After bursting onto the indie-rock scene with the celebrated EP ‘Grand National’, Courting resisted the temptation to rest on their laurels. Instead two albums later, they have evolved into one of the country’s most interesting electronic infused art-punk bands

This is all while brushing off unwanted comparisons with The 1975. Earlier in the year the band announced that they would be covering The 1975 in a Radio 1 live session with Jack Saunders. They opened with the riff to ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’ before instead covering Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘bad idea right?’


At Live at Leeds, they were coming off an extensive European Tour in support of new album ‘New Last Name’. But they opened with recent single ‘Battle’ before launching into ‘Tennis’ from acclaimed debut album ‘Guitar Music’.

The early afternoon big top tent festival slot may not have been the ideal location to showcase the lyrical intricacies in ‘Tennis’. But the die-hard fans were there to belt out “I’m not some piggy bank, you can’t just piggyback off me. There is trade involved, I was paying you to love me”.

The Wedding

Later in the night, the band could be spotted side stage watching The Cribs. The relationship between the two bands was expressed when Courting were name checked as one of the most exciting new bands by The Cribs ahead of their performance of ‘Mirror Kissers’. Next in the set list here for Courting was ‘The Wedding’ which Gary and Ryan Jarman co-produced.

Courting are usually known for attacking crowds with an intriguingly brash sound. But ‘The Wedding’ is Sean Murphy-O’Neill at his most melodic best. Particularly with the chorus of “So why do I feel like I don’t know you?”.


The more delicate melodies continued with ‘Jumper’ before early career favourite ‘Popshop!’ really re-energised the crowd. While the band is developing into a more mature sound, the lyrics of “Making money by selling your bathwater, why can’t we tag along?” and “If you stream “Shape of You”, you’re going to hell” are irresistible to shout along to.

Murphy-O’Neill asked the crowd for the name of the worst nightclub in Leeds. He then invited them to imagine that the next song was being played there. It was a fitting moment, as ‘We Look Good Together (Big Words)’ may be Courting’s most pop offering with its catchy auto-tuned hooks.


If the crowd were feeling energetic, then drummer Sean Thomas had no choice but to also be. His drumming to keep up with the frantic 16 beat hi-hat hits in ‘Famous’ was a highlight musically. The fan favourite from ‘Guitar Music’ began with Murphy-O’Neill inviting the crowd to first boo them and then cheer wildly for them.

The latter felt appropriate as the breathless track is Courting probably at their best. The frantic ending of “Why’s everybody getting older? Why’s everybody, everybody? Thank you for being my forever, and ever and ever and ever” includes a pause that only seemed to then energise the band and the crowd subsequently.


They closed out the set with ‘Flex’ from ‘New Last Name’. It was an impressive combination of their catchy indie-punk roots and more fleshed out layered sound of present.

Missing from the setlist were early career breaththrough hits ‘Grand National’, ‘Crass’ and ‘David Byrne’s Badside’. While these are fond fan favourites, Courting continue to impress by refusing to play it safe in each step of their career.

Sam Campbell
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