When something is cited as being the next big thing there's normally a blackened cloud of disappointment tailgating behind it. Manchester four-piece The Courteeners currently hold that burden around their shoulders, mostly on the back of their debut single 'Cavorting' and singer Liam Fray's confident-bordering-on-arrogant stance during interviews.
Thankfully, The Courteeners have the nuance to back up the bravado, and their thirty-minute set is littered with potential singles throughout. 'Cavorting' and forthcoming 45 'Acrylic' you'll probably be familiar with, but in the shape of opener 'Aftershow' - the post-rave meltdown antithesis of both the aforementioned - and 'You're Not 19 Forever', where The Strokes get lost in Middleton high street and set up camp there for the next three months. Musically their reference points flirt between the Smiths at their most playful, the Chameleons at their most serious, with a generous helping of the Libertines panache thrown in for good measure.
Although most of the focus tends to be on the frontman, it's also worth pointing out the fact that guitarist Conan Moores plays several pretty mean licks that elevate these songs above mere mortal status. At this moment in time The Courteeners look to have it all sewn up. Only self-destruction and a national ban on tune writing can stop them now.
For The Coral, their current status is that of a band at the crossroads of their career. Recent album 'Roots And Echoes' received many a lukewarm review, and their position as the UK's premier exponents of quirky pop has been under threat for some time.
Unfortunately, for a band at such a make or break stage, their choice of setlist is frankly abysmal; not the best start to keeping the punters of Rock City - only half-full at best this evening - on their side. It's quite sad in a way, as The Coral have such a dearth of songs to pick from, and while this tour is to promote their new record, kicking off proceedings with four back-to-back numbers from said record leaves an awful lot of confused and disappointed faces asunder.
James Skelly looks a forlorn figure, apologetically thanking the crowd for their less-than enthusiastic response. Things do perk up a bit when they play 'Don't Think You're The First' and even first single 'The Oldest Path' gets a welcome dust down, but by now most of those that have stayed put are past caring, which is a shame as on their day The Coral are one of the most enthralling live bands in the UK.
Sadly tonight will go down as a wasted opportunity, particularly after The Courteeners blistering set, and can only be summed up as being a case of out with the old and in with the new.