Image Provided by Sonic PR
While originally intended to celebrate the third decade of performing together as a band, this tour instead denotes their 31st anniversary after all that has happened within the past year. Instead, the 30th on the Charlatans’ touring poster was cheekily scribbled out and replaced with a 31st. In all fairness, it must get hard for the band to keep track of time, with more than three decades of making music together and releasing over 13 albums. Having played this iconic London venue over 17 times, frontman Tim Burgess is certainly no stranger to the stage as he appears before the heated crowd; his style and band perfectly preserving a 90s aesthetic. First appearing in the late 80s, The Charlatans differentiated themselves from other rock bands by making the Hammond Organ a key piece of their songs. It’s an instrument unfamiliar to many other bands of the genre, yet the Charlatans play the hell out of it as though it’s always belonged in the genre.
The band opens with ‘Forever,’ the first song from their 1999 Album, Us and Us Only. Its chaotic melody rallies the crowd for much of what’s to come in the hour and a half long set. As expected, the much-anticipated hits ‘The Only One I Know’ and ‘One To Another’ later fuel several moshes to the time-honoured organ—a moment of bonding between both the new, young fans and older fans alike. The Charlatans also welcome tunes from their more recent album Different Days (2017), such as ‘Plastic Machinery’ and ‘Future Tense.’ Song after song, the band plays against colourful pop-art visuals as old clips from past shows flash across the O2 screens. This is the perfect homage to the fans who stuck around for the musical evolution of The Charlatans, many of whom make up the crowd of around 4,000. By the end of the night, The Charlatans work their crowd to an evening of energetic moshing and spilt drinks, with their cult hit ‘Sproston Green.’
Even after Burgess leaves the stage, much of the crowd lingers wishing for more. I reflect the sentiment because The Charlatans’ performance left everyone wanting the show to last just a little longer. I never thought I’d say I moshed to a Hammond Organ (or even crowd surfed to it), but the tour lived up to its name. It truly was the ‘Best Of.’
Edited by Lucy Blackmur, Deputy Music Editor, and Josh Aberman, Music Editor