The Courteeners @ Q The Music Club Live at Hard Rock Cafe

April 25, 2010 by  

The Courteeners are the sort of band that effortlessly induct legions of fans, eager to emulate their northern style and swagger, and yet at the same time repel those that consider themselves somewhat more discerning. Surely a difficult situation for any band to find themselves in, but with their perfectly formed haircuts and the ever present Manchester lineage to their music it’s easy to see why both camps are equally drawn and repelled.

As they take to the stage for tonight’s show all dressed in black they seem to be shying away from the obvious Manchester allusions and, as their second album Falcon has suggested, they seem to believe there is more to them then the ‘Northern Lads’ tag. No more so than singer Liam Fray, who seems caught between the flamboyance of Morrissey and the swagger of the Gallagher’s. Throughout the show he flails his arms wildly and shakes his hips on the tiny stage, but then in equal measure he riles the crowd and expels the odd expletive ala Gallagher.

The set itself started big with the confrontational ‘Cavorting’ kicking things of nicely, but after this hefty introduction the band drew on new material and the odd album track, which only resonated with those fully versed in their material. It was not until the Smithsarian ‘Acrylic’ and recent single ‘You Over Did It Doll’ that all of the diverse crowd, and not just the usual military jacket clad oiks, got involved.

This is where Fray’s undeniable presence comes to the fore. Where the music may languish at times due to its simplicity, Fray is always trying hard to push the performance and interact with the crowd – even his demands for more booze to be brought to the stage were reassuringly natural and alluded perfectly to the rock’n'roll surroundings.

Whether The Courteeners will find their place amongst the greats that adorn the walls is yet to be seen. Yet, closing tracks ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and ‘What Took You So Long?’ – complete with a jibe at James – confirm their ability to stir a crowd and end the night on a resounding high. I’m sure they will continue to bolster their legions with their live shows, but those more cynical will still need persuading.


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