Ten years. Five studio albums. An array of memorable gigs in Manchester and beyond. One lineup change. The Courteeners have certainly given fans plenty to follow over the years.
Although aspirations will not stop there, their upcoming huge 50,000 sell-out gig at Old Trafford cricket ground does seem like the crown jewel; the pinnacle of their career up to now and signals the conclusion of the trinity of huge Manchester gigs: Castlefield Bowl in 2013, Heaton Park in 2015 and now this in the late Spring of 2017.
As someone who was present at both of the first two, they certainly save their best for the big stage. As the self-proclaimed ‘biggest underground band in the world’ (Fray is certainly not short on confidence), they reach new levels on the big stage, almost in defiance of the mainstream media from which they feel they never received the same backing other upcoming bands did – who could forget the disdain directed towards the ‘BBC Radio 1 Stage’ when performing a closing set at Leeds Festival in 2014 – by both band and crowd?
But that’s all politics. What matters is that Fray and co have successfully produced five albums, all different and all loved by their fans in their own unique way. From the slightly heavier riffs of St Jude album track ‘If It Wasn’t For Me’ to the big-band feel to Concrete Love’s ‘Small Bones’, there has been no stone left unturned along the way, and the set will no doubt feature a smattering of tracks from across all five (maybe even with a b-side or two – there will always be a surprise where The Courteeners are involved!).
If you get chance, go. The Courteeners might not be for everyone but as a live band they never disappoint, and Old Trafford promises to be a special night. For those unable to make it, they will also be playing two warm-up shows in Halifax (23/5) and Sheffield (24/5), tickets for which will be on sale on Saturday morning.
God bless the band.