The Courteeners, Intermission
Having played the much larger Mandela Hall two years ago, The Courteeners were back, in the smaller Speakeasy bar. New album 'Falcon' has received some decent critical acclaim, however it was the more established tracks from the 'St Judes' album that drew the most animation from the crowd.
Support came from Derry band 'Intermission', who warmed the crowd nicely with a polished set and foot tapping pop tunes. The lead singer was an Arctic Monkeys type - long hair and skinny frame; joined by what looked like two estate agents. Still, sounding like a mixture of Ash and The Enemy they did a sterling job keeping the attention of the assembling crowd.
The Courteeners took the stage to a hero's welcome, and repaid the crowds affection by belting out fan favorite 'Cavorting'. This saw the start of an almighty beer throwing war, that claimed many victims - including myself getting at least a half pint to the back of the head). 'Good Times Are Calling', 'Will It Be This Way Forever', 'Sycophant' and more from the bands new album all got positive responses from the crowd. Indeed the new and old blended well. At one stage Fray made a point of openly slamming critics, and more specifically people that come to gigs without paying.
Towards the end of the set, the rest of the band took off to allow frontman Liam Fray to do several acoustic versions of songs such as 'No You Didn't, No You Don't'. Although this was heartfelt and personal, it dragged on for one or two songs too many and it was a welcome relief to see the rest of the band surface to belt out the first single from the 'Falcon' album, 'You Overdid It Doll'.
By this stage it was clear fans had welcomed the new album's less acoustic feel to their hearts. 'Not Nineteen Forever' goes down great as a penultimate track, but its 'What Took You So Long?' that we've been waiting for. An electric atmosphere ensues, as the crowd gives Liam Fray a hand in belting out a great tune.
This was the last date in the bands current tour, and they seemed to agree it was a befitting end. It'll be interesting to see what capacity, and venue, they play to next time they're in Belfast. A thoroughly enjoyable gig that sent loyal fans home happy, and will have undoubtably have gained some new one's.
Photo: Paul McGlade