Gig review: The Courteeners at O2 Academy Leeds

The Courteeners
The Courteeners
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NOTHING, it seems, can stop The Courteeners right now.

On Saturday, the indie-rockers will play their biggest headline show to date at a sold-out Heaton Park in front of 50,000 adoring fans.

It’s not the first time the group have performed a headline show at the Prestwich park – they sold out a similar open-air show in 2015 – but this time the capacity will be twice the size as it was previously.

That makes it their joint biggest ever concert along with their 2017 Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground performance, which took place in the week following the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.

The Mancunian band were in Leeds after playing in Blackpool the previous night, the two shows serving as warm-up gigs for the main event in their home city this weekend.

A sold-out crowd had begun to grow slightly restless as Liam Fray and his fellow band-mates, scheduled to be on stage at 9.10pm, had still not emerged as 9.30pm approached.

Patience was beginning to wear thin with some of their more rowdy followers.

Still, it was all in a good cause.

Once on stage, the band served up a number of classics which were rapturously received by the raucous Leeds crowd.

Beer is thrown around and mosh pits form as the band kicks things off with crowd favourite Are You In Love With A Notion?

Other popular tracks Modern Love and No One Will Ever Replace Us follow before Fray, a charismatic and hugely talented frontman who clearly loves what he does, wows the crowd with a brief “How you doing, Leeds?”

An impressive set-list also includes Summer, The Opener, Better Man, Please Don’t, Smith’s Disco, Cavorting, Here Come The Young Men and the spine-tingling Not Nineteen Forever.

Eleven years ago, one British newspaper declared of The Courteeners’ debut album St Jude: “I confidently predict that exactly no one will be listening to it in 10 years time.”

Well, it’s now over a decade on and the Middleton four-piece continue to sell out wherever they go.

As Tuesday night in Leeds showed, their music, and indeed their following, remains as strong as ever. God bless the band.