Gig review: The Charlatans at O2 Academy Leeds

The Charlatans
The Charlatans
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“Big Saturday,” says Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, who spearheads a Saturday night fever in Leeds through new and old cuts.

Having survived the tragic loses of two band members and a swindling accountant who ran off with the band’s money, The Charlatans are a band who refuse to lie down and tonight is a celebration of the quintet’s tough resolve.

So overcoming yet more tragedy and rock ’n’ roll’s biggest adversary – time – the Northwich band are back with 12th album Modern Nature, which oozes classic Charlatans qualities but with modern twists and themes which make tonight’s set so diverse and dynamic.

Through the uplifting sways of Come Home Baby to the modernist beats in Talking in Tones, airings of the new record comfortably hold their own without sounding alien to the rest of the set.

Clearly leaving his shy, introverted personality off stage, Burgess proceeds to monkey around for classic versions of How High, One To Another and anthem The Only One I Know, evoking pure ecstasy from a sold out Leeds – which is like a trip through 1990s baggy for a gang of 40-somethings. Disappointingly it’s a gang intent on re-living their youth that practically dominate tonight’s audience and surprising given The Charlatans are a band steeped in cool.

Standard closer Sproston Green caps off the end to a victorious night for The Charlatans, who, having celebrated two sold-out homecoming gigs at Manchester’s Albert Hall and achieved their highest charting album for 14 years, are in a rich vein of form.

On tonight’s showing, and Modern Nature being touted as one of the band’s great albums, there’s proof The Charlatans still have so much left to offer and to be excited about.

It’s a fool who dismisses the five-piece as ‘Madchester’ or ‘Britpop’ survivors rather than a great band who stand the test of time, and making exciting records while doing so.

Gig date: March 7