The Courteeners

The Courteeners


To date, this is by far The Courteeners’ biggest gig and where better to have it in than their own backyard? Over 25,000 people have crammed into Heaton Park to see the biggest band in Manchester at the moment, perform.

The crowd is a sea of Fila bucket hats and wannabe hooligans. The band appear on stage to a huge reception followed by a enormous surge to the barriers.  The Courteeners have gained a label over the years that their fans are moronic teens and yet again this seems apparent as someone throws a punch at me for no apparent reason, which could only be described as being hit by a feather duster.

I’m a huge Courteeners fan and this isn’t easy to say but they’re sounding ever so flat. Whether this is due to the sound engineer or other variables I don’t know but even Michael Campbell (drummer) seems so out of time and just can’t seem to lock in a rhythm with the bass. It’s a huge disappointment for me. One positive is the inclusion of ‘Aftershow’ into the setlist, which is rarity since the Mancunian’s slight change in musical direction.

A shining light in the performance for me is ‘Small Bones’. A beautifully crafted song with the inclusion of a live brass section really has made the hairs stand up on the back of my cold sweaty neck as the sun sets.

The rest of the band leaves the stage to leave Liam Fray to do his signature acoustic section of the show.  He plays an intimate version of ‘Acrylic’ and ‘Yesterday, Today & Probably Tomorrow’ which leads to a man standing next to me saying: “This was my wedding song, this was mate” with tears streaming down his face.

It’s obvious to see that The Courteeners are one of those bands that have such a huge influence on people’s lives. They finish with ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ followed by ‘What Took You So Long’ with a snippet from James’ ‘Tomorrow’ which excites the Manchester faithful. The night sky is thick with the smoke emitted from flares and smoke bombs.

I feel like I shouldn’t let the poor quality of sound override the fact this gig is a huge milestone for the band and they have really secured themselves as one of the finest to come out of Manchester, which is a huge label to live up to. Many people will shoot me down with this statement but I honestly believe it. God bless the fucking band.

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Matthew Cooper

University of Chester Music Journalism Student / Drummer Guitarist and Synthesist / Gig Goer