Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Charlatans, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

I recently explained to a friend, that attending the NME tour in February felt like being a parent who had cut short a trip abroad only to return home to find 600 kids raving in my front room having responded to a Facebook invite from my home alone daughter.  Therefore, it was a blessed relief that the Velvet Owl's gig for March saw our feet planted firmly back on terra firma and without an ironic haircut in sight (apart from Tim's, but more of that later)

Tonight, Tim Burgess and guitarist Mark Collins take to the intimate stage of the Brudenell Social Club with very little fanfare. Not for them, a dimming of the house lights and an obscure Northern Soul tune soundtracking their anticipated entrance.  For tonight, this is a stripped back and laid bare version of The Charlatans.  Burgess on vocals, Collins on acoustic guitar and a tatty bed sheet as a backdrop.  For a band whose sound over the past twenty years has been driven by the swirling sound of the Hammond organ, this was a brave move.

However, following the reaction to opening song, Impossible, Tim, Mark and the 350 plus Charlatans fans packed into the venue, knew they were going to be in for a special night.  Warm and fuzzy versions of I'm Coming Home, A Man Needs to be Told and Just When You're Thinking Things Over  were standouts from the first half of the show, which was only let down by an understated reading of The Only One I Know (a song that so obviously needs the Hammond to make it work).

The introduction of drummer, Finnigan Kidd saw the band crank it up a notch or two, and start to become a little more playful with their back catalogue. The Britpop era North Country Boy was given a garage style makeover that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Nuggets compilation. While One to Another sounded like a song itching to have been covered by Johnny Cash as part of his American Recordings series.  The night was fittingly brought to an end with a beautiful version of Sproston Green (what else) and then the band were gone, leaving behind a happy and somewhat inebriated crowd. 

Oh yeah. Tim's hair? It was fucking shit! As always. But we wouldn't have it any other way, would we?

1 comment:

  1. Tim's hair is part of the whole Charlatans experience...It is to be celebrated.