I’d spent years wondering who the hell Liam Fray thought he was. Not being a massive fan of The Courteeners, I was a touch concerned the acoustic show at Leadmill would just be a sombre version of their repertoire, with all the typical indie connotations. But what I found myself in was a superbly magical atmosphere with the packed out venue buzzing, people all around me singing the words along with Liam as he played acoustically alone.
Pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.
After a false start, and brutally honest apologies over the slip up, ‘No You Didn’t, No You Don’t’ sounded fantastic combined with the chorus of the crowd. After a few songs Liam was joined on stage by keyboard player Adam Payne as he continued the set, slipping in a cheeky few bars of ‘Wait’ by The Kills (definite kudos from me) and full covers of ‘Tomorrow’ by fellow Manchester band James and ‘White Winter Hymnal’ by Fleet Foxes. All completely unpredictable choices but thoroughly enjoyed none the less. The news of The Courteeners new album Anna reaching the charts seemed to genuinely humble Fray as he thanked us all for putting real music back in the charts. Queue endless applause and whistling. Then of course, as it should be, the anthemic ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ closed the night.
Overall, the musical camaraderie displayed in the Leadmill was stunning; it felt like something special was taking place in the main room as Liam professed how he ‘fucking loves Sheffield’ and, dare I say Sheffield fucking loves him back.
Words: Jennifer Jordan