Friday 23 September 2022

The Charlatans - Manchester New Century Hall - 22nd September 2022

As part of the opening celebrations for Manchester's newest old venue New Century Hall, The Charlatans performed their second album Between 10th And 11th in full on Thursday night before finishing with a mini-greatest hits set.

It's our first visit to the refurbished and reopened New Century Hall and we have to say we're impressed. Other than a lowish stage that might prove problematic for those shorter than us, it's been a very well thought out yet subtle reinvention of the room. Colourful LEDs in the ceiling in the build up, a decent lighting and sound set up for the show itself and easy access and exit help make it a pleasurable gig experience, although we're told the show was undersold which would explain us having more space than we normally would at a sold-out gig. It's a really positive addition to the Manchester gig venue scene.

The Charlatans are part of the opening week of events, playing a venue much smaller than the ones they would normally frequent and it's an adoring sort-of-hometown crowd that greets them like returning heroes as they run through their often overlooked second album Between 10th And 11th, the follow-up to their number one debut Some Friendly. Tim Burgess repeatedly tells us that it's a one-off, but their desire to do things properly means they've got a film reel that acts as an excellent visual accompaniment.

They come on stage to the recorded version of Subtitle before launching into the album in order, save for The End Of Everything being picked out of the middle of the record and placed at the end of the first set. Tim tells us it makes sense for the flow of the gig and he's right. It means the album's three key songs - Tremelo Song, Can't Even Be Bothered and lead single Weirdo - come together in the middle of the first half of the evening. 

Fan favourite Chewing Gum Weekend gets its first airing for twenty-eight years and Tim tells the rest of the band that the audience can sing along to part of it which they do with gusto. Page One makes its first appearance for thirty and throughout it looks like the band have thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this album for the show. The fact it's a less obvious choice for an album show - you'd argue Some Friendly, The Charlatans and Tellin' Stories would top a casual fan's list - makes it feel like more of an event when combined with the fact it's the first time the band have played here and most of the audience have been in the venue.

There's a short ten minute break after the album is finished before they return for a set of favourites from across their career, from Some Friendly's Then and standard set-ender Sproston Green through to Modern Nature's Let The Good Times Be Never Ending and Come Home Baby. Always a band to not just do the obvious, Oh! Vanity makes a rare appearance alongside a trio from Tellin' Stories - the title track, North Country Boy and One To Another - that has most of the venue dancing along to Tim's invitation to join in as the songs feel reinvigorated by the one-off nature of this show rather than the pressures of a tour and the atmosphere is a celebratory one.

The Charlatans' official website can be found here. They are on Facebook and Twitter. Tim Burgess is also on Twitter.

They played I Don't Want To See The Sights, Ignition, Page One, Tremelo Song, Can't Even Be Bothered, Weirdo, Chewing Gum Weekend, (No One) Not Even The Rain, The End Of Everything, Let The Good Times Be Never Ending, Then, You're So Pretty We're So Pretty, Oh! Vanity, Tellin' Stories, North Country Boy, One To Another, Come Home Baby and Sproston Green.


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