The Courteeners – Mercury Lounge – March 17, 2009

March 18th, 2009

the-courteenersWith a simple “Hey, New York, good evening,” the Courteeners launched into a quick, energetic set last night at the Mercury Lounge. While the room was a fairly even male-female split, the ladies remained the vocal majority throughout—drunk, perhaps, on a combination of St. Patrick’s Day revelry and singer-guitarist Liam Fray’s smooth voice and considerable charm. Although they haven’t even played together for three full years, the Courteeners have a surprisingly polished sound.

The band, in the playful, creative space between releasing its debut album, St. Jude, and readying the next one, played to its strengths, much to the delight of the adoring crowd. Audience members sang along excitedly—and, at times, did all of the singing. And on songs like “Tear Me Apart” (a new one) and “Not Nineteen Forever,” enthusiastic concertgoers pogoed up and down happily. But it was the last song, a cover of fellow Mancunian band James’ “Tomorrow” that really whipped people into a frenzy. As the set came to a close, the warm room was filled with sweaty, smiling faces. And from the back of the room, a girl remarked, “It smells like English people in here.”

That English smell is sure to continue as these four lads from Manchester open for (noted Courteeners fan) Morrissey at The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday, March 21st, Webster Hall on Tuesday, March 25th and Carnegie Hall on Thursday, March 26th. —R. Zizmor