July last year we covered Courtesans at a venue on the other side of Newcastle, their first gig in the city. They have returned playing a more central venue – with more fans and materials behind them. Leading up to the release of their EP ‘Better Safe Than Sober’ EP this tour is a a live taster of what’s to come. If you want to read the last review we did in July 2016 , click here
As mentioned last time – Courtesans are a perfect cocktail of genres and sub-genres to keep almost everyone happy. On the surface you could say the London ladies are cross between Deftones and Portishead…and Joy Division…and Tool. Tracks like ‘Liberate’ even expose a little bit of Tori Amos and DJ Shadow. All those acts aside, Courtesans are certainly one thing we can all agree on: original. There’s no one out there like them.
It’s barely two songs in to the set and vocalist Sinead LaBella has the audience bopping around like maniacs. ‘Mesmerise’ does just that as the pit remains hanging on every lyric. Something you hardly get with most bands. Just as well Courtesans have this affect as their lyrics heartfelt and inspiring. The four-piece concentrate on all kinds of issues, not just relationship issues like most groups. This is clear in ‘Lullaby’. Introduced by LaBella, explaining it’s about ‘when someone is in pain…and can no longer put up with that pain’. It’s really bitter sweet that such a harrowing song can be so enjoyable.
Although the set is made from tracks off their new EP (and past material) a lot of the tracks are relevant any time. Sinead LaBella declares that the next song is about the state of the world we live in. The song? ‘FUBAR’. Sadly something I feel may be relevant in years to come. Similarly tracks like ‘John Doe’ and ‘Knowhere’ will be the same. Courtesans are saying more about the modern world than any other act right now, maybe we should be listening closer. Finishing with a haunting cover of Luck & Neat’s early 00s hit ‘A Little Bit Of Luck’ – although this is an alternative cover of an old school UK garage pop song, it certainly fits in Courtesans’ repertoire.
Not to echo our last review of the four-piece, but Courtesans should really have a bigger audience. For a smaller venue, this is a fair turn out. Yet, in time this could grow. Hopefully more fans of alternative music and the gig scene discover this amazing band. If you don’t see these ladies on this tour, they are playing the first ever Amplified festival – if you are going, you should certainly check them out.