LIVE: The Charlatans – The Albert Hall, Manchester

Far Out headed to catch a band of Manchester’s favourite sons on home turf at the Albert Hall the other night.

The Charlatans have grown to become one of the most long-lasting musical names from the city’s heyday to still be around. Despite adversity – most notably having to deal with the passing of former drummer Jon Brookes – the band have reinvented themselves with new album Modern Nature harnessing a more layered sound that has been rewarded with rave reviews.

Pondering how Tim Burgess and co will assimilate the slightly more blissful new material with 90s indie classics is an interesting one, but it’s fair to say they more than rise to the challenge on the night.

It’s a vibrant crowd containing the more predictable ageing mod demographic excited for their old favourites, and intriguingly a great number of 20-somethings who seem to react just as wildly to Modern Nature highlights like ‘Come Home Baby’ and ‘So Oh’ as they do ‘How High’.

Burgess is energetic throughout, geeing up the crowd and rolling back the years during a 90-minute set that has everyone enthused. There’s a slight feeling that the Friday night repeat that takes place the following evening might be a little more more raucous, but it’s not enough to quash a joyous atmosphere.

In fact, the reincarnation of The Charlatans that perform tonight perfectly suit the ambience they get from the crowd. They’ve grown out of the pint-throwing Brit-pop years and evolved into something altogether more mature. A 3D-effect light show that accompanies the lead single from Modern Nature, ‘Talking in Tones’, is a great touch and adds to a demonstration of versatility that could see them just as easily compared to Spacemen 3 as they could The Stone Roses.

The sold out crowd really get their rocks off when trademark hits like ‘How High’ and ‘The Only One I Know’ are brought out towards the end of the set, but a gospel-like sing-along of ‘Come Home Baby’ proves just how popular the new record has become in such a short space of time.

They leave the stage but no one is having any of it. After a slightly protracted interval the band return with the opening chords of ‘Blackened Blue Eyes’ accompanied by a rapturous response. As the crowd slowly filter out, there is a feeling that they have just witnessed a band who have rediscovered their element.

Patrick Davies

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