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The Courteeners – O2 Academy Sheffield – 26th November 2019

By now you know what to expect from a Courteeners gig. Great indie rock music with a rowdy crowd and getting soaked by a flying pint, that you pray is cold so it’s not piss. This was exactly what they delivered at their warmup gig in Sheffield.

We got to the gig early and took our place on the dancefloor as it slowly got busier, the standard mix of older adults in their 40s toward the back, nearer the bar, and the young ones near the front, who I swear are getting younger and younger, with their bucket hats and wannabe Liam Gallagher attitudes. The support wasn’t on yet, so the crowd was still tame.

Good Cop Bad Cop were the support, they were decent, but their 80s synth style didn’t really get the crowd going. No fault of theirs, just it wasn’t quite the music the young rowdy lot are used to. However, the crowd was still unusually subdued. You did start to wonder if they were even gonna be up for it when The Courteeners hit the stage. There was only the occasional footy chant, it was strange.

Any doubts were quickly blown away when the standard opener of Oasis’ ‘Morning Glory’ came on and then it was as though someone had flicked a switch. Boom! The whole crowd was bouncing around, arms in the air singing every word. Then the band arrived on stage and burst into ‘Are You In Love With A Notion?’ followed by ‘Cavorting’. The band had arrived now and so had the crowd; the atmosphere was electric.

The best evidence of this could be seen during ‘Small Bones’. Every word was sung by the crowd as though their lives depended on it and when it got going bodies were bouncing all over the place.

Next up came one of the new songs on their upcoming album ‘Heart Attack’. You could tell it was new one as a fair few took this as an opportunity to go the bar. This is always the case with new songs as people don’t know them as well and at a warmup gig you’ve gotta test the water with them. They brought the gig swiftly back round with ‘Sycophant’ and a few more well-known ones after.

📸 Credit Kevin Wells – Lifes better still

Then came the break while they got stuff ready for the acoustic section of the gig. This break went on a little longer than expect and you could tell the crowd was a bit confused. When Liam did eventually surface again, he was met with chants of ‘He’s been for a shit!’ in typical Sheffield fashion.

He address the chants and looked at one point that he might lose control of the crowd but Liam showed what an experienced frontman he is by deflecting the attention from him to give praise to his keyboardist and launched into a beautiful song of the new album called ‘Hanging Off Your Cloud’. There was even a bit of fan service for the Sheffield crowd as a cover of ‘Suck It and See’ followed and once again Liam had shown he knew how to control a crowd.

The thing about warm-up shows is that you can use it to try new things because if it goes wrong you have the excuse that it’s a warmup and the proper show will be better. In this case there was nothing that went wrong as they played some of their lesser performed songs such as ‘Hometown One’ and ‘Beautiful Head’. It was good to hear an established band trying out a new set list as it opens up different songs to those who only listen to the main hits.

Saying that, they finished with the big hitters which you know are always incredible ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ unleashed the whole crowd as they piled forward singing along and bouncing about then quickly came ‘What Took You So Long?’ to finish off. By the end everyone was entertained and satisfied. 

The Courteeners know how to put on a show and absolutely nail the warmup show. I just wish I had tickets for the main tour because as soon as the set finished it made you want to rewind and do it all over again.

📸 Credit Kevin Wells – Lifes better still