Courteeners played a career spanning setlist in front of a raucous Guildhall crowd on friday, following the release of their fifth studio album Mapping The Rendezvous. They formed in 2006 in Rochdale and are yet another musical gem produced by Manchester, clearly there must be something in the water. Liam Fray led the way on vocals rocking some impressive facial hair, thick but well kept. Daniel Moores was on guitar, Michael Campbell on the drums and Joe Cross on bass, a new addition having joined in 2015. They dropped the ‘The’ from their name in 2012 and continue simply as ‘Courteeners’, much edgier I’m sure you’ll agree.
They were supported on the night by Clean Cut Kid, a four-piece from Liverpool. Their front man Mike Halls sported an epic ZZ top/ Gandalf style beard which was equal parts rock and roll to magical. The melodic hook and wonderfully disjointed rhythm of their single ‘Vitamin C‘ has a sweet and summery Vampire Weekend vibe.
Liam Fray was trooped in his regular jack the lad swagger and immediately treated his loyal following, ever present at Courteeners shows, to new material with ‘Not For Tomorrow’ and it was warmly received to say the least. That was swiftly followed by ‘Are You In Love With A Notion?’ from their third record Anna. Dry lyrics and guitar anthemia, a little bit of post-Britpop to paper over the Oasis sized void in all our lives.
Thankfully the Courteeners borrowed generously from their acclaimed debut St Jude, finding time for no less then five classics from 2008 by my count. So despite the Morrissey coiffed polish Southampton’s illustrious guildhall was treated to the hedonistic, mop haired gusto of ‘Cavorting’ and ‘Bide Your Time’.
A chorus of chants lead into the Courteeners latest single ‘No One Will Ever Replace Us’, a standout from their latest album. Its a swaggering love story at a summer festival, perhaps a little rose tinted version of rain soaked, welly clad hook up in an english field.
Fray then went solo for some acoustic renditions, namely for the lovelorn ‘Please Don’t’ which saw the guildhall faithful ramp up the decibel level whilst all and sundry sang along.
The Courteeners brought it up a notch for the encore and had the audience in a bit of a frenzy for ‘Not Nineteen Forever’, an indie moppy haired classic. Soaked in purple neon, an Intrepid Liam Fray hopped off the stage to high five the front row, including yours truly – it was really quite an emotional moment for me. They weren’t finished there as the lads from Manchester ended the night with ‘What Took You So Long?’ and a deafening chorus of ”woah oh oh”s that carried on long into the night.