THE Charlatans will play their first gig back in Northwich since 1990, tonight.

The band will perform their first of four homecoming gigs at Memorial Court tonight as part of a 10-day festival dubbed North by Northwich, celebrating the band’s beginnings.

Thursday saw the opening of the festival, with BBC radio presenter Mark Radcliffe playing at the Salty Dog with his band Galleon Blast.

Mark also opened the Charlatans exhibition at Barons Quay, which will be open very day of the festival.

In opening the exhibition, Mark recalled first hearing The Only One I Know, and hailed the band for putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to supporting their home town.

Mark said: “The Charlatans are all beautiful people it’s been my honour to know them, it’s my honour and deep sorrow to know some of them who aren’t here anymore.

“But we’re here to celebrate and these guys have just made some of the music that has defined lives. You know, some of the records – even people as old as me can remember through a haze hearing the likes of The Only One I Know, and going ‘bloody hell that’s good, where are they from? Northwich!?’

“All the years I’ve been on the radio they’ve made amazing records. Tim asked me to choose my favourite Charlatans record for a thing he was doing for the Northwich Guardian and I started trying to narrow it down.

“Eventually I got to One to Another, which I played on the radio every day, but everything else in my top five were ones from their last couple of albums. Songs like Up at the Lake and Talking in Tones – I just love some of the most recent ones.

“But most bands, all their good work is early on, but these guys have overcome many obstacles and kept going kept on making really wonderful, thought-provoking and era-defining music.

“A lot bands pay lip service to where they’re from but don’t ever do anything about it. These guys didn’t have to do any of this for Northwich.

“They could do a normal tour and they could make money and sell a lot of T-shirts, and why shouldn’t they, that’s their job, they’ve earned the right to do that. But they’ve put a lot of heart and thought and soul into representing where the band started.”