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Charlatans UK; Starsailor

A Britpop double bill uniting one of the last enduring exponents of the 1990s Manchester Sound and a much-hyped new outfit from Chorley -- the Charlatans UK and Starsailor, respectively -- delivered an exuberant dose of power chords, big beats and emotive lyrics at the Palace.

Cast:
Bands: (CUK) Tim Burgess, Mark Collins, Martin Blunt, Jon Brookes and Tony Rogers; (S) James Walsh, James Stelfox, Ben Byrne and Barry Westhead.

A Britpop double bill uniting one of the last enduring exponents of the 1990s Manchester Sound and a much-hyped new outfit from Chorley — the Charlatans UK and Starsailor, respectively — delivered an exuberant dose of power chords, big beats and emotive lyrics at the Palace.

The Charlatans presented a solid set of propulsive, tightly crafted pop songs drawn from their various albums, the seventh of which, “Wonderland,” is just out on Universal. Vocalist Tim Burgess, recently relocated to L.A., shambled about the stage with a spastic enthusiasm reminiscent of Mick Jagger, tearing through songs that at times seemed to raid Rolling Stones albums like “Beggars Banquet” and “Some Girls” for hooks and riffs.

Other songs ran the gamut from upbeat, danceable opening tune “Love Is the Key” to quieter tracks like the Dylanesque “Impossible,” which dissolved in a burst of harmonica. The Charlatans never lost momentum, displaying the deft interplay of keyboards, guitar and vocal stylings characteristic of a band that’s been touring for more than a decade and knows how to keep the audience humming.

Starsailor ran through a set drawn mostly from its new album on Capitol, “Love Is Here”; its wooden stage antics may just be a reflection of limited experience on the road.

The four-man act — touring the U.S. in the wake of a ballyhooed flap with U.K. rock acts Mogwai and Ash — is often likened to Coldplay and Travis. But Starsailor’s 21-year-old front man, James Walsh, exhibits an original style born of a far wider range of influences, from Big Star to the elastic vocals of late L.A. folk maverick Tim Buckley, from whose 1970 album, the offbeat rock classic “Starsailor,” the band took its name.

Walsh’s emotionally direct minor-key ballads may not sit well with fans of the punchy guitar rock of the White Stripes or the Strokes. But his operatic voice and shaggy good looks appear destined for mass consumption.

Charlatans UK; Starsailor

The Palace; 1,600 capacity; $25

Production: Presented by Goldenvoice. Reviewed Jan. 11, 2002.

Cast: Bands: (CUK) Tim Burgess, Mark Collins, Martin Blunt, Jon Brookes and Tony Rogers; (S) James Walsh, James Stelfox, Ben Byrne and Barry Westhead.

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