Strange to be going to a gig again, but that’s what No More Workhorse did on a cold Tuesday night in Dublin. Support came courtesy of Aoife Nessa Frances, who opened with the languid Blow Up from last year’s debut album. Her singing and guitar playing was accompanied by Maeve McKenna on harp with, it has to be said, mixed results. Many of the songs the duo played were new, possibly from the second album which Aoife informed us “won’t be out for ages”. Her warm, resonant voice and guitar strumming charmed the audience, whetting the appetite for the main event.
For the Charlatans, twitter lockdown hero Tim Burgess is the focal point. Despite his strange blonde mop of hair (Jesus Hairdo?) and idiosyncratic geansaí, he and the band didn’t miss a beat, opening with Forever and playing songs from across their 30 year back catalogue. Highlights included Just When You’re Thinking Things Over, Can’t Get Out of Bed, and A Needs To Be Told, where the steel guitar was somehow rendered on keyboards.
The Blind Stagger built up gradually, this one felt emotional, but all roads led to a euphoric version of The Only One I Know. It didn’t stop there as they unleashed a tremendous I Never Want An Easy Life, before Burgess asked, How High? (The audience’s answer seemed to be ‘very’). Perhaps the strongest songs were held till the encore with a sprightly version of Impossible with Tim Burgess on harmonica. This was followed by their traditional set closer Sproston Green, featuring some meaty guitar riffs.
It’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with the gig, and it was great to see live music again.
You’re So Pretty – We’re So Pretty
Sleepy Little Sunshine Boy
Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over
Can’t Get Out of Bed
One to Another
A Man Needs to Be Told
The Blind Stagger
Love Is the Key
The Only One I Know
I Never Want an Easy Life If Me and He Were Ever to Get There
North Country Boy
Blackened Blue Eyes