Rob Jones

The magnificent Modern Nature album has helped put The Charlatans back on track after the sad death of their drummer Jon Brookes in 2013. The call to make an upbeat record was aimed at counteracting the pain of losing their prized percussionist. It is congratulations to The Charlatans for being positive in a time of tragedy.

The Charlatans made a welcome return to Cardiff after a lengthy lay off from the Welsh capital and it was a new venue in the form of The Tramshed that was to play host to one of our most acclaimed British bands.

From the off it is obvious that band leader Tim Burgess is in a good place and his seemingly permanent smile and affable crowd interaction (including high fives aplenty with the front row) makes for a good vibe. Then there is the all important music and here we have an act with an abundance of top tunes-and, the real challenge is fitting in as many of the anthems as is possible. However, in a set that spans around 90 minutes the audience is treated to a sample of the past and present. New favourites (e.g. Talking in Tones, Let the good times be never Ending, Come home Baby and Emilie) stand toe to toe with the more renowned rhythms that have satisfied the punters across the years.

We are taken through a quarter of a century of mellifluous, soulful, funky, indie rock. The sublime sonic standards ignite a powerful public passion. The reason that this gig is a sell out is because on an artistic front these pristine performers have not sold out! The Charlatans can share in their former glories but they are also aiming for future Midas.

The Charlatans 1990-2015 can note many recording highs and to hear a number of these perfect pop pieces is joyous. Amongst this collection are: Weirdo, North Country Boy, Just when you’re thinkin’ things Over, One to Another, You’re so Pretty-We’re so Pretty and Blackened Blue Eyes. The likes of Opportunity, The Only One I Know and soaring set closer Sproston Green also prove what a great debut album Some Friendly was-and, some 25 years later these sensational songs can still lighten up a stage set.

There is not a weakness present and the players are on top of their game. A buoyant gathering has a collective spring in their step as their Christmas presents had arrived early! The Charlatans had parked their sleigh, come down the chimney and left a stocking full of aural treats! In the season of good will our request is please can The Charlatans make another journey to the principality-sooner rather than later!