Gig review: The Charlatans, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

The Charlatans
The Charlatans
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The Charlatans are sometimes portrayed as grafters, and often as survivors, given the various band tragedies which have befallen them over the years.

The Charlatans | Rating: **** | Usher Hall, Edinburgh

And yet there is always something light and celebratory about their gigs, and so it was on this occasion too, with their manchild singer Tim Burgess bouncing blithely around on stage like a teenager at his first rehearsal.

After a quarter century at the indie coalface, The Charlatans have amassed quite a set, ticking the best-loved boxes with the carefree North Country Boy, their Booker T tribute Oh! Vanity, the rootsy psychedelia of Tellin’ Stories and Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over and the inexorably rolling house piano rhythms of Blackened Blue Eyes and the epic One to Another.

It remains to be seen whether any of the more subtle songs from their new album Modern Nature will take their fond place in that fan catalogue, but they certainly added dynamic interest to the set.

New drummer Pete Salisbury, formerly of The Verve, has big shoes to fill, following the death of previous incumbent Jon Brookes, but he approached the teasing hi-hat introduction to indie disco classic The Only One I Know with alacrity, before the song – and the room – erupted.

Ever creatures of habit, they ended their show, as always, with the almighty psych pop jam Sproston Green from debut album Some Friendly, spawning an epidemic of gleeful crowd-surfing in the front rows. Reliable, but never dull.