Gig review: Courteeners at Victoria Theatre, Halifax

Liam Fray of Courteeners. Picture: Marie Westmoreland.Liam Fray of Courteeners. Picture: Marie Westmoreland.
Liam Fray of Courteeners. Picture: Marie Westmoreland.
Raw emotion gripped the Victoria Theatre in Halifax as the Courteeners paid tribute to those who died in the Manchester terror attack 24 hours earlier.

As proud Mancunians, frontman Liam Fray and his fellow band members were clearly affected by the awful events in their home city.

The atrocity of Monday night saw 22 people killed and 59 injured when a lone bomber struck the foyer of Manchester Arena, just as thousands were leaving Ariana Grande’s show.

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Many of the victims were children and teenagers – with the youngest of the dead revealed to be just eight years old.

Fray had already spoken out, sharing a heartfelt tribute in which he honoured the city’s “togetherness, community and spirit” before they vowed to go ahead with this weekend’s massive Manchester show at Lancashire County Cricket Club at Old Trafford.

Then, at their first warm-up show at a sold-out Victoria Theatre in Halifax (the second took place in Sheffield on Wednesday), the singer read out a poem by Ryan Williams which went viral as a sign of solidarity after the attacks.

Fray and his pals then put on a typically brilliant display to do themselves, their home city and indeed the country proud as the memory of those who had died was honoured.

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Kicking off with The Opener, the indie-rockers continued with Are You In Love With A Notion before a brilliant rendition of the raucous Cavorting.

The crowd went wild from start to finish and former Manchester United star Gary Neville was among the revellers, taking to social media to post images and videos of the gig.

Neville is a huge Courteeners fan and the band continued to play an impressive set-list which included No-one Will Ever Replace Us, Take Over The World, Push Yourself, Lose Control, Small Bones and The 17th.

Fray has an incredible stage presence and the kind of Mancunian swagger which his adoring crowd always seem to warm to.

Then came No You Didn’t, Rest Of The World, Smiths Disco, Modern Love, Young Men before the riotous Not Nineteen Forever and What Took You So Long.

Brilliant stuff once again, God bless the band.