Updated: Oct 28, 2022
30th September 2022, Liverpool Arts Club.
Courting are an English post punk band formed in Liverpool in 2018. They are comprised of 4 main band members: Sean Murphy O'Neill on vocals, Michael Downes on guitar, Sam Brennan on bass, Sean Thomas on drums. There was, however, a special unnamed guest for the night on saxophone. The band emanated a raw intensity that was reflected in the crowd, the energy could almost be felt (not only metaphorically speaking, but literally too, a hot and crowded venue with little ventilation meant that even a military-grade anti-perspirant couldn’t have prevented the sweatbox that Arts Club turned into).
There are always those who attempt to spoil an experience for others, however, and that night was no different – with one audience member in particular ‘going too far’. Whilst other bands might have allowed this to taint the set, Courting handled the situation with a sensitivity and decorum that you can imagine would be rare (especially with smaller, more inexperienced bands) and, after a short break, resumed the set. From this, the energy of the crowd was maintained, which only serves to reinforce the skill of the band to work a crowd.
Opening with the intro to Loaded, then transitioning to Tennis (their most popular song) was a good way of throwing the audience in to the ‘deep end’ but instead of it being cold water hitting your skin, it was young adults seeing nothing but red. After a couple more songs, Courting mixed in a couple of covers to slow the tone a bit (Mama Mia, ABBA, and I Love It, Icona Pop) which was unexpected but quite refreshing. To ease back into their main discography, they played Jumper which was perfect to gradually raise the energy back up. When it came to playing David Byre’s Badside, the crowd was expecting the saxophone to be whipped out… and they weren’t disappointed. Not quite to the level of John Coltrane, although arguably close (it’d probably be pretty hard to actually argue the point, but an attempt could be made at least), it added a bit of spice to the performance as a whole which was very much welcomed. To close the set, Courting ended with the rest of Loaded - tying the performance together and offering a satisfying ending to a truly phenomenal gig.
So, the moment of truth, would I recommend going to see Courting? Definitely. It was one of the best performances I have personally seen and even if you’re not a massive fan of the band I guarantee you will have a good time (just be prepared to lose about 5kg in sweat).
Final rating for Courting: 9.2/10