The Charlatans – Delamere Forest 07 Jul – Gig Review by David A Currie

This month it’s my great privilege to be able to present the very first guest writer to the site. This is The Charlatans at Delamere Forest as reviewed by David A Currie. Makes for a cracking read.
Over to you David…

From the start of the day I knew this was going to be a great gig. My wife Lorna, me and our 8 yr old son Logan travelled down from Central Scotland in the sun, driving through the borders, brushing past the Dales and the Lakes to find ourselves in a very nice part of Northern England. The atmosphere was fuelled by the fine weather and the odd aperitif. Throughout the night the camaraderie was noticeably flowing as a mix of young and old gathered to bask in the sun and sounds of summer.
John Ainsworth (new to me) got things going with some guitar accompanied songs in front of a sparse front row, but a fully attentive crowd on the hill. It was off to great start.
Then TVS (The Velveteen Saints), nominally from Glasgow, took to the stage. A bus load of friends and family populated the near barrier area and the band hit the spot with a slick set of 50’s inspired, 2013 rock’n’roll. The Coatbridge mafia bounced to every tune and I was down there with Logan on my shoulders. His day was made when they played an oldie for this young band, Rock’n’Roll Is Dead and then topped off their set with a rousing cover of The Clash’s, I Fought The Law, joined on guitar by a Jonny Brown from Twisted Wheel.
Next up was more Scottish music from Dundee’s The View. Barefooted and big haired, Kyle and friends took to the stage to a surge of fans making their way to the stony standing area. Their set of fast paced shanties and indie guitar tunes was a mix of old and new, but the classics of Superstar Tradesmen and Same Jeans had the crowd bouncing highest. By the end of their set the atmosphere was at fever pitch and the security had all but given up on trying to control the beer throwing that is a feature of most enthusiastic Scottish gigs.
In between sets, the sounds were provided by The Beat Boutique. A great mix of Reggae, Northern Soul and Piano House. Taking some of the not so young crowd back to days when the arms and legs used to move to the same beats whilst the younger ones moved with a fluidity we can only dream of achieving again. A clear indicator of the longevity of The Charlatans and their fan base.
This brings us to the main attraction. The Charlatans entered the arena to a roar of fanatic anticipation and a sea of heads and arms. Mark Collins, Tony Rogers and Martin Blunt accompanied by Pete Salisbury, standing in for Jon Brookes, were dressed in the dark attire we are accustomed to. Once they were located with their instruments, Tim Burgess entered the scene. A bright star in the spotlight dressed from head to toe in white with the blonde mop top hairdo which has divided opinion among fans as he has restlessly toured his solo sound. But tonight it was perfect for his return as The Charlatans cocky front man.
As sets go, this was a fine mix of all that makes them my favourite band of our generation. Classics like Jesus Hairdo and The Only One I Know were mixed with more recent material. This Is The End and Oh Vanity were stand outs from this era. North Country Boy, Blackened Blue Eyes and Tellin’ Stories gave a taster of the mid life of this enduring band, whilst any setlist that includes THEN gets my seal of approval. This was my first purchase back when released in 1990. 23 years ago and it set me off on what has been a musical odyssey, culminating in yesterday’s road trip.
As with all Charlatans gigs, the end saw them perform Sproston Green. This time an added edge to the fans appreciation of this timeless classic was provided as Tim dedicated it to Jon Brookes, presently recovering from surgery. Get well soon.
As we returned home at 4am and I sank into my welcoming bed, my 43 year old bones whispered that this cannot go on forever. But as long as Tim and the band are dragging themselves around the country, THEN I will follow.

08 Jul 13

The Velveteen Saints -Broadcast 29 Dec 12

Well, this is a first. Regular readers of the site will perhaps remember that once on a time, I would turn up at gigs with just enough time to get to the bar and find a good spot, before the headline act came on.
But, in music, as with much in life, I learnt a valuable lesson in missing some of the support acts down the line. So, sometime just after doors opening became my timing of choice. This is when you find out more about those undiscovered little gems of musicians and bands. Some are just starting out. Others, at it for many a year in some instances, tirelessly play the pub /club circuit as they strive for musical world domination.
And whilst many bands will tell you that’s not what they want…why the hell shouldn’t they. After all, if you don’t strive for world domination you ain’t going to achieve it.
So it was, that one of those early evenings arrivals meant the opportunity to listen to The Velveteen Saints for the first time. That was back in October, when the band opened for Tim Burgess on his solo tour at the Oran Mor. A few people had gathered by the time the second support act, Hatcham Social took to the stage but sadly, only a few had the pleasure of hearing The Velveteen Saints that night. However, alongside Jim Gellatly, (I don’t need to tell you who he is right!) Murray Easton, (Everything Flows Glasgow, very good site, check him out) my good lady wife and perhaps another 25 gig goers, I witnessed one of their first gigs.
A chance meeting and a good chat at the merch stall after the gig with bass player Thommo, resulted in an invitation to review the next show in the nice n sleazy in November. I’ve already covered both nights separately on the site, so, it’s ok if you’ve missed out so far. We’ll keep you right.
Ok, so, now your all caught up…
The Velveteen Saints have been on the road since then, supporting amongst others, The View, Peace Peter Hook and not forgetting Tim Burgess.
During their hectic schedule they took the time to get in touch and ask me along to their next gig in Glasgow’s Broadcast on dec 29th. Very nice of them that eh.

I arrived very early, in fact, for the first time in time for the sound check.
Now, although I know what I like when it comes to music, according to my school teachers I wasn’t blessed with that skill required to be recognised in school as capable of being successfully taught music.
And this part of the evenings proceedings changed my own view of that long ago assessment. There is plenty of adjustment made by the sound engineer, lots of interaction with the band and I am in agreement with the bands nod to give the guitars a little bit more.
At sound check also had the added benefit of adding a certain anticipation for the gig..
Sound check complete, there’s no time to hit the bar for TVS though. There’s countless other little things that need checking before a show…including on this occasion, an interview for mrpinkster. ( keep an eye out for that over the next couple of weeks)

An so, on to the show.
Daniel Meade opened the nights proceedings with his Glaswegian country music.
Ok, that’s not some new kind of genre I’m trying to introduce.
Daniel is Glaswegian and he writes and performs country music. Good old fashion country music.
I’ve seen Daniel before too and admittedly I have not been country musics biggest fan in the past. He changed that though. It was after listening to Daniel Meade that I invested some time in listening to Hank Williams and realised that I should spend more time listening to this and finding more music like it.
Cowboy shirt and boots aside, Daniel is a very unassuming and modest guy who has been around the music scene for a while. (Did I mention, we also did an interview, so you can find out much more about Daniel soon too)
He’s got the knack of telling stories of a life lived, quite succinctly.
His songs ooze character and when he tells you he’s been Lonesome and blue, you believe him.
Perhaps his Glaswegian country is never mor epitomised when he sings…
Will u still love me when it rains…. In Glasgow, for goodness sake, my advice is, if you find someone that does Daniel, she’s a keeper. That’ll be a lot of love.
‘Headstone’ does it again for me, and has the crowd tapping their toes along.
From the lyrical content, Daniel’s heart has been broken and he’s certainly seen the highs and lows of life.
It looks as though he is now comfortable doing what he is doing, both on stage and through the delivery of his songs.
As his set draws to a close, the notion that the banishment of all previous demons is very near complete, resonates and as he leaves the stage, I am again left believing he deserves a much bigger audience.

Manky Savage are up next with their very own cornucopia of genre jumping music.
They are a three piece guitar, bass and drummer, who, over the course of the set, had smatterings of The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, dare I say, Metallica in places, even coming back to earth with a brief journey into Fleetwood Mac territory.
bass player and lead vocalist posseses a throaty, gravelly set of chords to match much of the 70′ style tunes.
For me, it’s when the guitarist is allowed to shine that the band come into there own though.
Resembling Bernard Butler, he is a very talented musician whose vocals are more mellow. When he takes lead on what was my favourite song, the more melodic vibe had a good feel to it, that fit well with the laid back drum beat and the funky bass.
As they closed, Broadcast is filling up nicely…

Time for The Velveteen Saints
Michael is first to the stage for a well rehearsed long Hawaii 5 O style intro into opener Always Gonna Be.
They are straight on it and clearly well up for It. Thommo is effervescent as ever on bass and Sean immediately has to display a masterclass centre stage in navigating his high hair under the low ceiling. High hair, which must be said, sits on top of the head of fast becoming perfect front man. Whether or not Sean fully realises what he possesses here, remains to be seen.
You see, even as the somewhat rockabilly intro swagger of Mama hits the crowd, I’m also taken at how humble these rock stars in the making are.
Guitarist Martin has an on stage attitude to rival the most accomplished players, which combines sweetly with the other members. Each has there own influences but the way in which it all comes together works very well.
Wake me up smashes into the first verse and as the line
“how long have u been missing” echoes from Sean, Thommo and Martin, the crowd are in the palm of their hands.

Juliet, white Wine and Die Alone all provide us with more evidence that these guys are going to be around for some time to come. They may not have been on the scene for very long, but 2013 is shaping up nicely as a big year for them.
By the time Janey and Closer Rock n Roll is Dead get their airing, the crowd is hot and sweaty Martin is bouncing, Sean frantic and yet nailing the guitar, Michael sets a tempo that every head is banging to, on drums, Thommo, cool as you like, ever concentrated on bass, with the occasional knowing wink to his fellow band members. Whether it is part spontaneous or very well rehearsed, it sounds tight and well deserving of the rapturous applause received.
But they weren’t quite finished. As an encore, we were re-introduced to Daniel Meade for a guest appearance on keys for a rendition of Red Wine, which brought the house down.
Well done guys on a great 2012. Here’s to a very successful 2013.
And to everyone who has not yet had the pleasure of listening… Check them out.
It won’t be long before everyone is talking about these Saints marching in.

Sound checking…