Playing to 50,000 people with James, DMAs and Pale Waves
Courteeners have announced details of a huge homecoming show at Manchester’s Heaton Park in 2019. Ticket details are below, along with part one of our interview with frontman Liam Fray.
While the band are currently adding the finishing touches to their ‘adventurous and emotional new album‘ ahead of kicking off a UK arena tour next month, the band have now announced that they’ll be playing at the iconic park on Saturday June 15, with support from James, DMAs and Pale Waves. Following on from their massive gig at Old Trafford last year and their previous gig at Heaton Park to 25,000 fans, now they’ll be returning to play to a crowd of 50,000.
“It’s 50,000 people, which is bullshit in my eyes because I know we could have done more,” frontman Liam Fray told NME. “We’re still in talks with the council, we think we’re going to cap it at 50k. I know how absurd that sentence is. If we were doing 25k, we’d be like, ‘Well, that’s 25k more than we thought we’d ever do 10 years ago’. But, it’s in our own backyard, we’ve done the smaller version with 25 and now we’ve bringing it up to 50.
“On the bill is Pale Waves, DMAs and James. Tell me that’s not the best fucking day out next year. That’s the best day Manchester’s seen since Oasis played there ten years ago.”
Speaking of what the gig means to the band, Fray continued: “It cements our place at the table. Let’s face it, if someone was doing that in London at Hyde Park, the fucking world would explode. This will be our second gig to 50,000 in as many years. I still have to pinch myself. I was talking to Paul Weller the other week and he said ‘Fucking good on you, because it’s fucking perseverance’. It’s really difficult to block out the naysayers if you do anything creative.
“You’re always up to be taken aim at. That can hurt; especially when it’s the big tastemakers who say no. When they dismiss it, you’re kind of like ‘Oh, is that it then?’ But to have 50,000 people in a field singing b-sides for the second time in two years, that’s an indication of where we’re at.”
Talking up the band’s special guests, Fray described the combo as ‘a dream’ and ‘fucking insane’.
“Heather [Baron-Grace] from Pale Waves – she’s a rockstar already,” Fray told NME. “I was walking through Manchester at half term and I must have seen five 16-year-olds trying to be her. That means it’s happening. You’re connecting. I fucking love it.
“DMAs have been my favourite band since I heard ‘Delete’ about five years ago. They’ve been on tour with us and they’re good friends of us. They’re one of the few bands who know to party. James are, in my eyes, just absolute bona fide legends. Not just round here, but they were massive. They don’t get lumped in with the other icons like Oasis, Roses and The Smiths, and I’ve never understood that. Growing up, they were the band that were on in our house the most. My sister was a huge fan. They’ve got a real heart and soul and I just think Tim is a phenomenal writer. He never got any credit for. A lot of people put him second fiddle to Morrissey. I can’t wait to watch them.”
Having played so many huge ‘victory lap’ shows in their native Manchester at Old Trafford, Heaton Park, the arena and Albert Square, Fray says that the band are currently fine-tuning plans to make this show truly one-of-a-kind.
“I think we’re going to do a tour documentary leading up to it and do something different this time around,” Fray revealed. “There might be some guests. Once you’ve done it, you have to change it up a little bit. I don’t want people to think we’re just peddling another gig, because we’re not. We’re still growing. Our last record was as exciting as the first and our next one is as exciting as the previous three. A lot of the time you go and see big bands and the new stuff in shit and not carrying, but we’ve got ‘The 17th’, ‘Modern Love’ and there’s a few from the last record that get just as good a reaction as anything else.”
He added: “As long as that keeps happening, then great. But I won’t run it into the ground, and I really mean that. If it felt like we were trotting out the same shit or dwindling in some way then I wouldn’t do it, and I think the people would let us know. The gig is all about them and their voices. They see us in them.”
Check back at NME soon for more of our interview with Fray.
Tickets to Courteeners’ other upcoming UK shows are available here. The band will be supported by Gerry Cinnamon and Zuzu. Full 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