The Charlatans made their long-awaited return to New York City on Monday night with a remarkable performance at Bowery Ballroom, much to the delight of an enthusiastic and loyal crowd. The band, who started out at the height of the late 1980s and early ‘90s Madchester scene and went on to become one of Britpop’s celebrated mainstays, just released their eleventh studio album, Who We Touch (Cooking Vinyl).

Kicking things off with “Then” and “Weirdo,” two of their biggest hits from 20 years ago, the band played a generous set drawing from old and new material.  Not every album was represented, though, as the selection mainly focused on the Charlatans’ early and late material. 

Charismatic lead singer Tim Burgess stayed close to the front of the stage for much of the set, high-fiving the crowd and displaying subtle dance moves that varied from gentle sways to half-pogos. Without speaking much between songs, Burgess still managed to engage the audience, who were often singing along. The crowd went wild, with a little moshing even, when the band played their first big U.S. hit, “The Only One I Know,” which featured a cool cymbal solo intro from Jon Brookes. Acknowledging that there were many longtime fans in the audience, Burgess dedicated “White Shirt,” from their first album, 1990’s Some Friendly, to “everyone who was here the first time around.” With this being The Charlatans’ first tour in over four years, the show had a reunion feeling, for fans anyway, though the band has been going strong all along. Songs from Who We Touch included “Smash The System” and “When I Wonder.”

For the encore, the band returned with the first single from the new album, “Love is Ending,” as well as an old hit, “Can’t Get Out of Bed” from 1994’s Up to Our Hips, before closing with Some Friendly’s “Sproston Green,” which started with founding member Martin Blunt playing a deep bass riff in place of the guitar on the intro.

The evening started out with a brief but delightful set from the ever-enchanting Sherlock’s Daughter, who are supporting The Charlatans on the U.S. tour.  Their dreamy, melodic songs feature a bevy of percussion, intricate guitars and the ethereal vocals of lead singer Tanya Horo.  The set included “Reprise” and “Song for Old People” from the debut EP, as well new songs “Out Here In The Cold” and the stunning “Giordano Bruno.” –Teresa Sampson, Photos by Tear-n Tan

  1. Tim’s got quite a heavy bowl cut going!