Returning back once again to their very own supportive hometown, The Courteeners familiar settings are taken back with ease under their grasps. Whether it’s the cocksure arrogance or his half jokey rock ‘n’ roll whit, the northern band really are just alike us. The Mancunian quartet are easily slotted into the illustrious canon of down-to-earth, lyrically sharp, working-class intellectual bands that encompasses Joy Division, Happy Mondays, The Smiths and The Stone Roses.
The whirlwind of media that surrounded the release of debut album 'St Jude', it was often Fray's homely accented linear, heartfelt lyrics with which the public could most identify. Opening with Ironically titled ‘The Opener’, the outfit commanded the crowd with effortlessness, and left the audience in unison. Liam Fray and co premiered three new tracks in the setlist – 'Lose Control', 'Welcome to the Rave' and 'Why Are You Still With Him' – songs which supposedly were new, a small percentage of the crowd new the lyrics to
'Cross My Heart and Hope to Fly' is chanted by the crowd like a sudden classic. It's an atmospheric moment which appears to humble the candid quartet. Other songs from yet the perceivably slower ‘Falcon’ yet not compromised but still influential including ‘Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips’, the reflective ‘The Rest of the World Has Gone Home’, the heated ‘Sycophant’ – which was distinctive and impressive, and which spiral into an inevitable anthem cred. Songs like ‘No You Didn’t, No You Don’t’ and ‘Fallowfield Hillbilly’ are genuine gems, funny and sharp, and a welcome reminder that good music isn’t the exclusive property of the technology craving-cool kids or the art school. The Courteeners are certainly good enough to make you glad of their existence, if not yet quite good enough to live up to their self-proclaimed birthright.
Performance-wise as well, while there’s an insane amount of energy coming from the sweaty, crushed crowd, the band themselves are fairly static. Consequently, a pared-down interlude of a live track only heard occasionally ‘Last of the Ladies’ with just violin and Fray’s guitar, as the fellow band mates leave Liam for just a minimal yet effective solo session, is drowned out in a cavernous venue of fired-up Mancunian’s.
Ending the night after thanking every person in the vicinity, early anthems ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and ‘What took you so long’ are played with an ease and assurance that suggests the city's rock'n'roll days are anything but over. This time round, the Manchester lads secure the impact as a live band to back up that never-ending bravado.