If you’re almost 30 years into your career and still the hottest ticket in town, then you must have been doing something right.
When The Charlatans announced they were bringing their career retrospective collection to the British Music Experience and would also be kicking things off with a special launch night, the tickets couldn’t have gone any faster.
Less than five minutes after going on sale, they were all snapped up – and those lucky enough to be in possession of one were treated to a career-spanning acoustic set, a special signing session and anniversary album playback.
The Charlatans have carved out a prominent place in the British pop/rock landscape through a succession of great albums that haven’t needed to rely on the vagaries of being aligned with whatever is currently fashionable.
They might have initially found themselves bracketed with the `baggy’ scene at the turn of the 90s, but have spent the next 28 years forging a formidable live and recorded reputation in their own space.
They’ve maintained and sustained a loyal fanbase along the way, and those in attendance at their BME exhibition launch were swapping tales of gigs and festivals past, and favourite albums and singles – the latter a particularly tough call when they’re still knocking out quality tracks like Totally Eclipsing to sit alongside the likes of One to Another, How High, North Country Boy, Just When You’re Thinking Things Over and Weirdo.
The signing session in the BME café was like a meeting of old friends as the band members happily chatted away as well as signing the various pieces of Charlatans memorabilia placed in front of them – some newly bought from the BME shop which included launch event posters and a special Charlatans-themed Liverpool map by Dave Draws.
The queue snaked out of the café, through the foyer and back behind the ticketing desks as fans looked to collect signatures on T-shirts, album sleeves and posters.
There was also plenty of time for photographs as band members happily posed for each request and Instagram became quickly flooded with images from the night.
Once the last signature has been written it was time for the acoustic set in the BME’s main space with singer Tim Burgess and guitarist Mark Collins taking us through a selection of the band’s finest moments.
Crowd singalongs were both inevitable and encouraged and there were also clever reworkings of old favourites like The Only One I Know to suit the acoustic setting.
The event closed with a celebratory playback of the Wonderland album which had been released exactly 17 years earlier on September 10th 2001. Fans gathered in the café to listen to an album which established that the band would enter a new decade in fine form.
For four hours fans got to share a unique evening with a band who gave every impression of enjoying it every bit as much as the fans did.
- The British Music Experience is hosting a collection of The Charlatans memorabilia kindly loaned by the band until January 6th