Live Review: Courteeners @ Rock City

After having the time of his life at Courteeners’ homecoming show at Old Trafford this summer, when Jon Hague heard the news that Courteeners were playing in Nottingham at Rock City – supported by one of his favourite up-and-coming bands Vistas – he knew that he had to go. Here are his thoughts on the intimate show.


Seeing Vistas live has been on my bucket list since the first lockdown, and it was actually quite surreal to see the band play a matter of metres from me. Having the opportunity to interview lead singer Prentice Robertson the day before (you can hear the interview on the next episode of Jon and Benedict’s Indie Bangers on University Radio Nottingham!) made me feel even more connected to the band on stage. The set opened with Start Again – a single from their new album – but Vistas soon reverted to their older hits to attempt to get the crowd going. It was a less interested crowd than I expected for a band of Vistas’ size, but I loved every second. Finishing the set with Calm, Retrospect and Tigerblood back-to-back was pretty special. Seeing them play a headline show is something I’m even keener to do after seeing them support Courteeners.


"Courteeners traditionally start their sets with fan favourite Are You In Love With a Notion, although this time they chose to mix it up and start with Heart Attack and Take It On The Chin, before eventually playing Are You In Love With a Notion"

The crowd quickly filled up during the break, as everyone tried to get a prime position to see the main attraction. Courteeners left the crowd waiting though, as they came on 10 minutes later than their advertised set time – an error which did come to harm the gig later on. However, after Oasis’ Morning Glory brought the anticipation to fever pitch, the crowd erupted as Liam Fray & co finally entered the stage. Courteeners traditionally start their sets with fan favourite Are You In Love With a Notion, although this time they chose to mix it up and start with Heart Attack and Take It On The Chin, before eventually playing Are You In Love With a Notion. I’m not sure this was a great idea, as the first two songs felt like a warm up before the gig got started in earnest. Nevertheless, by the end of Are You In Love With a Notion, the crowd were sufficiently sweaty to settle into a Liam Fray masterclass, with the main set featuring hits Cavorting, Summer and peaking with an emotional rendition of Small Bones. The band left the stage after The 17th, but any Courteeners fan worth their salt would know that the gig was far from over.



After a couple of minutes wait, Liam Fray returned to the stage without his fellow band members, to play a trio of acoustic songs. The unreleased Average Marriage kicked things off, followed by the much-loved Please Don’t and Smiths Disco. These were some of the most poignant moments of the night, as the crowd belted out the lyrics back to a spotlighted Fray. He then left the stage for a second time, ready for a final encore which saw the full band return to the stage. As it should be, the final encore was where the show reached its climax, with five huge anthems. Not Nineteen Forever was a hugely memorable moment and saw the crowd at its most energetic. Closer What Took You So Long was the perfect balance between being poignant, whilst also ensuring that the show ended with a bang.


As alluded to earlier, one disappointment about the night was that the late start meant that Bide Your Time and Sycophant were chopped from the setlist. A band with Courteeners’ discography could definitely have played a more hit-laden set than they did, however I can understand the desire to mix it up and play some songs that don’t normally make the cut. Nevertheless, Courteeners absolutely know how to put on a show, and certainly proved their worth as a titan of the indie-rock live music scene.

Written by: Jon Hague

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell


Featured image courtesy of Rock City via Facebook.