The Charlatans at Castlefield Bowl Manchester Review


CharlatansThe Charlatans
Castlefield Bowl, Manchester

4 July 2015

Reviewed by Gail Dickson

A perfect summer evening in a perfect setting and a band on top of its game!

Castlefield Bowl was made for these evenings, the sun shining with an excited and expectant crowd creating an atmosphere that can only put a smile on your face. Later in the evening when the darkness set in, the venue transformed into a nightclub atmosphere from the Madchester days full of energy, colour and a sea of hands punching the night air. The amphitheatre with its slow slope down to a stage has been erected over a Manchester ship canal basin and is the ideal backdrop for this band as they triumphantly return home.

The audience is predominantly “40 somethings” who have stayed loyal to the band for 25 years. There is also a younger section of the crowd, made up of those who have discovered The Charlatans later in their career and the kids of those “40 somethings” who have been brought up on a diet of Manchester’s most intense and creative musical era. There was a real feeling of unity across all those in attendance as the energetic support for the group bound everyone together.

Stockport’s new up and coming band “Blossoms” opened the show and they delivered a tight and polished performance for a band so early in their career. It can only be a matter of time before this group is here in its own right as headline act, with their style of pyscadelic rock.

Next out as the crowd begins to swell are the Super Furry Animals, straight from their successful Glastonbury set. Capturing the audience with their extensive catalogue finishing on a high in their heat defying animal costumes!

As the sun began to disappear over the Manchester skyline, out comes the main attraction to a cracking reception. The band have not aged over the years, if anything Tim Burgess’s blond bobbed hair makes  him look younger than ever!

In fitting with the occasion, the theme tune from Coronation Street provides the crowd with an early sing-a-along as the group laps up the warm welcome. A cross section of the bands career then ensues, with some tracks more knowingly received than others. The group’s devotees in the mosh pit are audible throughout, singing along with the new tracks from latest release ‘modern nature’ as well as all the classics.

Sound quality is excellent, not drowned out by base with the timing perfectly in tune. After an hour the pre encore section raises the roof with ‘Country Boy, ‘the Only One I Know” and “One to Another’ making the whole amphitheatre bounce – a truly magnificent sight. After a short break ‘Sproston Green’ is a fitting finale, sending everybody home happy, nostalgic and excited to see what the next instalment of the Charlatans will bring.

We can only hope that we don’t have to wait too long to experience another night like the one everyone enjoyed tonight.

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

The Charlatans are currently on tour, for more information visit


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