Review: The Charlatans at Usher Hall, Edinburgh (14/12/15)

Words: Amanda Cunningham

So who says working men don’t dance?! Monday 14th December at the Usher Hall may be the most men I have ever seen in one place dancing and all you needed was the Charlatans. It has been at least a decade since I was last able to catch the Charlatans live and they yet again delivered an excellent live performance.

We got to the venue early, just in time to catch the last of the Ian Rankin (oh yes the chap who writes the dark as shit detective stories) finishing his DJ set. I was unaware of this little sideline and he provided some good tunes while we got in the beers from the top bar. I had already had a recommendation for support band Frankie and the Heartstrings. They were an excellent choice, full of energy, some excellent hair and dance moves from the lead singer. I particularly liked the Ramones-esque Bad Girl and (Too right) It’s Christmas written by Scottish legend Edwin Collins. We could also catch a glimpse of Tim Burgess watching from the side of the stage and he seemed to be enjoying the set and waving at an excited crowd.


The Usher Hall had removed the seats from the main hall for the gig, which I had never seen before, it was a great idea and turns the place into a great gig venue. Just before the band came on stage the hall packed out and they come on starting with big favourites Weirdo and North Country Boy. The band have such an extensive back catalogue, that there was just song after song, mixing the material from the new album with classic hits and fan favourites. Tim Burgess must have a portrait in his attic which ages in a way that he does not appear to. Apart from the blonde hair, he appears almost unchanged from when they first appeared. Still fresh faced and full of energy, if anything he has become even more comfortable and confident on stage, than when I last seen them. He does really well to make eye contact and wave to fans up on the balconies and the crowd just love him. Stand outs for me were Blackened Blue Eyes from 2006 album Sympatico and Sproston Green, still fresh despite being over a quarter of a century old. With 3 encores and all the big hits played, a happy crowd left the Usher Hall and The Charlatans remain a fantastic live band, who can still put on a great show.

Oh and I have now found out how to get coveted after party passes: Get old, have kids and need to decline because you need to get the last train home. My inner 18 year old was less than impressed! Great night, even if I couldn’t stay on for the party.

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