The Charlatans wow the Wearside crowds at Sunderland shop

Photo by David Douglas
Photo by David Douglas

“SURROUNDED by good vibes” yelled frontman Tim Burgess as he stormed the Sunderland stage with The Charlatans.

It was standing room only as the Britpop heroes played a sell out gig at Pop Recs in Fawcett Street.

Tim is no stranger to the record shop after performing a solo set here last year and tonight he returned with the band who helped define a whole musical genre in the ‘90s.

Dressed all in black with his trademark blond barnet flopping from side to side, Tim led the band as they took their fans back to the Britpop days.

A sea of outstretched arms greeted North Country Boy and The Only One I Know, anthems that sounded as fresh today as they did two decades ago when the Madchester scene was at its zenith.

“Is this really happening? This is unreal?” shouted one gig-goer to his mate, echoing the sentiments of the many in the crowd for whom The Charlatans provided the soundtrack of their youth.

But this wasn’t just a trip down musical memory lane, the indie idols also performed tracks from latest album, Modern Nature, their 12th studio album to date which was released last month.

Musically tight performances of upbeat tracks So Oh and Let The Good Times Be Never Ending showed these new recordings had the legs to become the anthems of the future. While the melodic and psychedelic tones of Talking in Tones had everyone swaying in appreciation.

Ahead of the band headlining 6 Music Festival at the Sage Gateshead tomorrow night, this was a chance for fans to enjoy a more intimate audience with their idols.

Tim has long been a passionate ambassador for Pop Recs, a pop up record shop which has snowballed into a gig space, gallery, independent coffee shop and community hub, even sending up batches of his Tim Peaks coffee for queuing fans when tickets went on sale last week.

The transformation of the former derelict Tourist Information Office into Pop Recs is thanks to Frankie & the Heartstrings who’ve striven to bring more live music to the heart of their home town.

Tonight was the latest coup for the shop which has already hosted sets by Franz Ferdinand, Edwyn Collins, Badly Drawn Boy and Maximo Park.

Lead singer Frankie Francis said: “It was brilliant, an amazing atmosphere, a room full of massive fans of a massive band. It was a great occasion for the shop and Sunderland, that a band this big would come to us and say they wanted to play here. It shows that great things can happen.”