Charlatans Live

By theajaysharma

Charlatans w/ B.R.M.C.
El Rey, Los Angeles
Wednesday, July 24, 2001

I lost count, I think I've seen the Charlatans over 6 times going back to their mind-blowing performance at the Palladium in 1992. I wasn't too excited about this gig because over the years the Charlatans have been putting out substandard records. Their first couple of albums were great with a few bad songs, but now they've been reduced to bad albums with some great songs. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was opening and that was enough for me to go.

B.R.M.C. are great. I've said it before that I love these guys even though I know it's not the most original music on the planet. It's just refreshing to hear three guys make some great guitar-based music. This is my first time seeing them at a real show and they sounded excellent. During the heavy distorion parts in "Awake" you could still hear subtle effects that make the album so great. It wasn't a full on production, like "Spread Your Love" didn't have the harmonica, but it wasn't missed.

The Charlatans came out and Tim Burgess had on this crazy looking maroon hat, he was a lot slimmer then the last show too. They opened with "Forever" and the sound was a little odd, you could barely hear Tim but that was eventually fixed. The point of this mini US tour was to showoff their new songs so half of the set was tracks off of "Wonderland" and the other half were old favorites, but not too old.

The new songs were interesting, the melody was put back in the keyboards which made it sound like their earlier stuff but still had that jingle-jangle guitar sound. And Tim was singing a bunch of the songs a couple of octaves higher like some Jackson 5 number. It was kinda funny but it seemed to work as the songs are more funkier then their previous efforts. I'm looking forward to "Wonderland", hopefully they can turn it around with this album.

The old songs were just that, the old songs. If you've seen the Charlatans before then you've seen them play, "How High", "Notrh Country Boy", "Just Looking", "Telling Stories", "Weirdo", and of course, "Spronston Green".


Where's "Jesus Hairdo", "Then", "Opportunity", "White Shirt", "...Easy Life...","Chewing Gum Weekend", "Page One"!!! They have so many great songs that it gets so damn borning to hear them play the same "greatest hits" compilation at every show. They have to be tired of playing the same songs, and I'm sure as hell sick of hearing them.