Survivors of Brit pop there may be, but Brit pop survivors? You could count them on one hand, at best. The least likeliest of the crop were The Charlatans.
The Brit pop days were wonderful ones - quite a haze in the memory. Yet there was almost something too generic about the Charlatans, the enduring work horse which didn't look set for much a future when compared to some of the others in the stable: Oasis, Pulp and Suede.Yet The Charlatans are still running, a bit older, a bit plumper, but never more tight than as a live outfit.
As the title indicates, this is the group's first visual live offering in all their 15 years together. The group admit the back catalogue has been plundered for what was their 2004 Christmas tour, with the stop at Brixton the setting for the compilation.
Unsurprisingly the sound early on is reduced to that of a stubborn grumble, with the rhythm section gobbled under Brixton's overpriced acoustics.
After a flat opening, Up At The Lake quickly has a floor chockful of late twenty-somethings bobbing up and down. While there is an eclectic shuffle of the past and the recent, Live At Last can make laboured viewing for the non-die hards out there.
The body of the set has a habit of meshing into one very long jam. Tim and the boys do try a little variation, notably with a funkier and quicker rework of My Beautiful friend.
At points however, you're almost willing the encore so the boys can get on with the classics (of course the forward button can quickly alleviate things). And what an encore it is. Perhaps most striking is the interchanging lairy, laddy anthems to souped up funk illustrating how well the Charlatans have kept evolving.
One thing which hasn't evolved quite so well is Tim Burgess's dancing. Gone is the monkey swagger and in, the hilarious school girl-Lemar-like-skank. Still, Tim can be forgiven. He is a noble and engaging frontman.
Extras wise, there's very little to get excited about. An unremarkable interview reveals little more than the expected "gigs are great" and "we love playing live" soudbites.
For fourteen quid you're paying for a live album, which costs much less than a decent Brixton live experience which makes the transfer to disc rather reasonably well. You can even have it for free if you're prepared to wait for Channel 4 to screen the gig a mere four days after this DVD release.
Commercial suicide, maybe. But The Charlatans are long past the stage where money matters. Like much of their activity of late, this one's for the fans.