I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for the 90s. This is obviously a glaring sign that I’m, er, maturing, and although I haven’t begun to beat young’uns over the head with how it used to be yet, my ears do prick up when someone from back in the day still makes good noise. So it is with The Charlatans, a band I last remember seeing at some sort of festival setting in the rain, when my smile came from both natural and better-living-through-chemistry ecstasy, before it started to be called by a woman’s name!?!? (but I digress).
It’s not like this is a Charlatans comeback tour or anything, because the band has been releasing music every few years since 1990, weathering all manner of personnel changes that have included a couple of deaths, their latest being Modern Nature in January 2015, but what I’m enjoying is the fact that they’re unabashedly bringing it without pretense. It’s not like they’re preening around reinventing catchy, Brit-tinged rock. No. Except for the fact that it’s possible Tim Burgess’s hair has gotten slightly blonder, the boys just look like lads having a fine time making their music. No pyrotechnics or too-tight clothing, jumping jacks or stage dives. They don’t even seem to smile that much, but that might be more about British dentistry than anything else. It’s just the music that’s happening. And they’re on this tour with another band made up of some of my favorite musicians who cut their teeth in the decade I won’t mention again (see the first line of this post): The Eyelids. A veritable roll call of every band that remains on the tongue-tip of the too-cool-for-school cats, the band includes former and current members of the Decemberists, Guided By Voices and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.
To see musicians on the road spreading some joy at a time in life (maybe theirs, definitely mine) when it’s more about sampling good sounds with an (early) after-show that may include artisanal beer rather than arresting bodies, and then getting to bed at a decent hour is heartening, not square. And on a side note, to get a really extraordinarily great take on what it’s like to be on the road as both a newbie and ten years later, from sleeping on floors/traveling in a van to hotel rooms/tour bus, Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl about life as one-third of Sleater-Kinney (Portland-based just like Eyelids) is phenomenal and eye-opening in a way that lets you in on a real slice of what it is to be a musician both from the writing to the recording to what really happens when touring, particularly the isolation mixed with shots of pure adrenaline.
See you in the mosh pit, indeed.
Nov 07 Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest *
Nov 09 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Ballroom*
Nov 10 New York, NY @ Webster Hall*
Nov 12 Washington DC @ Howard*
Nov 13 Chicago, IL @ House of Blues*
Nov 15 Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda*
Nov 16 San Francisco, CA @ The Regency*
Nov 18 Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades*
Nov 19 Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom*
Nov 22 Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital Festival
Dec 08 Nottingham, UK @ Rock City
Dec 09 Cardiff, UK @ Tramshed
Dec 11 Norwich, UK @ UEA
Dec 12 Birmingham, UK @ Academy
Dec 14 Edinburgh, UK @ Usher Hall
Dec 15 Dundee, UK @ Card Hall
Dec 17 Newcastle, UK @ Academy
Dec 18 Liverpool, UK @ Academy
Dec 19 London, UK @ Brixton Academy
*w/ Eyelids supporting
Lauren has enjoyed the music bizness from the inside out while writing and editing for Rolling Stone, Spin and other national magazines, and doing video promotion for Elektra records. Currently, while still working in the NYC publishing industry, she's most happy being on the outside looking in on all things musical.