[LIVE REVIEW] Courtney Barnett – Islington Assembly Hall 29.05.14


It is now common knowledge that Courtney Barnett’s songwriting is fantastic. It is so vividly original and inventive you could be excused for thinking her music merely serves as a ‘vehicle’ to put her lines into form. That is, if you’ve never seen her live before.

On stage, Courtney Barnett and her two-piece backing band affectionately known as “the Courtney Barnetts”, turn into a noisy punk rock outfit. And the results are thrilling. They sound wild, powerful and most importantly fun. None of them are technical players, but it’s an essential part of the charm. They don’t seem to be too serious about it, they’re just a bunch of friends having fun playing music in the vein of The Lemonheads and Nirvana. Yet it’s hard not to take them seriously, because they sound so good.

One of the new songs they play is entitled ‘Blah’ and it’s the grooviest, most upbeat song they’ve done yet, driven by a guitar riff a la ‘David’. ‘Are You Looking After Yourself’ is a particular highlight of the show and very representative of Barnett’s simple, ‘ordinary’ style both lyrically and musically.

After ending the main set with ‘History Eraser’, Courtney comes back on her own for one last song, ‘Depreston’ which will most likely appear on her next album. It’s about house-hunting in a small town in Australia called Preston, “next door” to where she lives. “I know this song has given it a bit of a reputation but it’s really not that bad”, she assures us.
She sounds even better on her own and proves how much of a talented songwriter and performer she is. Her deadpan delivery is irresistible and every one of her lines is pure gold. “It’s got a lovely garden; a garage for two cars to park in, or a lot of room for storage if you’ve just got one”.

The show was sold-out well in advance, and Courtney seemed genuinely surprised that so many people turned up. “I’ll see you next time”, she says. No doubt that next time there will be even more people, so catch her in a small venue while you still can!

by Brice DetrucheĀ (originally posted on In Between The Tracks)


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