James and The Charlatans bring Madchester to Liverpool Echo Arena

When you mention Manchester music, James along with The Charlatans, normally get overlooked in the bigger scheme of things in favour of the likes of the Stone Roses, Oasis, Happy Mondays, New Order and the Fall.

It was a quick trip down the East Lancs Road, for all tonight’s bands, Manchester comes to Liverpool. No Rivalry in the Arena tonight, “Nothing but Love”. Sees The final show on the road with their 14th studio album, and tour ‘The Girl at the End of the World’.

Possibly as last minute as you can get the first slot of the evening was handed to The Slow Readers Club, well what a year. The band have been on a whirl wind year, and answered every beck and call asked of them. Tonight’s call has seen them set up in the foyer of the Echo Arena. It’s an early start, but as usual the ever growing and loyal Readers fans turn out in force, for a band who surely are ready to springboard into the national music scene. Along the way selling out their own headline shows up and down the country. The 30-minute slot which saw them, perform “Start Again”, “Plant the Seed”, “Forever in your Debt”, and the superb “I saw a Ghost”. To those people who had never encountered the Readers before got a good airing as the loyal fans chanted “Readers” “Readers” in between every song. The fact that they have been support slot select for JAMES, on this current tour speaks volumes for the future of the band.

A quick sprint around the Arena and into the pit for The Charlatans, hailing from the Madchester days, like our host James the band are still working and producing albums, of the highest quality. Tim Burgess seems so much at home during the set, mixing old with new. “Let the good times be never ending” Blending so well with “North Country boy” as well as “The only one I know”.

Grabbing his phone to snap the audience and I am sure even a quick cheeky tweet, shows how much he is with today’s fast evolving music industry.

Tim Burgess, introduces Tim Booth and Andy Diagram from James onto the stage much to the delight of the crowd. “as we are in Liverpool, we thought it would only be right if we sang a song from one of the cities greatest bands”, Tim Booth tells us.

Echo and the Bunnymen,s track “The Rescue“, was duly given the respect it deserves. “Sproston Green”, is the last offering from The Charlatans tonight, one that not only had the crowd arms aloft, but one that helped spread the love all over the arena.

As this tour, has progressed and “The Girl at the end of the world” tour and album has seen the band play to full houses, tonight is no different. From the outset, it’s easy to see how the band perform. It’s a collective energy, one feeding the other, an energy the band have always had, not only with each other, more importantly with their audience.

“Waltzing” and “To my surprise”, the latter dedicated to Donald Trump, with the crowd singing the chorus “Born an arsehole. instantly forges the link from band to crowd, right on cue Tim climbs upon the security barrier and sets off to surf over the crowd, to “Surfers song”, well what else could it be?  Booth is totally engaging as he is fluid; his energy seems to feed the band and in return the band seen to feed him. Bells”, “Interrogation along with Star get the singalong treatment.

“Johnny Yen” gets a rare outing just before Booth sets off for a wander around the arena once again, to the strains of “Frustration”.
“Come home” has the arena crowd nicely bubbling as “Attention” ends the initial set.
The band return quickly to get in as many songs as they could before the curfew.

“Fred” shows how adept at bringing the crowd into proceedings, the masses on the floor are dancing with each other whilst the serenade them on this excellent night. “Laid”, Brings Tim Burgess to the stage reciprocating vocals along with the mass singalong, getting stronger by the second.

It says something about the band that the catalogue of anthems, they have at their disposal, is phenomenal, as the opening cords of “Sometimes” ring through the arena the crowd erupts, no slow build up for this one straight in the layers of the song entwined with the chorus, has the crowd in ecstasy, just when you think the song has been brought to a euphoric end Booth stands in front of a crowd in the palm of his hand and without Mic or music conducts a mass singalong of the chorus “sometimes when I look into your eyes, I swear I see your soul”, is chanted time and time again, after about 3 minutes the band once again start to build up the layers and band and crowd smash the encore over the line.

Without dropping a beat and arms waving from side to side “Nothing but love” is the final track of the evening.

A fitting ending to a great evening, I don’t think anyone even noticed that the band omitted “Sit Down”.

As the Words of the song ring out “Nothing but Love” has been the theme for tonight, if you bring the Love for James they will send it back 10-fold.

If James wrote a book on Music success, it would be an Encyclopaedia.


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