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Review: The Courteeners at Ibiza Rocks closing, 2015

A full-on display of some Manchester magic.

Early last week that brick wall finally came for me. After three and a half months of diving skull first, pelvis second into the heapage of techno playgrounds day after day, week after week, by Tuesday I had a minor ARGHHH-out, cured only by cartoons. Techno is by no means the only breed of soundplay that lifts out that transdimensional space goat we all have within us, but I'd become a creature of habit and hadn't been packing my shopping trolley with enough variety. Don't get me wrong, the supermarket sweep shift I've been on has been nothing but above the top shelf stuff, but this live music closing gig with The Courteeners at Ibiza Rocks couldn't have landed with better timing.

Warm-up band, Boxed In, had the already well packed crowd in a healthy state of anticipation, from the folks on the upper levels, the hotel balcony room stayers and the troops packing themselves front of stage. After a good jeering, DJ Patrick Namezi announced some literal music to my eardrum bags; that in a nod to The Courteeners home city, it was going to be 45 minutes on non-stop track stormers exclusively from Manchester. 45 minutes could have been spread out for days with the flurry of fine finesse that's risen from this city. A Guy Called Gerald's Voodoo Ray, The Chemical Brothers' Hey Boy Hey Girl, New Order's Blue Monday, Oasis' Lyla, Happy Mondays' Step On and James' Sit Down. That list could have gone on, but you get the picture eh? Northern brilliance that was once again shown to be timeless through its ability to catch a new crew of aficionados through the decades.

After that welcomed whammy, it was time for the main act, the headliners to wave Ibiza Rocks 2015 off with a live music induced thrust. From my place on the lower level, next to the pit of pint cup chuckers, it was a standout observation that The Courteeners can bring in a crowd thousands of miles from home very easily. As soon as Are You So In Love With A Notion took off, the fans ran away with the lyrics and threw them back with the kind of passion that keeps these bands in love with stage performance. It was a mixed baggage of the old and the new and the beefers in between. Acrylic and Bide Your Time were two other rock drivers delivered by the indie rock four piece. After a thrash out of Not 19 Forever, one fan might have taken this youth cherishing message straight to the deep end after a scramble up on the sound-check roof cover, at which point I was thinking “YAS, dive man, DIVE.” Standing on a platform with easy access to a pool dive and not following through is an opportunity wasted, this guy thought the same. Cheers a plenty. Bouncer was in after him and hauled straight out. I'm 99.9% sure he never regretted one moment of that.

What did his moment of taking one for the team make him miss? We were all reminded that it's not the end until the Fat Lady has sung her final words and in she belted out Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé's Barcelona. Incredible man. A lacer of emotion. And in true spirit to the night's antics, and in one last show of Manc pride, Oasis' Roll With It was the ultimate closer. All muckers chantin' up the stairs "You gotta roll with it / You gotta take your time / You gotta say what you say / Don't let anybody get in your way." Nobody and nothing got in the way of anything for everybody to have a cracker for the last of Ibiza Rocks 2015, not even my cranky cow mood of the day before.

WORDS | Aimee Lawrence PHOTOGRAPHY | Mik Motala at Diginights

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