Photo of Liam James Fray of Courteeners above © Hayley Taylor

Courteeners

O2 Academy, Liverpool

18th August 2014

To celebrate the release of fourth album Concrete Love, the Courteeners and (so it seems) most of Manchester descended upon their ‘northern cousins’ as Liam Fray puts it.

Tonight is more than just a ‘launch gig’ or a warm up show for their second stage headline slots at Leeds and Reading this weekend, it’s a celebration of music by the people, for the people that connects with people by the simple use of melodies, songs and lyrics which are etched in our minds to cause masses of people to sing-along non-stop from the word go.

Manchester newbies Blossoms open up proceedings and restore any faith lost in brand new guitar bands. Dubbing themselves as a “mosaic five piece”, the Stockport band combine organs, moody guitar lines with deep vocals to create well-constructed psych haziness with a whole melting pot of influences, one unmistakeably being the Doors. Blossoms have all the tunes needed to make a breakthrough within the next year and don’t they know it too. Dressed in all black turtles-necks, the five-piece have an arrogance and aura about them and deservedly take their place on stages like these, although with promises of new songs it surely won’t be long until they’re a major headline attraction in their own right.

But now it was time for the main attraction as the Courteeners take to the stage. No-messing, opener How Good It Was sends the sold out Liverpool head into an electric frenzy and demonstrates just what the Middleton band do best, mixing lyrics which detail that of northern life with climatic choruses. It’s the first from tonight’s set to be taken from the new record which also includes Summer, Next Time You Call, Has He Told You That He Loves You Yet and Small Bones all well received and delivered with aplomb. Small Bones is a standout, a fusion of delicate keys and triumphant horns which explodes at just the right time.

Early singles Cavorting and Acrylic confirm the roof is well and truly lifted off before the now five piece measure up a string of singles from previous albums Anna and Falcon. Its then time for the middle section which features just three of the existing group as Adam, Daniel and Liam perform non-album rarities That Kiss and Whites In Their Eyes along with Bide Your Time, before Fray double’s up on keys and guitar on Cross My Heart And Hope To Fly.

Tonight’s gig then came to a thrilling end as encore opener Are You In Love With A Notion led into Here Come The Young Men, Not Nineteen Forever and of course, What Took You So Long via a snippet of Tomorrow by Manchester heroes James.

The Courteeners will be back on the road again in October and November across the UK to celebrate more from Concrete Love but tonight’s occasion was about embracing the Courteeners in all their entirety in one of the UK’s favourite northern cities.

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The Courteeners new album, Concrete Love, is out now. More details about it like where to buy can be found at the band’s website: thecourteeners.com.

The Courteeners are also on Facebook and they tweet as @What_Liam_Said and @thecourteeners.

All photos © Hayley Taylor. Find more photos by Hayley here: shotbyhayley.co.uk and / or follow her on twitter as @shotbyhayley.

All words by Josh Norcliffe. More writing by Josh on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. He also tweets as @josh_norcliffe.

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