THE CHARLATANS @ Capitol gets 9/10

The Charlatans @ Capitol
w/ Spacey Jane
Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Madchester. A classic genre that defined 90s England and inspired a generation. This style – a fusion of acid-house dance rhythms and melodic pop, distinguishable by looping beats, psychedelic flourishes, hooky choruses – defined a culture of youth, with its impact still relevant today. The Charlatans were icons of this scene in the late 80s and early 90s, alongside contemporaries such as The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. Throughout their 29 year career, The Charlatans have grown to adapt genres of indie rock to produce a truly unique sound. However, as The Charlatans hit the first note of Totally Eclipsing at Capitol on Wednesday night, it was evident that this genre gave them an identity which is relevant to their sound, but not restrictive to their creativity.

Perth was the last stop on The Charlatans’ Australian tour schedule, having embarked on an international tour to showcase their 2017 Different Days album as well a range of classics. Spacey Jane were supporting for the night. It would have been preferable to have a band perform that could better incorporate a genre closer to The Charlatans’ sound, and I wanted to hear a more British-based support act, but Spacey Jane nevertheless put on a great performance. Having attended their single launch a couple weeks back at a packed out Badlands, their growing popularity in the local scene is evident, as well as their strong and catchy, yet simple compositions. The four-piece create an interesting sound and charismatic performance, with guitarist Ashton in particular showcasing clever riffs and captivating stage movement. 

Spacey Jane

As Spacey Jane concluded their set, the audience waited for The Charlatans with pure admiration and energy – chanting Manchester anthems, jumping about and yelling. As the band opened their set, the energy in the venue lifted, with their sound immediately creating an electrifying atmosphere of dance-oriented, indie-sounding rhythms with layers of swirling organs straight out of 60s psychedelia.

The Charlatans

Although the band have been touring for nearly 30 years, The Charlatans are ageless and their sound is truly relevant and adaptable to a modern audience. Tim Burgess performs with energy and captivation, and excellent showmanship – swaying and dancing on stage and addressing the audience to capture and respond to their energy. His voice still perfectly channels every lyric and he is absolutely amazing to witness live.

The setlist consisted of a series of material from Different Days (2017) such as Plastic Machinery, Not Forgotten, a few hits from Modern Nature (2015), as well as 90s favourites such as The Only One I Know, Weirdo, Over Rising and One to Another. The highlight of the night was definitely The Only One I Know; such a classic and amazing hit with the structure and genius of this song still incredibly appealing to listen to, aided by Tony Rogers’ dynamic, sweeping organ playing and Tim’s incredible presence. Mark Collins and Martin Blunt are equally incredibly talented musicians who create a merged sound of engaging uniqueness that adds to the performance.

Overall, The Charlatans put on a sensational show. Their performance was absolutely astonishing and mesmerising, the energy they produced was electrifying, and every song they performed was honestly amazing. I was so immersed in their sound that I lost track of time and before I knew it their set was unfortunately over. The Charlatans are one of the few remainders of the original 90s Madchester scene who are still relevant and continuously produce brilliant and adaptable music.


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