Barely six months ago the Courteeners played to just 80 people in a Halifax pub, but such has been their hype-fuelled rise that tonight they are entertaining over 2000 in a crowded Manchester Academy.

£12 tickets are changing hands outside for £60 a pop right up until minutes before the band are due onstage and there is an element of alcohol enhanced menace in the atmosphere as the packed bar areas struggle to cope with demand, let alone mop up the vomit that one over zealous fan decides to leave as an unwanted tip.

The Courteeners open with 'Aftershow' which only incites the crowd more, as beer is randomly thrown and the place goes mental. An uneasy calm, of sorts, is reached as 'Bide Your Time' is postponed due to some technical failings, but a mass edgy sing along to 'Acrylic' quickly takes us full circle.

My partner expresses some concerns about a possible riot ensuing and fire exits are quickly noted as B-side 'Smith’s Disco' is teased out sounding incredibly like Stephen Fretwell’s 'Scar'.

'Please Don’t' is a slower song, certainly one of the debut album highlights and live it doesn’t disappoint, but much of the rest of the set is somewhat laboured, save for the excellent 'Cavorting' which overcomes its ordinary lyrics with a great jangling guitar tune.

'No You Didn’t, No You Don’t' and recent single 'Not Nineteen Forever' are also decent slabs of indie fodder , while set closer (there is no encore), 'What Took You So Long' ensures that the overwhelming majority leave happy.

The Courteeners have been hailed as the next Manchester musical messiahs, with lazy comparisons to Oasis and the Smiths, but strip away the rallying call sound-bites that singer, Liam Fray, delivers and listen again to their songs with a fresh orange juice (rather than a lager) in the cold light of day and I’m sure you’ll agree that they have a fair way to go even to become the next Housemartins or, circa 1986, Brilliant Corners. Don’t give up on them yet. Their next LP will make or break them.












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Commenting On: Academy, Manchester, 19/4/2008 - Courteneers








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