Music review: The Courteeners, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

For most of this month, the Summer Sessions series of gigs in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens have been an entirely genteel affair, with only Lewis Capaldi’s widely-reported claim of a bathroom malfunction on stage lowering the tone.

Liam Fray of Courteeners performs in Princes Street Gardens 

 PIC: Neil Hanna Photography
Liam Fray of Courteeners performs in Princes Street Gardens PIC: Neil Hanna Photography

The Courteeners, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh ****

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Yet Manchester’s the Courteeners are a different beast to any of the other groups playing here; a defiantly working class group whose spiky, noisily excitable guitar-pop sound has seen them inherit (alongside Kasabian) the lively and overenthusiastic audience which was left behind when Oasis broke up.

More or less ignored by the critical end of the British music media, yet adored by swathes of fans in the north of England and Scotland particularly, Courteener-in-chief Liam Fray and his band are the kind of group which inspire mass, heaving bouncing along to their most beloved songs on the slope leading down to the Ross Bandstand, and the infernal red glow of a flare being sparked up during their beloved hit Not Nineteen Forever. Flares, of course, aren’t permitted at these sort of events; but still, you know a group has crowd love when you see one appear.

The band played a set stuffed with songs which recalled the past of their city while sounding urgently of the moment, including the brisk, chiming pop of opener Are You in Love with a Notion?,; the growling, upbeat riff of No One Will Ever Replace Us; and the dynamic summertime pop of Modern Love. The set also featured an acoustic Smiths Disco, which was an uncharacteristically relaxed moment, and an outing for new song Heavy Jacket – “that’s on the new album, we have done one… well, half of it,” offered Fray – before the rowdily hopeful closer What Took You So Long? DAVID POLLOCK