Having released their fifth album a month ago, The Courteeners are on the final date of their UK tour, before they head to Ireland and then mainland Europe. Whilst not quite full to capacity, it is clear from the sizeable attendance that the band remains on an upward trajectory; something further signified by the massive homecoming date at Old Trafford cricket ground in May 2017.
Arriving on stage to an Oasis hit is a sure-fire way to get the crowd up for it, so the familiar opening of 'Are You In Love With A Notion?' simply sends them over the edge. A new track, 'Modern Love' gets an early airing and is clearly a favourite already, while 'Cavorting' provides the first rabid indication of how much The Courteeners' faithful adore their debut material. Perhaps it is the band's relatively low mainstream exposure when compared to other arena acts, but few are those in attendance simply waiting for the proverbial hit single - the expected mayhem on the venue floor is mirrored across the tiers as the quartet smash through favourites 'Lose Control', 'Bide Your Time' and 'Take Over The World'. Of the other new songs given an airing, there are no surprises to 'No One Will Ever Replace Us' being well received, while 'Lucifer's Dreams' and 'The 17th' also generate a tangible buzz.
The Liam Fray solo section features the anthem that is 'Please Don't', but pleasantly surprising are the stripped down versions of 'Cross My Heart & Hope To Fly' and 'No You Didn't, No You Don't'. Neither are the most obvious from their catalogue to be performed in an acoustic manner, so it's unpredictable in the best of ways. Throw in a melodic cover of Pulp's 'Disco 2000' and you have a highlight to the set. The encore is largely a celebration of the band's first record, with 'Not Nineteen Forever' and 'What Took You So Long?' providing the staple finale to a relentless rock show. Even the smallest of minorities can't ruin things when they throw active flares into the standing pit - thankfully there were no obvious injuries - and you'll be hard pushed to observe a more enthusiastic relationship between a band and its fans. That hometown show in six months' time is a tantalising prospect.
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