Kicking off this week, the band will be rounding off their year with a run of shows that span the nation – culminating with London’s O2 Academy Brixton on Saturday December 1. Speaking to NME, frontman Liam Fray advised fans to get down early to check out their support acts, with rising Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Cinnamon, and the Liverpool songwriter, producer, director, actor, comic book illustrator Zuzu.
“I was up in my house with a close friend of mine and he put Gerry [Cinnamon] on the stereo,” Fray told NME. “I’d heard the name, and we put it on he was great. He reminded me of me when I first started out just solo with an acoustic. He’s singing these tales of inner-city life; and whenever you say something like that, people just turn their noses up.
“Come on, there are people living that life – are you just supposed to turn your back on them? Fuck that. Not everyone can be Robyn. There’s a place for all of this. The Arctics and The Streets put it all so articulately, Jake Bugg too on his first record before he went all Americana. I just thought ‘This is someone new doing it’, singing in his accent and he’s really exciting.”
Fray continued: “He doesn’t take any prisoners, he’s not here to kiss anyone’s arse, and he’s been maligned by certain people in a similar way to we were.
“I didn’t feel sorry for him but I felt empathy. If you’re doing two nights at The Barrowlands and two at The Academy, that’s 9,000 tickets. Fuck what anyone’s writing about you, you’ve won. Fuck everyone else.”
As for Zuzu, Fray said he was excited for their fans to hear something ‘a little different’.
“I got sent a couple of the Zuzu demos last year, and I just loved hearing her accent in certain words,” revealed Fray. “I could tell she was from Liverpool. I saw her at Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester last month, and she was just really confident. She was really positive and there was no hidden agenda. She’s very real. That’s a big thing for me, you can see through bullshit. I’m looking forward to seeing how she gets on in big arenas. She’s brimming with confidence, so I’m looking forward to see how she tames Courteeners’ fans.”
He went on: “I think they always get a bad press, because no one has a good fucking time at gigs any more. You’re supposed to sit there with your finger on your lips. Our fans are rowdy but they’re also really, really supportive of new bands. Just ask Miles Kane, ask Blossoms, ask Bipolar Sunshine, the list goes on. The next time they tour in Manchester, that gig will be one of the biggest because our contingent have gone back to watch them.
“Also, we’ve got great taste.”
As for his other current listening habits, Fray revealed that he was “absolutely fucking loving Christine & The Queens“.
“I saw her on Graham Norton the other week,” Fray added. “I knew she was gonna be on but I had no idea her performance was going to be that good. I was moved. Mate, I was nearly in fucking tears. She’s just a cut above.”
After announcing a huge homecoming show at Manchester’s Heaton Park for next year, Fray has also spoken to NME about Courteeners’ emotional, escapist and ‘groove-based’ new album – dealing with “excess, addiction and self-improvement”.
Tickets to Courteeners’ other upcoming UK shows are available here. The band’s full UK tour dates are below.
Thursday 15 November – Stoke Victoria Hall
Friday 16 November – Birmingham O2 Academy
Saturday 17 November – Leeds First Direct Arena
Monday 19 November – Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday 20 November – Leicester O2 Academy
Thursday 22 November – Llandudno Venue Cymru
Friday 23 November – Newcastle Metro Arena
Saturday 24 November – Glasgow SSE Arena
Monday 26 November – Southampton O2 Guildhall
Tuesday 27 November – Bristol O2 Academy
Thursday 29 November – Hull Venue
Friday 30 November – Liverpool Echo Arena
Saturday 1 December – London O2 Brixton Academy
Sunday 15 June – Manchester Heaton Park