The Courteeners are one of Manchester's biggest success stories, with almost a decade behind them since formation. Though their sound has evolved and the members may look different to the people they once were, the heart and spirit embedded into their songs and performance is something that has remained. They're four guys living the dream, truly enjoying what they're doing, incredibly thankful for the legions of fans which have helped them sell out seven nights in Manchester's O2 Apollo alone.
I'm yet to attend a concert that replicates the atmosphere one will find at a Courteeners gig. Though the fans can be a rowdy bunch, lighting up flares, smoke bombs and throwing full pints of drink across the crowd, they're undeniably united when all's said and done. Those in standing may push and shove and swarm from one side of the room to the other like a school of fish navigating the ocean, but there's still a sense of camaraderie in the room.
There's no denying that Liam Fray is an incredible frontman. It's odd that, nine or so years into his career, he still gets emotional when a crowd sings his lyrics back to him, but by the end of the night he ended up on one knee, tears soaking his face and his bandmates gathering round him to console him.
It's a bit of a shame that the group haven't received mainstream success, because it's something they're more than deserving of. It doesn't seem to have hindered them, though. Earlier this year they sold out Heaton Park with 25,000 attendees - something Liam thanked the fans for multiple times - and so perhaps this is the best journey they could have taken.
On the Saturday night we were treated to a performance including much-loved tunes such as 'Are You In Love With A Notion', 'Not Nineteen Forever' and 'Here Come The Young Men', and the foursome even found the time to slot their new Christmas track 'Winter Wonderland' into the setlist, already learned word-for-word by the eager-to-please crowd.
As Liam picked up his guitar and was left for a three-song solo acoustic session, he told the crowd he wouldn't be offended if they left to go to the bar. Many remained, unwavering in their support, as the band's lead singer showed off some of his best live vocals to-date.
When the band returned, he promised a party, and that's exactly what we got. Those attending Friday and Saturday's (December 18 and 19) shows have got an exciting night or two ahead of them. I wish I could make it again, because Courteeners provided one of the best nights I've had out in a long time.