On the night that the charade of the Brits strutted its pompous carcass across our TV screens and Cheryl Cole mimed out of time in one of the most joyless, sexless pop performances in pop history- a performance that made Posh Spice seem like some kind of musical genius, The Courteeners played a low key warm up show in Manchester that was a million miles away from the bombastic, bullying of modern pop music.
Cole’s tuneless song was mimed appallingly and had a dance routine that sucked all the sex out of the soft porn industry that is pop with a gurning, crotch thrusting display that looked more like going for a shit than some kinda fuck-me- tease that it was meant to be. Cole’s song also featured a section of a tune by Manchester singing legend, Rowetta, which was included in a breathless display of corporate arrogance after Rowetta asked her not to use it.
The story is that Cole’s management had asked to use the Rowetta song as long as they could have someone else miming it- Rowetta, of course, said she would come and sing the part herself and was brushed aside by the arrogance of the big media pop machine who just used the sample anyway with a dancer miming to it! I guess you can understand their fear of a real singer being let loose in their pop charade.
It’s not Cole that anyone objects to- afterall everyone in pop is blind ambition and not much talent. Cole is a pretty girl who is living the 21st century dream- that shallow joyless world of celeb/paprazzi/football boyfriend/tabloid life. What we object to is the never-ending machine ramming her down our throats and the sheer out of depth displays of her meager talent. Lady Gaga, whether you like her or not, strutted around the Brits like she was born to be a star, Cheryl Cole looked like she thought Posh Spice was the ultimate in pop talent.
The pop machine hogs 99 per cent of the media flogging its dead horses and wonders why pop is broke whilst 4000 guests stuff their jowelly faces at the banquet- it looked like the last days of Rome in there and was a million miles away from music…
Meanwhile in Manchester, hometown band- the much-loved Courteeners, were readying their second album with a low-key hometown show at Ruby Lounge. The atmosphere- already buoyed by Manchester United’s 3-2 away win at Milan in the Champions League was electric and the band were welcomed like they had won the cup themselves and didn’t relent for nearly ninety minutes where they played most of their excellent second album.
The irony of this is that the Courteeners will sell more records than the useless Cole and they do it in the old fashioned way by having a deep love of music and the ability to write songs and perform them, songs that touch people’s lives and mean something to people in way that the Cole pop machine (despite some excellent Girls Aloud singles) which is more about outfits and bad posturing never can.
Courteeners frontman Liam’s voice has that cool mix of swaggering confidence and heartfelt yearning that strikes a chord and it’s not just with the usual lumpy lads. Courteeners gigs are packed full of women- there is something about the band- a poetic ruffian artistry and sensitivity that strikes a chord with the girls and by extent the boys who get all arms-around-eachother- loved-up to the anthemic choruses.
Liam sings and writes songs that become part of the patchwork of people’s lives- the ups and the downs, the loves won and lost, the poetry of living in the north applied to deceptively simple songs that have big hooks and melodies that are full of heart and soul- all stuff that that the bombastic pop machine could never understand and deliberately keep out of their shameful parade- afterall those jowelly pigs who lock Rowetta out of singing on a live pop show and replace her with a miming dancer could never feel the sort of emotion and communal thrill of music like this.
The Courteeners upcoming second album is an ambitious triumph and their spring tour will see them assume their position in the pantheon of northern music giants.
Another victory for the people!