Tim Burgess - Manchester Academy 2 - 25.11.03

The cheeky Cheshire lad from the Charlatans has made a comfortable life for himself in LA and it's this new way of life that has inspired him to make his first solo album "I Believe". Recently Tim opened for the Stereophonics on their arena tour and including the Charlies appearance at the Move Festival this will be the third time he's performed in Manchester this year. It's seems strange seeing him play to a 3/4's full Academy 2.

As a band the Charlatans have never been one for brash in yer face entrances and solo Tim is much the same. Casually dressed an unshaven, Burgess is suitably laid back and seems unfazed showcasing new material. The guys got a cool confident air of self-assurance and the crowd show their appreciation by giving the prodigal son a welcome fit for a king. Charlies guitarist Mark Collins is joining him on tour with the band which includes a trumpeter and bongo player amongst the usual melange. Title track "I Believe" is a classic rock song with attitude and his voice perfectly captures the jubilant mood. "Only A Boy", about Tim's childhood is a shimmering symphony of nostalgic yearning. Thankfully Tim's still a north country boy at heart and his accent has no trace of an American twang whatsoever. He's at his most comfortable on-stage exchanging quips, shaking hands with his fans and giving his new band plenty of deserved recognition.

The funk factor and the Burgess falsetto transform "Say Yes" into a Prince styled party number, a guaranteed floor filler. Tim's ability to change musical direction at a moments notice dazzles us again with the countrified "Be My Baby". Tim and the band then launch into "Years Ago" which combines a touch of blues, a pinch of folk and the Burgess harmonica interlude shows hither unknown talents. With the inclusion of the anthemic "All I Want Is You" this proves that if day job with the Charlatans comes to an end (heaven forbid) he could quite easily carry on as a solo performer in his own right. It was that good a gig believe me.

Nicholas Paul Godkin
Photo's by Karen McBride - www.karenmcbride.com

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