Gig preview: The Charlatans, HMV Picture House, Saturday 25 August

A COUPLE of years back, The Charlatans earned a five-star review in the Evening News for their gig at the HMV Picture House.

Full of energy, enthusiasm and, of course, quality tunes, the Madchester legends dusted off the best bits from their back catalogue - Weirdo, Can’t Get Out Of Bed, The Only One I Know I Know, North Country Boy, One To Another, and more.

Tim Burgess and his band return to the Lothian Road venue on Saturday night, this time to perform their classic album Tellin’ Stories in its entirety.

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The band have played their most commercially successful album in various cities already this year, and Burgess says the band are having a ball.

“The Tellin’ Stories gigs have been a real highlight of the year – the reaction to the gigs was pretty staggering,” says the charismatic frontman.

“The time when the album came out is pretty well documented and it was among the hardest times of our lives – we’d just lost Rob [Collins, the keyboard player was killed in a car crash during the recording of Tellin’ Stories].

“We had the Knebworth gigs lined up and it was a real make or break time for the band. Martin Duffy stepped in and saved us. This has been a chance to celebrate the songs, to remember Rob and play some really cool gigs.

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“People who’ve seen the band more than 50 times say they were the best gigs we’ve ever done. We hadn’t really listened to some of those songs in 15 years and we realised they were really good songs.

“I’m just glad we can do the songs justice,” he adds. “From what everyone’s saying, we’ve definitely done that.”

Back in his younger days, Burgess was notorious for his wild-living, but he mellowed after moving to Los Angeles a decade ago.

“I think it changed me a lot living there,” says the singer, who recently moved back to England. “Saying that, I pretty much spent all my 30s in LA, so I suppose I was changing anyway. But no, I’ve definitely changed. I’m not the 31-year-old who left Manchester.”

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And the singer says he’s curbed his party lifestyle almost completely.

“At the beginning it was music or nothing and towards the end it felt like the party was becoming more important, so I had to make the decision whether or not to carry on.

“Did I want to be a great partier or did I want to take the music inside me further and lead the artist life and do something that was really true?

“I chose music,” he adds. “I felt like going in to record vocals while on drugs wasn’t being real, so that’s why I stopped doing it.”

The Charlatans, HMV Picture House, Lothian Road, Saturday, 7pm, £29.50,

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