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The Charlatans UK – Sproston Green
Music Hall of Williamsburg
I couldn’t help but laugh this summer when I went to my childhood home and found a The Charlatans UK advert cut out of an early 90’s SLUG (Salt Lake Underground) magazine of their classic press photo with ‘CANCELED’ stamped across it. [Side bar: Did you know that ‘canceled’ and ‘cancelled’ are both acceptable spellings? Who knew?] Attempting to see The Charlatans UK has been a decade-long running joke to me and, I suspect, quite a few others out there. It seems every-other year a new Charlatans tour is announced that invariably ends with a cancellation of the US dates. How can these guys keep booking shows year after year for, now, decades just to have them canned? This last go around, I simply refused to buy tickets until day of show, but lo-and-behold, they showed up. I am very glad they did.
Other than a sporadic appearance of Ian Brown, The Charlatans might be the only vestige of the ‘Madchester’ scene still out-and-about to any real extent. The Madchester scene in the early 90’s appeared to be this giant tidal-wave of largely Manchester UK based bands that seemed certain to awash on American shores forming the next massive British Invasion. The bands were cool looking, psychedelic, and groovy with enough commonality and depth to form a bona fide movement (and you could dance to it!), but alas, the US music industry went nuclear on them. The success of agro-rock of Nirvana, Metallica, and others formed a near impenetrable wall along the eastern seaboard on which the shaggy-haired neo-psychedelic bands were dashed. Somehow only EMF‘s “Unbelievable” penetrated which, by being viciously overplayed, created an ensuing backlash that would be directed to all who sounded remotely like them, which successfully killed any future hopes of the more deserving band’s chances of really breaking wide in the US. I guess the rampant drug use of many of the more promising Madchester bands didn’t help either. Whatever the case, the result was startling; The Stone Roses and Charlatans got stiff-armed but Bush (insert body shaking shutter) was allowed free reign on our shores. Bummer.
Sorry for the digression, but the wait was worth it. The Charlatans killed. Here is audio and video of the dramatic Doors-esque encore closer, “Sproston Green”. With the video, the lights go out in the beginning, but do not worry, they come back on.
Download: The Charlatans UK: Sproston Green (Live Video)