Wednesday, 27 August 2008

How High?

News that the Charlatans are about to visit Australia for the first time in their 19 year history will probably raise more eyebrows than blood pressures, but I must admit it's got me excited. I didn't think we'd ever see them over here - so much so that I changed a flight last November so I could see them in Manchester. Sometimes seeing one of your favourite bands is like catching up with friends from your past - a good chance to reminisce and comment on who has put on a bit of weight.

That night in Manchester [their spiritual if not their actual home] the Charlatans were a lean mean shadow-boxing machine; I was blown away. It's not just the oft talked about tragedy that has kept the band together long after their contemporaries have gone. This is a band of mates, and importantly a band who can really play. Two decades of touring together has left them tight as a coiled spring and backed by a catalogue of songs as diverse as Tim Burgess' singing styles they played a show that's still ringing in my ears nine months later. The set was nicely diverse and touched on a bit of every album (and yes, they played indie-chestnut The Only One I Know if that's what you want to know).

I'll admit (if it's not obvious) I have a huge soft spot for the Charlatans (I once got to hang out with Rob Collins after a gig about a year before he was killed, and a nicer genius you'll never meet) but latest album You Cross My Path is a genuine return to form after their last two patchy efforts. Combine that with a chance to hear One to Another and Weirdo live, as well as one of the greatest set-closers in rock history in Sproston Green and you've got a pretty good night out.

There's currently only two gigs scheduled (November 13 at Melbourne's Queensbridge Hotel and the next night at Sydney's Forum) - so get in quick for tickets. Satisfaction guaranteed...

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