Monday, 23 August 2010

The Charlatans at V Festival 2010

The Charlatans are a band I have had quite an interesting relationship with over the years, and are now filed under the status of one of my top 10 favourite bands, but that is a status they have not held for too many years. My first awareness of the Charlatans was at school and the purchase of the 7 inch single of 'the only one I know' . This now holds a special place in my affection being the first genuinely indie song that I had ever bought. The song was so different due to the driving organ sound throughout, it instantly grabbed my attention, and is probably the reason why I have held The Charlatans in such high regard ever since as there are close links with the organs coming from The Stax stable of records.

The 7 inch did not instantly embed itself as a classic, I always loved it, but I loved every 7 inch (in fact every bit of vinyl purchased) with a passion. It got played a lot, made the trip to uni with me, got copied onto lots of mix tapes but was just in amongst the crowd. In fact in do have a bit of a blind spot between there's no other way by blur and this single and have to concentrate not to mix them up.

Then the Charlatans were lost to me for a number of years until the collection Melting Pot and the eruption of Britpop which they jumped on the tails of. Melting Pot was a cracking collection, introducing wierdo and can't get out of bed plus the Britpop staples of How high and North Country Boy set The Charlatans up there as one of my faves of the era, but no better than the Mansuns and Casts of this world.

So they then got themselves elevated by the simple fact that they have stayed around, created quality albums and reinvented themselves. I think the transition to legendary status came when they released the Wonderland album. This was a revelation as Tim Burgess sang the album in falsetto, and the tunes really stood up to the treatment.

On release, as I was heavily into the NME on a weekly basis they gave it favourable comments, normally the ex Britpop releases were passed over with a brief 7/10 if lucky and I seem to remember it getting compared to Curtis Mayfield -high praise indeed. But this was a style kept for one album, before evolving again and again on subsequent albums. They have not stopped still, a fact that shone through in their set at V this year, songs from a load of different albums all greeted with great affection, See Blackened Blue Eyes for an example of the quality recent output.

In fact the Charlatans were in the forefront of giving away their album free to the public but by the cooler medium of Xfm radio station rather than the daily mail, they did however get overshadowed by the whole Radiohead, In Rainbows phenomena (pay what you want for the biggest release of the year)

The final reason for their elevation to (borrowing a phrase from the NME) Godlike genius was I found out that the bulk of the band are Brummies, and Tim Burgess now living in LA means Manchester can't claim this chameleon of bands really any more, so they are a home town band!

So why was V 2010 special, yes the set was good, and the perfect way to finish the Festival in the Union tent (despite the band huddle after three songs for a quick blocking from Tim I imagine)' but that was not the reason, the reason was my meeting the band, in the signing tent, getting signed cd and poster, shaking hands with the band, getting my photo taken, and the official picture of me and Tim Burgess being shown on the NME website, a thrill in itself given my history with that publication.

Even the queuing was an experience, as having come from seeing Lissie (quality tunes and pipes and was on the front row) I went to queue for the signing tent, but I was a little early and the queue had some Lissie fans in front, I thought i might meet Lissie for a minute, but the 2 die hard Charlatan fans in front of me, who had been queuing for hours already made it clear that anyone over the age of 19 was not allowed to see Lissie, so I stayed put and was very pleased to have done so. As I stood watching Paul Wellers set from the side of the main stage waiting for the Charlatans I got more and more excited until then it was time, I made the day of the chap in front of me, being his official photographer, I think he was more excited as the photos he took for me were a tad blurry, but igit to meet all the band and was suitably star struck just being able to shake hands and say thanks to everyone in the band. At least I recovered enough by the time I met Tim Burgess (last on the line) to say how much I love the band and to get him to shake my hand for the official picture with the nme.

Superb, superb, superb physical product (signed up at the lake cd) which is now framed on my wall. Happy days.

(and I did feel sorry for Lissie, due to the popularity of the Charlatans, only 8 people met her in her signing, but I'm sure they all had a good long chat!)

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