Plenty of Northern gusto

What with The Courteeners now blessed with a rock n roll knighthood from God himself (the pint-sized smiter also known as Bono, that is) and with their Debut 'St. Jude' set to stun Blighty anytime soon, it's no surprise they're taking precautions.

As yet another half-filled beaker of golden Nectar belts the stageside, the crowd are warned via tannoy that the band will walk off immediately if any such objects are thrown during their performance. When they do finally surface, it's clear Liam Fray is here to do one thing; silence such buffoons with an artilery of spiky-pop Anthems and a surfeit Northern gusto that could subdue an army of blottoed bandits.

Maybe it's Fray's surprising height (or 'fucking-try-it,punk' glare) that sober's initially, or just fact that when they launch into their set an array of Gallagher-style mullets begin to ping-pong throughout the venue. 'Acrylic' instantly chimes out like an endorphin-festinating Pete D sleighing 'This Charming Man' upside the head with a sneer-douseStrat. Better still is future single 'Not Nineteen Forever', which tonight sees guitarist Daniel Moores channeling the ghost of a thousand Britpop greats from Squire to current Crib Johhny Marr. They may not have the touchstone immediacy of such acts, but what's for sure is this is a band not so much dothing their cap to their City's past musical exports as throwing it to the floor and bearhugging the sucker.

Forget Flock Of Seaguls haircuts and lo-fi Techno made on Master Systems, The Courteeners couldn't care less for today's current trends. As the closing strains of 'What Took You So Long' echo out, Fray merges the closing bars of James' mid-90's hit 'Tomorrow' into the song and the sweat-dreched throng grin like Dev Hynes in a cardigan superstore. With The Courteeners pulling out sets like this, venues should be safe of ale-based air-mail for a while.
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