us / Title Fight / How High / Only Teething / Get On It
Encore: Forever / Weirdo / Impossible / Just When You’re Thinking Things Over / Blackened Blue Eyes / The Only One I Know / Sprosten Green

Gig review by Nic Jones
Gig Photos by Carl Fleischer

2 Responses to “The Charlatans + Deadbeat Echoes @ The O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK – 1st June 2012”

  1. Review for Gig Junkies – The Charlatans | NavigatorNic Says:

    […] The Charlatans + Deadbeat Echoes @ The O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK – 1st June 2012 […]

  2. Gig Reviews | Gig Photography | Interviews | Competitions from Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Tim Burgess @ The Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK – 20th October 2012 Says:

    […] has been a busy year for Tim Burgess. Following a stomping anniversary tour of The Charlatans hit 1997 album Tellin’ Stories he could have been forgiven for taking some time out. But no, […]

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