There’s a sign on a wall in a grim English Northern city that simply reads ‘…And on the sixth day God created Manchester’. The slogan came out in late 80’s high unemployment Thatcherite Britain; in a city with a large student population with a growing drug and thriving music scene. Throw it all into the melting pot and MADchester was born.
Primarily speaking, MADchester was created by musicians pushed by music mogul Anthony H Wilson; like the Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses or The Hacienda nightclub with the rave scene. Baggy pants and hats was the uniform of the day and once the rest of the country realised just how powerful and cool the scene was, they followed accordingly.
The Charlatans are cousins of the MADchester era, while originally from the Midlands, lead singer Tim Burgess is a Manc and the band followed suit. So tonight, let’s roll with it and see what they have in store at The Gov.
Opening the proceedings are Planet, promoting their debut EP Waking Eight. The Sydneysiders are a blend of classic Aussie 90’s pop-rock music mixed with a modern style. Singer Matty Took, an ever-bopping presence front and centre, has a delightful tone to his voice that wins over an ever-growing crowd while tracks such as Save, Sold have poppy, catchy hooks which yearn for warmer summer nights to come.
The night though is for the band that survived MADchester, survived Britpop and they still keep going; The Charlatans.
Starting with Totally Eclipsing and Emilie gets everyone in the swing however it’s the classic One To Another that raises the roof, the piano work by Tony Rogers the feature point of the song.
The set list is a mixture of old and new, this band have just released their 13th album Different Days, however a little birthday nod to their self-titled fourth album with the song Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over is where the much older crowd tonight get their kicks.
In The Tall Grass rocks with its really cool grove which has Burgess clicking fingers while Different Days is delivered with a band knowing they are in the zone with their new work.
Naturally the two biggest cheers for the night are for the classic breakthrough hits North Country Boy and The Only One I Know. Songs that take me back to growing up in Manchester, being influenced by bands like The Charlatans, The Roses, The Monday’s and anyone else whose name you can put a ‘The’ in front of.
The guys finished with the rarely performed Then and finally a Mark Collins led blistering Sproston Green before departing into the night.
It wasn’t the spliff smoking, ecstasy taking, hacienda jumping scene I was ultimately too young for, however for this north country boy it was beautiful reminder of what an amazing city Manchester is and how it produces enduring and influential bands like The Charlatans all these years later.
Live Review by Iain McCallum