After an absence of nearly two years, The Charlatans returned to Belfast for a gig at Custom House Square, as part of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.
It was a gig Belfast fans had been waiting for, with Belfast being left off their March tour. A Dublin date was announced soon after, which got fans hopes up, before this date was announced in the middle of March, the excitement begun.
Their last gig was in 2013 at Falls Park as part of Feile. It felt a bit subdued. It would later emerge why that was, as drummer Jon Brookes was gravely ill, before dying the following week. There is a Belfast Telegraph article covering that gig and previewing this one here.
That gig took place in a tent, just like this one. Given the weather outside, fans were thankful of that. The tent factor didn’t go unnoticed by the band, with Tim Burgess commenting “Every gig we do here is in a tent” before being corrected by Mark Collins that it was, in fact, a marquee.
Burgess entered the stage shortly after the rest of the band, who were playing an instrumental version of Forever, with Burgess loitering at the side of the stage, building up the tension.
If it hits you wanted, they didn’t disappoint, with Weirdo, North Country Boy, Tellin Stories, One To Another, How High and Only One I Know all on the setlist.
As well as classic hits, there was also current hits, with singles from their current album, Modern Nature, such as So Oh, May The Good Times Be Never Ending and Talking In Tones all being played.
During the set, someone shouted “Fuck Ronan Keating”, which seemed to be a bit random, until I discovered he got into a spat with the band recently.
Burgess took the opportunity to exhibit his dancing skills during the set, the Belfast crowd danced along with him.
Hopefully, it won’t be long before The Charlatans return to Belfast. If they can’t find a venue to play in, i’m sure somebody will build them a tent.