Opening with an extended version of ‘Forever’ and followed by the undeniable Madchester groove of ‘Weirdo’, The Charlatans get their CQAF headline gig off to an expectedly strong start, following a reportedly equally triumphant show in Dublin the night before. New album tracks like ‘Talking In Tones’ and ‘So Oh’ sound more like 1995 than 2015 and are welcomed like old favourites. However, the starry-roofed tent inhabitants explode with collective excitement as the fan favourites of ‘North Country Boy’, ‘One To Another’ – a song that’s been given a new generation of fans through soundtracking the E4 sitcom My Mad Fat Diary, and is probable cause for the younger faces in the crowd – and ‘The Only One I Know’ follow between the mostly Modern Nature offerings.
A band as well toured as this are unsurprisingly tight and they stroll comfortably through virtuoso solo sections in ‘Let The Good Times Be Never Ending’ but it is recently-bleached front man Tim Burgess who exudes charisma throughout. Equal parts party dictator and humbled entertainer, his efforts to connect with the fans through friendly gestures and beckoning them to “live a little!” are well received.
Finishing the set on their recent RnB-tinged single ‘Come Home Baby’ they encore for a further ten minutes and if the post gig tussle for setlists is anything to go by, this decade spanning group are still as popular as ever. Come back soon (baby). Shannon O’Neill
Photos by Isabel Thomas and Christopher Flack