Music Park: The Charlatans @ Howard Theatre — 11/12/15

The Charlatans
The Charlatans perform a surprise show at Glastonbury 2015 on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Paul Carless)

Tim Burgess is the man who never ages!

Since the UK vocalist founded his band The Charlatans, he’s always had an air of pleasant youthfulness about him — and it simply hasn’t gone away in the 25 years since The Charlatans released their first album, Some Friendly, which produced the monster hit “The Only One I Know.” Much earlier this year, the band released its 12th studio record, Modern Nature, and undertook a US tour in support of it, including a stop at the Howard Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 12.

Tim didn’t disappoint the ardent audience that turned up for the gig at the Howard. With his classic blonde mop haircut, sunny vibes, and carefree attitude, he invited everyone to dance and sing along with him as The Charlatans (commonly and somewhat unnecessarily known also as The Charlatans UK) bounced through 18 songs that capture Britpop at its catchiest, even if the setlist was heavy on the new songs.

New songs like “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending” capture The Charlatans at their best with an overtly ’60s psychedelic tone preferred by some of the best Britpoppers. Tim’s voice is as pleasing as ever, and the band really comes together with some very strong material. In concert at the Howard, bassist Martin Blunt was a standout performer, bringing tremendously relaxed confidence to every song he played.

Watch The Charlatans perform “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending” live on the Late Late Show with James Corden on Nov. 6, 2015:

Modern Nature is the first album by The Charlatans since the death of their drummer Jon Brookes by brain cancer in 2013. With Jon’s passing, The Charlatans have recruited Pete Salisbury of The Verve to play drums with them, bringing their current core number to five when they are on the road.

Some of the songs of course are somewhat more reflective under the circumstances, but The Charlatans maintain a very forward-facing outlook, seeking better times and better climes. For example, they closed their main set with “Come Home Baby” from the new album; it’s a song that may not be as up-tempo as others like “Let the Good Times” but it nevertheless has a similar character, defined by Tim’s expressive voice while awash in bright guitar by Mark Collins.

Listen to Tim chat a bit about the album, and watch the Charlatans perform “Come Home Baby” live from The Church via YouTube:

The Charlatans didn’t forget long-time fans, of course, as they got everyone in the room swaying along to a robust performance of “The Only One I Know” toward the end of their set, and they closed their encore with “Sproston Green,” another first album favorite that pleased the mid-sized DC crowd.

The band isn’t in the United States for much longer; they hit Sacramento, Calif., tonight and Portland, Ore., tomorrow before departing for Mexico and then returning to the United Kingdom. If ever you loved these guys, they remain the steadfast musical companions that you always knew, and they are well worth seeing again when the opportunity presents itself.

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