“One To Another”

As I’m sitting here preparing to write my review of Wednesday night’s Charlatans UK show at the 930 Club, the awesome rendition they played of “One to Another” keeps cycling through my head. I am sitting here wrestling with the urge to hop in my car and zip up 95N to see them play again tonight in Philadelphia. In essence going from one show to another.

The Charlatans are one of my favorite bands of all time. They are my favorite Brit-pop band, partially because they’ve stuck it out so long and evolved in style to transcend the whole genre. When their first album Some Friendly dropped I was in High School and it changed my life, widening my musical universe far beyond my strict Punk roots. Ultimately it was seeing the Charlatans play live some many years ago that sealed the deal. The Charlatans live are amazing, one of the most fun, danceable, party-spirited performances you’ll ever see. And somehow they’ve managed to keep the energy going now for 17 years.

Wednesday night’s show was spectacular. Probably the best show I’ll see this year. I can’t imagine it being topped by anyone. And I say that out of honest reviewing – not just because of my affinity for the band. Their performance was spot on – playing, energy, attitude, fun. Tim Burgess has gone from awkward Madchester teen, bouncing around with bangs a-swaying, to the epitome of cool, a Pop stateman in his prime. Burgess’ presence on stage with black derby hat and hands in his pockets was magnetic. The crowd followed his every tic as he belted out songs in a range of voice that is captivating and mind-boggling. Burgess had a smile on his face the whole time, occasionally waving to crowd members and jokingly busting out in slow-mo renditions of his old dance steps. It was great to see the guy performing in such a good mood.

The rest of the band always play with a kind of background presence, but their instrumentation is front and center. Year’s ago I called these guys the ultimate jam band – not in the hippy-trippy sense, but just in the down-home, kick-ass, dance-your-butt-off style that gets you moving every time. I often complain about DC crowds talking too much and not dancing enough at shows. Well the 930 Club wasn’t nearly sold-out for this show, but the couple of hundred folks who were there were all fans, and I haven’t seen a DC crowd that enthused and dancing that much in years.

For Charlatans fans the set-list was incredible. It was like a dream-come-true set-list. The Charlatans played the high-notes from most of their albums, including their rarely played-live original single. Hearing the opening cymbal’s to “The Only One I Know” was a wonderful live music moment. It is so rare to hear live that every fan in the crowd started cheering and literally jumping for joy. It was a moment that matches hearing Radiohead bust out the rarely played “Creep” at Merryweather Pavilion a few years back. Moments like these are what get me going back for more everytime. I love live music and there couldn’t be a better reminder of that than this Charlatans’ show.

Now to drive to Philly or not – decisions, decisions.

1 Comment so far

  1. chris (unregistered) on May 19th, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

    One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a 9:30 Club crowd move like that!

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