shatters ten years of effortless cool with one waggly-limbed dance routine.
That’s not the only reason meeting Burgess face to face after all these years is a peculiar sensation. The poster boy for the baggy generation. leader of Northwich's finest export. had confidence. voice and of course. lips with which few contemporaries could compete. His was the look that those who obsessed about the music would ape. And its peculiar because. despite the odds. he has changed so little ~ a youthful 33 year old. he is only slightly crumpled alter his journey down from Aberdeen that morning. The pout that made those indie girls swoon is as pronounced as ever. but Burgess is kindly dismissive of those wishing to dwell on past glories.
‘There‘s still a few of them about at the gigs. even on this tour.’ he says. his accent still thick with (‘heshire brogue
Sly And The Family Stone meet The Rolling Stones in Northwich’s finest export
Charlatans have always known how to make best use of technology and their hooking up with Danny Sabre (whose pedigree includes Black (irape and [72) signifies their most selfless embracing of new technology since they collaborated with the (‘hemical Brothers on l‘)‘)5‘s eponymous album.
Binding all this together is that ever-familiar Burgess nasal drawl. which he has. in quite revelatory fashion. augmented with a crooning. soaring falsetto. much commented on in the album‘s press reviews. (‘ollins is dismissive about the vocal developments. ‘lt‘s something we‘ve heard Tim do before. but as backing vocals.‘ he says. 'Rob (‘ollins used to do the high harmonies. but after he died. we had to get someone else to. and it went from there. This is the first time it‘s come to the fore.‘
It is refreshing to see a band this far down the line so truly
energised by their own music. Burgess is
despite his decamping to the States in 199‘). ‘The same lads genuinely excited by that night‘s gig — a return to who come thinking. "()h this‘ll be a nice trip down memory the Barrowland —- and claims still to be mildly lane." and stand at the back waiting for 'The Only One I for amazed that they have found themselves in a Know‘ and then go fuckin’ mental. 'l‘hankfully for us. the front position to play a bigger venue. last time we is still full of young ’uns who have probably never even heard were here we did three nights at the Barrowland that song. The last album they probably bought was the last _ _’ and that felt like we were trying to do too much. one. It‘s good to have that mix.‘ valce IIpS In the end there will always be one night that’s Since they shambled into our hearts and heels in 1990 with few best or worst. but I still never thought we would ‘lndian Rope‘. ‘The Only ()ne 1 Know~ and ‘Then' — all slack . do the Sli(‘(‘.’ grooves. llammond honks and nasally barks — The (‘harlatans COI‘ItempOl‘arleS This startling degree of modesty in a rock star have cosied themselves in their own little niche. resisting the illustrates why The (‘harlatans have lasted as they
pull of gimmicks or trends ((‘hemical Brothers collaborations excepted) to generate a wilfully individual sound. They always knew how to roll out a chorus to set your black heart a-fluttering. and Winder/um! shows they can do it still.
liven musically. it has not always been plain sailing. 1999‘s Us And L's" ()nly. their second record for l'niversal and their first self-produced record. was a sprawl. Burgess is the first to admit it was a transitional record. ‘We were still finding our feet from having a new memher.‘ he says.
The new member was keyboard player Tony Rodgers. who became the permanent replacement for the maverick Rob ('ollins in NUS. The establishment of Rodgers was not the only change between the last two records. 'We didn‘t wanna use any electronic instruments and we didn't wanna write any choruses.’ says Burgess. ‘lior a record without any choruses on it. I reckon it‘s pretty good though. And we achieved what we wanted. This one‘sjust as good and it‘s got all sorts ofchoruses in it.’
For ('liarlatans 2001. they dispose of the [)ylanesque
country rock of ‘lmpossihle' and the epic psychedelia of
‘lkrrever' from Us And (Ts Only. and make a return of sorts — to the ‘two Stone’ approach: HiHIdt’f/(UH/ fuses the more hedonistic elements ofThe Rolling Stones with the earthy funk of Sly And The liamily Stone. But it‘s not mere retroism. The
22 THE LIST x’,‘ 21-2-2 :I' ‘
have. Sure. they‘ve had their musical peaks and
troughs. but they have an admirable ability to progress while retaining the same wayward spirit and not letting inflated egos rule the roost. The swagger inherent in both their recorded output and displayed so obviously on stage. combined with a stubborn determination. also means they‘re unlikely to leave other than of their own accord.
That evening the Barrowland is electrified as the band roll out the majority of the new record on stage and snake through a selection of their past glories. '.\'orth (‘ountry Boy”. ‘lmpossible‘. 'Weirdo' and the set highlight One To Another“ crash around our ears. and yes. even the old school heads get a belly full: a juddering ‘The Only One I Know' coursing through mid set -- a set depicting a band fully reconciled with their past and present.
Mark (‘ollins can think of only two reasons why The (‘harlatans have survived as they have: ‘We love it.‘ he laughs. ‘but also I don‘t think we know how to do anything else. I don‘t wanna go back to carpet cleaning. Martin doesn't wanna go back to plastering. John doesn't wanna go back to the lumber yard. Tim doesn't wanna go back to being a brickie's mate and Tony doesn‘t wanna inseminate pigs any more.’
What more incentive do you need to survive than that'.’
The Charlatans play SECC, Glasgow, Thu 13 Dec.