Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Charlatans UK Are Back! Again! In the US!!

The Charlatans UK (http://www.thecharlatans.net/) is one of my favorite brit pop bands of all time. Ask any of my friends growing up and they would tell you I was an avid fan through the 90s until present day. I was even a subscriber to their fanzine "109". I still have a copy. Albums like Up To Our Hips or Between 10th and 11th are monumental in sound and songwriting in my opinion. The b-sides I would pick up off singles were just as good. In fact...many of these tracks were much better in respect to the album single they were released with. I remember Repo Records in Ardmore PA would be chock full of these "imports" when I was a teen....ahh those were the days.

Like other bands (Stereolab, Alice In Chains etc) when a key member of the group dies...a good bulk of the fanbase dies with he/she. The sound just doesn't seem the same. This was the case for the Charlatans. Rob Collins, the keyboard player, passed away via car accident in the mid 90s. The sound Rob achieved with the organ/piano/synths had a lot to do with why the Charlatans were so unique in sound in relation to the other brit rock acts around at the time (Blur, Suede etc). That all said I pretty much stopped listening to the Charlatans after Robs death. Telling Stories was the last album I purchased (a great album despite Robs absence). I read reviews from time to time of the more recent "post Rob" albums and they always got satisfactory to poor marks. I should know better than to trust the critics but I just lost interest.

More recently I was watching a program called London Live around xmas which features live British rock acts with accompanying interviews. This particular program happened to feature the Charlatans...present day Charlatans. The tracks they played were mostly from the albums that I knew and they sounded great...like they didn't skip a beat. The band (fronted by Tim Burgess) didn't appear too weathered either. It made me think...man I hope they come to the US and play a few shows. Sure enough last year I thought my dream was realized...then blown to bits when they cancelled. Then I see this latest news bit.


I'm excited for the NYC show but a little disappointed about the Philly show for a few reasons. First, I live in NYC now so I can't make it to a weekday show in Philly (unless it was a Minor Threat reunion or Fugazi show). Secondly, they are playing at Johnny Brendas. Ive seen a few bands at Johnny Brendas. Its a very small venue. Its one of those bitter-sweet deals in that you would love to see them at an intimate venue...but you feel bad that the band couldn't book a larger space. I felt this way when I saw Gene at the Mercury Lounge in NY back in the day or more recently Sloan (which could sell out huge venues in Canada) at the North Star Bar in Philly.

I guess its just a fact that I'm getting older and some of the bands from the 90s/early 00s that I love may have faded from the spotlight a bit. HOWEVER, I would much rather go see one of my favorite bands at the Bowery Ballroom or Johnny Brendas than MSG or Wachovia Center...Weezer, DCFC, Radiohead, Metallica Im looking in your direction.

Anywho, seeing The Charlatans UK at a place like Johnny Brendas would be like having them play in your buddy's basement...anyone who can make that show please do. 

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