Tim Burgess, the lead singer of the Charlatans and a beloved figure in the music scene, declares that Glasgow is where it all began. He makes this statement while performing at the renowned Barrowland Ballroom in the city, for the band’s 16th show since 1992. Despite being from Northwich in Cheshire, Glasgow is the only city on their current tour to have two nights scheduled, showcasing the deep connection between the band and the city’s indie-pop music culture. This particular night is extra special as Burgess announces that they will be playing their 1992 album “Between 10th and 11th”, which was requested by fans on social media.
Burgess’s announcement is understated, but his presence is anything but. With his bleached hair, rosy cheeks, and colorful sports jersey, he resembles a whimsical cartoon popstar against the swirling background. He dances, waves, and grins at the enthusiastic crowd. The live performance highlights the powerful moments of Between 10th and 11th, once criticized but now appreciated – the chunky piano chords of Tremelo Song, the Dylan-inspired chorus of Can’t Even Be Bothered. However, the most striking aspect is the driving rhythm that connects all the songs. It’s moving to hear the melancholic lyrics of Ignition and the nihilistic tones of The End of Everything delivered by someone who seems much more lively than when the songs were written. While entire album performances can become predictable, this impromptu set serves as a surprising reminder of the band’s more abstract and introspective tendencies.
The latter portion of the performance showcases the band’s more confident songs, including popular hits like “North Country Boy” and “One to Another,” as well as lesser-known tracks from their 1995 album such as “Toothache” and their more recent single “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending.” After the release of their second album, “Between 10th and 11th,” the focus shifts to a broader range of songs. Lead singer Burgess captures footage of the enthusiastic crowd, which starts off as a heartwarming gesture but eventually becomes reminiscent of those who spend the entire show filming on their phones. However, the audience remains in high spirits throughout, reaching a peak when bagpipe player and opening act Ruby Darbyshire joins the band for a rousing performance of their 2008 single “Oh! Vanity.” In Glasgow, a city dear to Burgess’s heart, there is a palpable sense of mutual affection between band and audience.