The Charlatans | CultureHUB Review
CQAF | The Festival Marquee, 02 May ’15
The night starts off with support band Documenta, with a psychedelic rock sound and four harmonic guitarists fronting; a female singer later joined them. The band progressed into songs that had more of a Stone Roses edge by the end of the set. It’s a shame that the marquee didn’t have a larger audience for Documenta, they were really enjoyable and a fitting warm up act for this CQAF gig.
We then arrive at the main act, The Charlatans. The true baggy indie Madchester survivors return to Belfast once again, in a ‘tent’. The Charlatans kick off with ‘Forever’ a bass and Hammond organ laced beast of a tune, followed by ‘Weirdo’. Flaxen haired Tim banters with the crowd; “I always seem to be playing in tents here. What is it with tents in Belfast? “. An echo can be heard in the mass “Tim, you live in a tent”.
Modern Nature is introduced with ‘Talking in Tones’ and begins with eerie guitar chords. This is a moody contemporary track and is unlike any of their previous material. Modern Nature is an album that clearly cuts deeper and is a reflection of the trauma and loss to the band in recent years. That’s not to say that there are no disco bassline guitar songs, with that trademark indie jingle-jangle within the album.
The night was interlaced with the new and the nostalgic. Modern Nature’s hits that resemble 90’s classics ‘Come Home Baby’ and ‘Let the Good Times Be Never Ending’ have those instant, catchy pop song qualities. The type of stuff we were dancing to in sweaty clubs during the 1990’s.
Half way through the gig ‘One To Another’ begins. Eighteen years on, this anthem is just as adored as the era it was released in. The familiar thumping, rolling piano chords have the whole marquee bouncing; a mass of sweaty limbs and shouted vocals. It was only natural to lose the years between 1997 and 2015.
The final three tracks of the set ‘The Only One I Know’, ‘Come Home Baby’ and ‘Sprosten Green’ bring this CQAF show to a close. After attending Charlatans gigs over the past 15 years, it’s hard to believe they’ve kept the pace and still sound this good at this stage of their career. Once again, another triumphant return to Belfast for a band that are still steeped in cool.
Photography Gerry McNally