This week has been particularly hectic, gigs wise – months ago I got tickets to see both Courteeners and Slaves, but I did not realise that the gigs fell so soon after each other, the day after each other to be precise! For now, I’ll be focusing on reviewing Courteeners, with a live review for Slaves coming very soon!
A band performing for around ten years now, the Courteeners have amassed a huge underground following; they are perhaps best known from songs including Not Nineteen Forever and What Took You So Long off their 2008 album St. Jude, and Are You in Love with a Notion? from 2013 album ANNA. The band’s most outspoken, with a strong individual following himself, is main vocalist Liam Fray, the sole songwriter of the group. Other members of the Courteeners include Daniel Moores on guitar, Michael Campbell providing drums and backing vocals, and newest member Joe Cross on bass. 2016 has been a phenomenal year for the group; their latest album Mapping the Rendezvous reached the top five in the UK Album Chart! Last year I missed out on seeing Courteeners play a sold out show at my local music venue, so I had very high expectations for their show at the influential Rock City in Nottingham!
Courteeners selected Clean Cut Kid as their main support act for their tour; their EP is on Spotify and I found it months ago and absolutely loved it from the first listen, so I could not be happier when they were announced as their main support! The energy which their recorded tracks convey translated into their live performance well. I honestly thought they did not receive enough appreciation from the crowd, who were more concerned about when Courteeners would be appearing in all honesty, yet they still took the time to interact with the crowd! A personal highlight for me was the guitar smiling as he saw me singing along to We Used to be in Love; it genuinely made him delighted to see people embracing Clean Cut Kid! Their performance was colourful and crammed with vibrant, vivid sounds, and are a name to look out for in 2017!
REVIEW OF COURTEENERS!
Quality of Vocals
Judging vocals at a Courteeners gig is always a hard task, because it is so hard to distinguish between the fans singing, and Liam Fray’s vocals! It is fact that Courteeners fans are some of the most dedicated around, and with the crowd already knowing word perfect the songs from their latest release, their strength in numbers gave their singing the edge over Liam’s vocals. Still, Liam Fray sounded fantastic, especially in the stripped back acoustic part of the set; for three tracks the concert comprised of just Liam and his guitar, and it really showcased how impressive his vocal range is! It was nice the crowd was mellower at this part too as I could hear everything Liam sang with such clarity, and his vocal tones match the meaning behind the songs he performed too; he had a gentler reflective tone as he crooned the retrospective-looking De Le Salle, whilst taking on a honest and harsher persona as he sang breakup anthem Please Don’t.
Instruments and Energy of Set
Props to Courteeners, they are masters when it comes to knowing how to put on a show! Their fiery vitality barely gave the fans chance to stop dancing and moshing for a second, and the acoustic set was the only rest-bite from an extremely energetic set! Instrument playing was faultless as well; I always find that in bands with a fronts-man representing the band the other members do not receive enough praise and recognition from fans, so full credit goes to Daniel, Michael and Joe for nailing their instrumental contributions throughout the live show!
Interaction with the Crowd
Admittedly, Courteeners did not communicate with fans as much as other bands I’ve seen in the last few months i.e. Blossoms, Get Inuit, but this element is not a huge emphasis of one of their concerts. Interactions between band and crowd and the ability to create a zest for them to go crazy to is the reason Courteeners fans are so eager to see the band live, so you could say that rather than needing to constantly talk to fans, the band’s performing is satisfactory to bond both crowd and band together!
The Set Itself
As you would expect from a Courteeners show, there was a pleasing variety of old and newer tracks from Mapping the Rendezvous. Songs from previous fan-favourite albums including St Jude and ANNA also featured in their set list! Someone at the concert told me that the addition of an acoustic section of the set is still a relatively new feature, and it certainly fitted in well amidst a show full of chaos and energy. The full set list is as below:
- Are You in Love With a Notion?
- Modern Love
- Lose Control
- Lucifer’s Dreams
- Fallowfield Hillbilly
- No One Will Ever Replace Us
- Bide Your Time
- Take Over the World
- Small Bones
- The Dilettante
- The 17th
Liam Acoustic Solo
As I mentioned at the very beginning of this review, I had high expectations for Courteeners and thankfully they put on a performance which equalled the performances I’ve seen of them on TV coverage of festivals before! Seeing them at Rock City made the experience even more insane; I have never seen a crowd more hyped for a group before they even appeared on stage, and there was such a carnival atmopshere surrounding the whole concert. The next day I was back at Rock City to see Slaves and supports play; the live review for that concert will be here very soon!