The Charlatans
The Hi-Fi Bar, Brisbane
November 10, 2010

It’s been a long time time between drinks for The Charlatans and Australia. Fresh from playing their Some Friendly 20th Anniversary shows around the UK The Charlatans are here down under with a more conventional touring schedule. It’s certainly not the fan fest that they are used to back home but a rapturous welcome greets the band.

Tim Burgess saunters on looking like Johnny Ramone’s roadie with tight jeans and a black bob, maybe living in LA is getting to him, but he does seems up for tonight. Opening with the swirling Hammond of “Then”, Burgess sings slumped from the microphone stand like a drunk after last orders are called. He soon springs back into life though with “Weirdo” and “Can’t Get Out of Bed” showing that the boys are as tight as ever. With a set drawn mostly from their very early material honed through recent tours, and the obligatory new songs that every band pulls out, it’s a different set to what fans might expect but shows the depth of quality over their long career.

With drummer Jon Brookes currently out of action The Charlatans have drafted in ex-Verve Pete Salisbury as a substitute. You would never tell though and it’s another testament to their ability to rise from any unfortunate circumstances that are thrown at them, and let’s be honest there have been many. They’ve never been a band with one eye on world domination, just a single mindedness to their music which is both infectious and admirable. In a world where fickle fashions take over many a band, The Charlatans ability to stick to what they know and love cannot be faulted.

With “You’re so Pretty” Burgess has now reverted to childlike dancing and is bouncing round like he’s waiting for his turn to use the bathroom. The crowd seem to respond to his devilish grin and high fives are given to the first few rows throughout. I’ve never seen so many near middle aged men look as if they’ll never wash their hands again. Even a mid set flurry of new songs doesn’t move the band from their stride. “Intimacy” and especially “My Foolish Pride” hold up as well as the classics. Never ones though to simply rest on any laurels the double salvo of “The Only One I Know” and “North Country Boy” raises the roof before the encore.

Rounding off with the perennial favourite “Sproston Green” it all gets a bit much for the thirtysomething lads down the front. Once Burgess has left the stage there begins the most good natured stage invasion you will ever see. It’s all light hearted and the embracing reaction from the remaining Charlatans cement what a celebratory night it’s been.