The Charlatans @ The Fillmore Silver Spring – January 17th 2024
The Charlatans @ The Fillmore Silver Spring – January 17th 2024

Live Review: The Charlatans + Ride @ The Fillmore Silver Spring – January 17th 2024

If you’re of, let’s say, a certain age, it’s probably hard to believe that Britpop, as a cultural movement, is more than three decades old a this point (ouch). Over those years the movement saw a massive rise in popularity, with bands like Oasis and Blur making headlines even on this side of the Atlantic. It saw its sharp decline, as other genres of music inevitably took the forefront. It’s seen its resurgences, with reunions by Blur, Pulp, Suede, and many others feeding on the nostalgia of an entire generation that grew up with their music. Two of the most prolific bands of the movement are not the household names in North America that those other groups are, but they still have a significant fan following. The Charlatans and Ride can (and regularly do) easily headline venues here by themselves. But last year the two bands did a co-headlining outing across a number of US and Canadian cities, and following on from the success of that they booked another round this year. Wednesday night brought them to the Washington, DC suburbs at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they played to a packed house of devoted fans.

Both bands are still regularly coming up with new material – in fact, halfway through this tour Ride announced the forthcoming release of their seventh album, Interplay, releasing on March 29th – but for this particular outing nostalgia was the word of the day with both bands focusing their sets around a classic record. For The Charlatans, that was their second album (from 1992) Between 10th and 11th, while for Ride, their first album Nowhere (from 1990) took center stage.

The Charlatans are always a joy to see live, in no small part because of the sheer limitless energy of frontman Tim Burgess. Burgess paced and danced around the stage, occasionally indulging in idiosyncrasies like taking photos of the audience with his cell phone camera during the instrumental parts. At one point, he paused to swap sweaters (er… jumpers) with a fan on the balcony. The music stayed the focus, though, with the band’s signature Hammond organ sound (originally played on the album by Rob Collins, who passed away in 1996, and now ably done by Tony Rogers who replaced him) driving the songs forward. Along with the album, the band looked back to several of their other hits from the 90s, including “The Only One I Know,” “Sproston Green,” and “North Country Boy.”

So many bands who split and reunite never recapture the magic of their first go round, but Ride have proven to be the exception in every way. The band’s reunion has now officially lasted longer than their original run, with age and wisdom seeming to have turned them from their previous infighting into a deep partnership, a move that other bands could certainly learn from. They continue to put out some of the best music of their careers, and early previews of Interplay indicate no break in that trend. But Nowhere was a formative album not only for them but for so much of the scene, so it’s little wonder that they’d want to take a look back at it. Afterward, the band focused largely on newer material with “Lannoy Point” from their 2017 reunion effort Weather Diaries and two new songs (“Monaco” and “Peace Sign”), before closing the night with their most commercially successful single, “Leave Them All Behind” from their 1992 second album, Going Blank Again.

An evening steeped in nostalgia? Certainly. But also one that showcased two bands who have managed to remain vital even among the ups and downs of their genre and the music industry as a whole. Looking back to move forward. Their joint North American tour for this year has, unfortunately, ended, but there’s always the hope that its obvious success will lead to another round in the future. In the meantime, Ride has promised to return to properly show off their new record, and with nearly seven years now since their last release Different Days (with, to be fair, a pandemic inevitably slowing things down for quite a while), it seems almost inevitable that The Charlatans will have something new for us soon. Amazingly, even after all these years, it remains a great time to be a Britpop fan.

PHOTOS © MATT CONDON

The Charlatans

Ride

The Charlatans setlist:

I Don’t Want to See the Sights
Ignition
Page One
Tremelo Song
Can’t Even Be Bothered
Weirdo
Chewing Gum Weekend
(No One) Not Even the Rain

The End of Everything
Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over
One to Another
Toothache
North Country Boy
The Only One I Know
Sproston Green

Ride setlist:

Seagull
Kaleidoscope
In a Different Place
Polar Bear
Dreams Burn Down
Decay
Paralysed
Vapour Trail

Taste
Here and Now
Nowhere
Lannoy Point
Monaco
Peace Sign
Leave Them All Behind

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