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The Charlatans Live

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The Charlatans Live
Tivoli, Buckley
25 November 2021

THE CHARLATANS proudly announce their (Covid) delayed release of their 30th Anniversary tour and a 6 vinyl LP Box Set. Released on Then Recordings through Republic Of Music, A HEAD FULL OF IDEAS is a five album, and exclusive 7″, career-spanning box set that sums up their remarkable progress from 1990 Manchester scene hopefuls to one of the UK’s most enduring and best-loved bands. The accompanying tour begins at Belfast, Limelight 22/11/21 and finishes in Aberdeen on 20/12/21.

The band have notched up 13 Top 40 studio albums - three of them number ones - alongside 22 hit singles, four of them top 10. The rollercoaster highs have been accompanied by some shattering lows, any which one of them could have felled a less resilient band, from nervous breakdowns to near bankruptcy and the deaths of two founder members.

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Somehow, they have not just carried on but adapted and transformed. The classic Charlatans sound - driving Hammond organ, Northern Soul and house-influenced rhythms, swaggering guitars and Tim Burgess’s sunny yet somehow yearning vocal - is instantly recognisable. And in spite of everything they have been through their music is now more relevant than ever, The Guardian described their last album, Different Days as “one of their best ever.”

This limited box set, is a diverse collection portrayed over five Transparent blue vinyl LP’s, spanning their hits, classic live performances, unheard demo’s and rarities and remixes. Within the box will also be an exclusive Original Demo’s 7″ featuring ‘Indian Rope’/'The Only One I Know’, as well as a signed print of a tour poster from the early 90’s, a booklet featuring unseen photographs and sleeve notes by friend and journalist Dave Simpson. There will also be triple vinyl LP version and 2CD deluxe of the box set featuring the hits albums plus the live album, and finally a cd or vinyl of just the hits albums.

Their iconic and hugely adored live track ‘One To Another’ (circa 1997) provides the titles for the individual vinyl collection within the box set. Each piece of vinyl is named after a lyric from the song.

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Review

The Band

Martin Blunt - bass (1988-present)
Tim Burgess - lead vocals, harmonica (1989-present)
Mark Collins - guitar, pedal steel guitar (1991-present)
Tony Rogers - keyboards, piano, organ, hammond organ, mellotron, backing vocals (1997-present)

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Back in 2001 I was in the early throws of developing my music website from my Wrexham, North Wales base. I had started covering live shows when my friend JJ invited me to Wrexham’s primary live venue to witness a secret gig by a band called The Charlatans, who were preparing for one of that summer’s festivals. In truth, I didn’t know the band and hadn’t heard a note of their music. The gig was sold-out with fans coming from far and wide on the news of the ’secret gig’. It’s hard to believe that was 20 years ago - I was still using film! After the amazing show Burgess performed a DJ set where I managed too take a few shots. In terms of live shows it was one of those special events that is cemented firmly in my memory.

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Over 20 years later I’m back to see the band perform at a time when the UK’s musical gems seem to be making effective comebacks. This show is also special because it’s taking place at one of the country’s iconic rock music venues, the Tivoli in Buckley, North Wales - just a few miles from Wrexham. It also happened to be another sold-out gig with not an inch to spare in this historic auditorium.

I tried to guage the nature of the audience while I waited for the show to start and concluded that it consisted mainly of males aged between 30-50 with a sprinkling of fans in their mid-to-late 20s. At 9pm the band members mounted the stage to roof-lifting cheers before opening with a short introductory instrumental spell. At its completion a smiling, white-haired Burgess joined and immediately launched into a fabulous ‘Forever’ opening, which just happened to be one of my favourite Charlatan tracks. The band sounded perfect while white-garbed Burgess was in animated mood, wandering around the stage like a wounded lion.

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The setlist was magical, perfect and covered all the bases. High points were many and I was reminded how distinctive the band is and how many great songs were written. It was hard to believe that both the band and their songs were 30 and 20 years old. ‘Weirdo’ and ‘Get Out Of Bed’ were two early reminders of just how good the band is while later in the set ‘Impossible’ and ‘Sproston Green’ provided the final evidence of a band that will live on in distinction for another twenty years. A memorable and exciting show that will add to my fond memories of a band with a big heart and a lot of soul. The band played my favourite track ‘How High’ brilliantly and I was reminded that the band are still aiming for the sky…

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Setlist

Forever
Weirdo
Can’t Get Out Of Bed
Then
You’re So Pretty
Sleepy Little Sunshine Boy
Just When
One To Another
A Man Needs
Blind Stagger
Different Days
Plastic
The Only One
North Country
Blackened
How High

I Never Want An Easy Life & He Were To Get There
Impossible
Loving You Is Easy
Sproston Green

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