Exeter, Devon UK • May 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Music Live Review: Liam Fray @ Bristol Thekla

Live Review: Liam Fray @ Bristol Thekla

5 mins read
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“Liam! Liam! Liam!” Not many artists can be late to their own gig and be greeted with a supportive chant from the crowd. Maybe they all counted themselves lucky they weren’t waiting over an hour for Rihanna. Though considering no one was moving it was easy to begin to get restless as the heat from the Thekla started to build up. Having had an hour to set up it’s questionable why Liam was late to his gig, but the chants continued and people didn’t lose spirit after getting rallied up by support band Carnival Club.

The image and energy of a rock band, if you haven’t already checked them out, their impressive gig at Liam Fray’s concert means you really should. Following in the footsteps of their Manchester headliner, the four-piece were pretty chill, slightly arrogant and had the stripes, leopard print and polka dots to back it up. Even though, their Rock’n’Roll persona contrasted to Liam’s supposedly “Acoustic Tour”, the crowd took a liking to them. The applauds got louder after each song and once they rocked out to their most recent song “Sin City” the band was met with an even better reception. The single, yet to be launched, had touches of Liam’s influence as the band implied when thanking him for having them on tour and helping them on and off tour.

Once Carnival Club had finished, it was expected Liam would hit the stage half an hour later but fans waited over an hour for him to make an appearance, slightly agitated by the heat caused by the compactness of the gig. I guess Fray took the non-professional element he said would be part of his gig seriously. However, being a sold-out gig the place had filled out by the time he made it to the stage and he was welcomed by the cries of “Liam!”. Here, Fray went straight into the set, starting the night off with “How Come” easing the crowd into a night of anticipated Courteener songs. The night alternated between the classics of “Bide Your Time”, “Lose Control” and “Are You in Love With a Notion?”, finishing off with “Not Nineteen Forever”. Though to the masses the lesser known songs filled the gaps, the demographic of supporters attending were pretty consistent in knowing all the songs. Being such a close gig with limited capacity, those who couldn’t bare missing out were there and sung every word.

it’s hard not be drawn to his charm

With no backing members apart from pianist Adam Payne there wasn’t much moving due to the nature of things, but in the category of acoustic I’m not sure I’d say it was an acoustic tour. Expecting things to be a little different, I felt it didn’t offer anything much too dissimilar from a normal Courteeners gig apart from a few missing band members. Although this isn’t such a bad thing as I can’t knock Liam’s ability to please a crowd and his knack for playing the songs so effortlessly, I couldn’t help feeling there was a little something missing. Having been the one to write the songs, and with a character like his it’s understandable why people wish to see him perform. An entertainer, a songwriter and a man who looks good in trousers it’s hard not be drawn to his charm. Fray’s character is part of this charm and his talent at converting real personal experiences into songs is what makes his shows so attractive to people.

In a gig like this one it gave fans a chance to sing along to those Fray may not have expected would be as known, showing him just how much those lyrics mean to others. With sweat pouring down his face and the heat making for a pretty sticky night, it didn’t stop what was an enjoyable night of music, and the intimacy of it all was bound to please any Courteeners fan.

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