The Charlatans – Live Review – O2 Academy, Leeds
By Victoria Holdsworth, December 2017
A solid blend between old and new for The Charlatans in Leeds, with Tim ‘King of the Pixies’ Burgess looking confident and up for it. Leeds always seems to bring the best out in the band as tonight, like every night, they remember John Brookes.
Tim’s voice has never sounded so good as the band launch into some old classics to get the crowd warmed up – a good idea as it has just starting snowing a blizzard outside.
‘Weirdo’ and ‘Just When You’re Thinking Things Over’ go down very well and still sound fresh and exciting. Then tracks from Different Days, the latest album, are received with great appreciation from fans young and old.
‘Spinning Out’ was a collaboration with Paul Weller, announces Tim. He then teases the crowd by telling everyone that he is in the building tonight. As expected, there is a lot of soul in this tune and it is simply breath-taking the way that Tim delivers the vocals.
‘Different Days’ and ‘Hey Sunrise’ are set against an electronic back drop of imagery that seems so intuitive. The new Charlatans stuff seems to have taken on a dreamier feel, compared to previous works.
‘Come Home Baby’ is still enchantingly catchy and it was great to see some variation across their discography this evening. In fact, the only thing that doesn’t vary with time is Tim’s dance moves – but we love him for it.
‘Love Is The Key’ is still one of the best songs I have ever heard and has the crowd singing along, whilst old favourite ‘North Country Boy’ gets everyone bouncing.
When the Charlatans start to draw you into ‘Tellin’ Stories’ it makes you realise just how influential, exhilarating and important their music has been over the years. And still they continue to experiment, tweak, shift and change to keep progressing with the musical times.
‘Let The Good Times Be Never Ending’ closes the set tonight before the guys come on for an encore of a combo of tunes new and old.
‘There Will Be Chances’ is very folky and unique as hell musically, with some bass driven force added by Martin Blunt, and some expertly picked guitar riffs.
The hypnotic ‘Sproston Green’ from way back in 1990, sounds like it could have been written yesterday. And right there is the crux of The Charlatans: They haven’t just withstood the test of time, they have evolved and twisted with it, injected their music with a magical fluidity that gives it new life and freshness.
The band remain true to themselves – and you’ll be hard pushed to see a better live band with a better back catalogue anywhere.