From hosting countless listening parties, which brought thousands of people together during a period they were most needed, to being an accomplished author, the Charlatans frontman has proved he is a master of many trades.
As well as being the driving force behind the Charlatans for over three decades, Tim has also had several solo releases spanning over a decade. Eight tracks from his latest LP, Typical Music alone, which has an impressive 22 tracks, were played in full to an intimate audience of 600 people.
Support came from solo artist Dean McMullen who also doubled up as Burgess’ sound engineer. Whilst opting for a quiescent and soothing folk guitar soundscape, McMullen had the natural look of a riotous indie rocker with legs custom-made for the most encroaching skinny jeans. Even The Might Boosh’s Sammy the Crab couldn’t compete with Dean. With vocals reminiscent of Cigarettes After Sex’s Greg Gonzalez and a cacophony resembling the direction The Antlers took when recording Green to Gold, McMullen gave a performance that could not be described as MOR.
When Tim appeared on the stage, it was impossible to believe this was a man who had celebrated his 55th birthday almost six months previously. As well as looking healthy, Tim’s dress resembled Kurt Cobain’s when Nirvana played their MTV Unplugged gig back in 1993. Instead of a green cardigan, Burgess’ was Snozzcumber patterned.
Backed by a seven-piece band, Tim opened with “Flamingo” from Typical Music. A pleasant resemblance could be made to the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning”. Both Tim’s female guitarist and keyboard players both provided soothing backing vocals reminiscent of Nico’s. The second song was more up-tempo with pounding percussion, which blended the sounds of The Coral and Belle and Sebastian.
More unexpected twists were detected with “Lucky Creatures”, taken from Tim’s 2020 I Love The New Sky. The introduction saw dramatic violin and piano play chords from the same family tree as Oasis’ “The Importance of Being Idle”. The song continued to elevate as RnB and funk guitars occupied the soundwaves.
When Tim decided to sit down with the guitar to play the next song, “View from Above”, the Cobain resemblance was fully felt at Lafayette. One of Typical Music’s leading songs, “Here Comes the Weekend,” which followed, was delightfully upbeat and carefree, fusing both the catchier pop elements of both Roxy Music and Blondie’s “Denis”. The music direction then unexpectedly changed again with “Curiosity”, inviting Spark’s quirkiness amidst gravelly guitar overtones. “The Mall” was pleasantly shocked with “Benny and the Jets” style riffs.
The remainder of Tim’s solo catalogue drew influences from Lou Reed’s Transformer, but Burgess also delved further into experimental electro with harpsichord synths as well as occasionally bringing a salsa, and bossa nova vibe live too. Whilst it was evident where Tim had sourced his experiential sound from, it was a sound he could call his own and was worlds apart from the music he had made with The Charlatans. The crowd, who were die-hard Charlatans fans, embraced it and merrily absorbed its nutrients as a plant nourishes water.
The audience was not longing for Charlatans’ numbers and were content when midway, Tim played a reworking of “The Only One I Know”, which stripped back the organ and toned down the guitars whilst adding a pinch of swing. After finishing “The Only One I Know”, Tim described this song as one “that never gets old”. Everything about Tim and his band sounded fresh, new young and exciting. Nothing could be described as Typical Music.
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