Live Review: The Charlatans, Verge Collection

21 March 2016 | 9:45 am | Mac McNaughton

"This is a band who have weathered the years gracefully, but still inspire the rambunctious camaraderie of soccer fans..."

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All too often this reviewer is left convinced that zero contemplation goes into choosing support acts in Perth. Kudos to Verge Collection whose star is rising thanks to their unabashed Aussie jangly indie-pop connecting with the triple j set. But their BBQ-smoked, beer-sozzled songs about darting around on P-plates were a mismatch for this headlining act. Many punters were visibly wishing Verge Collection were left by the pavement they occasionally curbed. They definitely have an audience ready to appreciate them, they just weren't present at this gig.

With 12 albums under their belts The Charlatans occupy the other end of the spectrum, with a massive canon that transcends genre. From their early baggy fopping, with The Stone Roses and Blur as peers, to last year's drive time-friendly Modern Nature (generously represented tonight), theirs is a fascinating, tragedy-pocked history. It still inspires life-affirming optimism that, on this night, extended tendril-like through the devoted crowd. Starting with the techno-obsessed misanthropy of Talking In Tones, from the new album, made for a slow-burn start. This was ironically welcomed by several mobile phones aloft capturing the moment, but then the band lunged into Weirdo. Tony Rogers' crunchy organ perfectly channeled those of the band's original keyboardist, the late Rob Collins, and all energies were let out to fly.

Singer Tim Burgess' lithe frame, topped by his now trademark button-mushroom hairdo, seemed very chipper. He made regular small talk with fans who had followed the tour around Australia over the last week, even sharing his beer with them. This is a band who have weathered the years gracefully, but still inspire the rambunctious camaraderie of soccer fans who cheer through the highs and lows with equal fervour. Hence why the dramatic Blackened Blue Eyes, the bombastic One To Another and even the baggy anthem The Only One I Know were all received with as much jumping appreciation as the crooning of soulful newer songs, like So Oh and the tremendous Let The Good Times Be Never Ending. We may have been denied Then in the encore and several whole periods of their music were passed over completely (nothing from Up To Our Hips?!), but finishing with fan favourite Sproston Green from their debut album with lashings of Hammond organ left everyone feeling contently spent.