Do you have any seemingly unshakable habits that seem to stick with you throughout the years? Well one that I’ve had for the last decade and a half has been to pick up every single release from English indie-band the Charlatans. Given their ability to consistently revamp their sound with every release, it’s a hard habit to kick. While living in California, I had previously seen the Charlatans twice before in 2002, attending their concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco and then the Coachella Festival later the same year. Both gigs were part of their Wonderland tour. I was afraid that by trading music-crazy San Francisco for the more conservative United Arab Emirates, surely I had seen my last Charlies gig. However, the band countered by making their fantastic new CD You Crossed my Path available to download for entirely free and then following that by playing a one-off gig at the Chi nightclub in Dubai.
The Charlies certainly didn’t disappoint this time roaring through a set that contained a large chunk of songs from their new album. Tracks like “Misbegotten”, “Mis-takes” and “Bird” mixed in superbly with classics like “North Country Boy” and “The Only One I Know” - wowing the raunchy 2,000 strong-crowd, who were mostly made up of expats living in the UAE. The only downfall to the night was perhaps that the while the Charlies played a lot of songs off their latest CD, they completed neglected their two previous releases Up at the Lake and Simpatico, which were both unreleased when I had seen them previously. The hits are obviously what the majority of the fans came to see but it would have been great to have heard something more recent like “Blackened Blue Eyes” or “Loving you is Easy”. But those were just minor blips for what turned out to be a great night thanks to one of my all-time favorite bands. This was my third Charlatans show and hopefully will not be the last….