An Afternoon With Liam Fray

Posted on by Zoe

This week, I was given a special invitation to an acoustic session with Liam Fray, frontman of The Courteeners, at the XFM studios in Manchester.

I’ll admit it. Back in the day, Manchester-hailed band The Courteeners only took up a small portion of space on my iPod - ‘Acrylic’ and ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ were the two put-on-repeat winners for me, both recommendations from my best friend. Five years on, and I haven’t really thought about what The Courteeners are up to these days, but since this acoustic show, I’ve been doing the usual routine - checking tour dates, bringing their new album, ANNA, to the surface of my Spotify playlists and trawling YouTube for good gig footage.

For an hour or so, Liam and keyboard player Adam Payne played the highlights of their back catalogue, and also treated us to a cover of one of my favourite songs of all time, ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ by The National (I may have let out a little gasp when he started singing it!). With just 30 others in the room, the session felt truly special, and it was so refreshing to hear such a raucous, guitar-led band play their songs acoustically and sentimentally. Without a doubt, acoustic Liam is a fantastic Liam.

No one can dispute that they have a rock solid fan base, either. Every person in the room was singing the songs that made them big, word-for-word, and falling for his charm in between tunes (even the men!). The fact that there was no setlist didn’t matter - if anything, it added to the feeling of watching a special, spur-of-the-moment show…we’d been dropped into a band rehearsal with a smarter-than-average dress code.

The Courteeners will be touring a plethora of British spots this December, and I might just need to hear those songs one more time as a pre-Christmas treat…


A big thank you to XFM for inviting me to the acoustic session!

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