Charlatans /The Cooper Temple Clause/Minuteman/Moco : London Astoria

The latest NME Carling Show sees Tim Burgess and the boys on top form...

It’s 7.10pm and the Astoria – where the NME has set up home for the last week – is already rocking. That’s because northerners Moco have made the venue their own for half-an-hour. A bunch of their MC5-style manifestos/fanzines have been scattered around the venue and singer Steve Jones, all mouth and sideburns, is crowdsurfing over the sparse audience, banging into monitors, whirling around and attempting a series of handclaps that make Bobby Gillespie look like Rudolf Nureyev. Good attitude. He makes being a bit of a twat look enjoyable. A few tunes wouldn’t go amiss though.

Minuteman, however, are an entirely different proposition. Free from the overcooked prog rumblings of Ultrasound, Matt Jones certainly doesn’t look any happier (he’s nursing a severe hangover), but his new band’s classy hook-laden pop is a welcome surprise. Rollicking single ‘Big Boy’ should start him on the road again.

At last year’s shows, [a]Cooper Temple Clause[/a]

stood in for Scandinavian strummers [a]Kings Of Convenience[/a], and they were, quite frankly, awful. Now they’re genuine UK chart stars and a different proposition entirely, even if they do look like an Andy Bell (the [a]Oasis[/a]one, not Erasure) tribute band. The likes of ‘Panzer Attack’ and ‘Let’s Kill Music’ may seem like unlikely crowd pleasers, but when you’ve managed to seduce the producers of ‘CD:UK’ winning over a bunch of [a]Charlatans[/a] fans is a piece of rather intense piss.

What is there to say about [a]Charlatans[/a]then? Well, they’re very good at being [a]Charlatans[/a]. Tonight they mix highlights from their ‘Wonderland’ album with a bunch of hits, making being in a band look like the best job in the world. But while it’s the likes of ‘One To Another’ and ‘The Only One I Know’ that send the punters absolutely potty, it’s the more bruised, vulnerable moments such as ‘A Man Needs To Be Told’ (their finest moment?) and ‘If I Fall’ that encapsulate this band’s status as survivors with soul.

Just one problem – Tim Burgess may look great in his Dylanesque floppy hat, but he could do with some cowbell lessons. But then [a]Charlatans[/a] have always been out of time – that’s why they’re a national treasure.

Alan Woodhouse