REVIEW: The Coral/Courteeners, Scarborough Open Air Theatre

The Courteeners, or simply Courteeners as they are now known, warmed up for their appearances at Scotland’s TRNSMT festival and a huge hometown show at Old Trafford later this month with a stopover in balmy Scarborough last night (Wednesday) to play the Open Air Theatre.

It was the theatre’s 100th show since reopening in 2010, and as an added bonus, The Coral, responsible for one of the best albums of the year with ‘Coral Island’, were also on the bill. It made for an irresistible evening.

Formed in Merseyside in 1996 by school friends Ian Skelly and Paul Duffy The Coral released their debut album in 2002 and had a string of memorable singles, most of which were performed on Wednesday.

Taking the stage shortly after 7.30pm they delivered a set of classic pop tunes that included Lover Undiscovered and Faceless Angel from the last album and fan favourites Pass It On, In the Morning and Dreaming of You.

Manchester’s Courteeners have a reputation for being a terrific live band and in only their second show since the enforced layoff they wasted no time in demonstrating why.

After the crowd were warmed up with a singalong to Oasis’ Morning Glory and the usual ceremonial chanting of Liam, Liam, Liam… Courteneers, fronted by singer/guitarist and songwriter Liam Fray opened with Are You In Love With a Notion? as the crowd roared their approval and followed with Cavorting and No One Will Ever Replace Us.

Performing in front of a spectacular split screen set up and with stark lighting the stage show looked amazing especially to those well back from the stage and those in the tiered seating. The standing area was a sell out and happily there weren’t too many beer throwers intent on ruining someone’s night with a well aimed half pint.

A mid-set section that included Acrylic, Fallowfield Hillbilly, Better Man and Take Over The World was especially memorable and livened up the audience who eagerly danced and moshed along.

Crowd favourites Modern Love, Not Nineteen Forever and What Took You So Long? came towards the end of the evening when the band had everyone on their feet singing along in a blur of noise and colour.

After their Old Trafford show, the band are touring some much smaller venues in November with their Whites of Their Eyes tour which will find them in places like Bradford, Scunthorpe and Newcastle as a way of thanking fans for their 15 years of support.

Scarborough’s season is drawing to a close but we still have James (tonight), Snow Patrol (tomorrow) and Duran Duran (September 17) to look forward to. A few tickets remain for these shows if you’re quick.