It’s hard to believe that The Charlatans are about to embark on a 31st anniversary tour (should have been 30th but we all know why this didn’t happen last year!). I mean if bands had gone through half of what these lads have gone through, they’d have packed in a long time ago: nervous breakdowns, accusations of armed robbery, near bankruptcy, illness, and the sad passing of two of its founder members. The group’s biography is more a modern day Greek tragedy, than that of a rock and roll band.
However, the band has survived. And last month they released their latest greatest hits collection, ‘A Head Full of Ideas’, as well as a 21 date tour of the UK and Ireland, starting with a free gig for NHS frontline staff at Manchester’s Gorilla on 15th November. It is rather fitting that the tour begins at Gorilla: without the invention of frontman Tim Burgess, there is every chance that the venue wouldn’t be open today.
The compilation released last month is a celebration of a career which spawned 13 top 40 albums and 22 hit singles, which I’m sure will be showcased on the upcoming tour. It’s the perfect introduction to anyone new coming to the band, whilst for fans it’ll be the source of great debate, more what is missing rather than what is included.
For me, The Charlatans hold a special place in my heart. They were one of the first bands I got into when leaving high school, eventually going to see them numerous times with my friends which provided stories and memories that still get told to this day. Despite the many twists and turns life chucks at you, The Charlatans have provided the soundtrack to my life for 25 years: births, deaths and marriages, they have been through them all with me.
A few years back I was lucky enough to meet and interview the band. It was certainly the first band I’d interviewed, and one that didn’t disappoint. The hardest part was trying to stay professional and not come across as a nerdy fan (which I think I failed at quite spectacularly)! A couple of nights after, I saw the band put on a super-charged gig at a homecoming show in Northwich, which crystalised just why I love the band – great tunes and effortlessly cool demeanour from all involved.
There are a handful of tickets left for the winter dates. For me, The Victoria Warehouse gig on December 4th will be a chance to have a big night out with my pals, and as the band once sang, Let The Good Times Be Never Ending.
Tickets available at: https://www.thecharlatans.net/gigs