Friday 11 November 2022

Tim Burgess / Dean McMullen / Wax-Tree-Cast - Manchester Gorilla - 10th November 2022

Front man of The Charlatans, head of the listening party and solo artist Tim Burgess brought his Typical Music album tour to Gorilla on Thursday night for a sixteen song set pulled almost exclusively from his solo repertoire. Support came from The Muncie Girls' Dean McMullen and Halifax's Wax-Tree-Cast.

Gorilla is fairly sparsely populated for the start of Wax-Tree-Cast's set but that's a loss for those that didn't come early for the supports that Tim takes great pride in hand-picking, even to the point of requesting, we're told, a cover of The Charlatans' classic A Man Needs To Be Told, which lyrically takes on extra meaning sung by Oonagh. It gets the audience on-side too, but that shouldn't really be needed between Wax-Tree-Cast have an impressive set of songs in their own right and the trio deliver them with power, poise and precision. New single Fuzzed Up is a cacophony of guitar, bass, drums and Oonagh's forceful direct vocals, Class Of 91 has a similar potent impact and they save the best till last. Argue Like I Love You stops, starts and delivers a knockout punch that comes back and hits you again and again as they let loose for one last time. It's why you should always go and see the support.

That is unless you think your own conversation, three feet away from the stage, is more important than the artist on there. Dean McMullen's solo album Part One is a fragile beast, the songs needing attention and respect to be fully appreciated and the audience have a sum total of zero of either. He continues on bravely, and someone shouting out at the end of a song to shut up and listen does have some impact for a little while but then the loud conversations strike up again.

There's little such problems when Tim Burgess comes on stage even if his set vehemently demands your attention given that there's only one Charlatans song on the set, a wonderfully stripped back version of The Only One I Know that appears in the middle of the set. The rest is very much his solo work and very clearly delineated from the start. 

His most recent album Typical Music is a twenty-two song beast of a record and half the set tonight is taken from that, a myriad of songs that show that he's on a very creative streak at present, each one brimming with ideas that his seven-piece band bring to life in the room. Songs divert on their journey from traditional song structures, experimenting without losing coherence and a fascinating insight into the thought processes of a man behind some era-defining anthems.

With Tim dead centre, guitar in hand for some songs, bounding around the stage on others, he's an effervescent energetic presence that it's impossible not to be drawn in by. These songs have a completely different vibe and intent yet the beaming smile and invitation to the audience to immerse themselves in them is still the same. The band are accomplished, many of them signed to Tim's own Ogenesis label in some form or having been championed by him in their individual ventures, and they feel like kindred spirits who understand the core of the songs. 

The set has a real continuity to it too, building slowly, the setlist selected to take the crowd on a journey with him, the mid-set high of Oh My Corazon and The Only One I Know followed by a couple of songs with Tim seated before finishing on a high of Magic Rising and a two-song encore Only Took A Year and his previous album I Love The New Sky's standout track Empathy For The Devil. The crowd respond with roars of appreciation at the end of each song - and there's none of the usual shouts for band songs that blight many front person gone solo shows - that leave no doubt that the love radiating from the stage is a two-way street. 

Tim Burgess played Flamingo, Typical Music, Lucky Creatures, View From Above, Here Comes The Weekend, Comme D'Habitude, The Mall, Oh My Corazon, The Only One I Know, Sure Enough, The Centre Of Me, Curiosity, Sweet Old Sorry Me, Magic Rising, Only Took A Year and Empathy For The Devil.

Tim Burgess is on Facebook and Twitter.

Dean McMullen is on Facebook and Twitter.

Wax-Tree-Cast are on Facebook and Twitter.


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