Honesty and passion - key to Courteneers’ success?

Liam Fray from The Courteeners

Liam Fray from The Courteeners

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When The Courteeners played Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom it was more like a football match than a gig.

Rarely has a crowd been so bouncing for the concert earlier this year.

Which means that Monday’s gig at the smaller, more intimate 53 Degrees should be something to behold.

Indeed the venue has already issued a message asking fans not to bring flares and warning they will be searched at the entrance.

If you’ve not heard of The Courteeners, that’s perhaps not a surprise.

Despite the fact they’ve had three top 10 albums (the latest of which was Anna) and are one of the biggest bands to emerge from Manchester in the last decade, they are a group that get hardly any press in the national papers.

Quite why this is who knows. The theory is that they are a band who are only popular in the north west, though sold out shows around Europe and the US suggest differently

Frontman Liam Fray is past caring. “We’ve never been the cool kids at the party,” he says. “We’ve never been darlings of the press.

“It’s pretty difficult when national radio and the majority of national publications don’t back you.

“We got big through fans liking what we do and being into it. I think it’s a very rare example.”

Fray is a fine songwriter and has a special talent for dissecting relationships, his lyrics dealing with the smaller details in life that most people miss.

His songs certainly connect with fans, as the atmosphere at their gigs shows.

“All we ever do is try to be honest, be passionate, and those things are underrated – honesty and passion,” Fray added.

“I think the tide’s turning, people know now that we’re not this bunch of idiots. We’re not just your average two-bat, only-got-a-couple-of-songs. Every song we play people go nuts for it. It confuses us half the time.

“We’re a live band and I want to play to however many people want to hear us. If that’s 20 I’ll play to 20 people. I have done that before, it’s exhilarating. You get to see who’s talking!

“It’s humbling that so many people seem to get us. And it is really strange, but at the same time it is the best feeling in the world and long may it continue.”

After Preston on Monday, The Courteeners head to London to play at the O2 before ending their December tour with a sell-out date at the Manchester Arena on Friday December 13.

Go to www.53degrees.net to see if there are any late tickets available.