Thu 22nd May by Jamie Barker
Courtney Barnett at The Joiners
Marketed as the final gig of her first UK tour, ‘the Joiners’ was packed for the young up and coming Australian Courtney Barnett. Her popularity has increased throughout the UK mostly through word of mouth, talking of an artist who’s lyrics take every day mundane tasks and makes them into laid back listening.
Honeyblood, a Scottish duo of Shona McVicar and Stina Tweeddale are the openers for Courtney. They provide a good account of themselves; their music is catchy and energetic rock songs despite the bittersweet nature of some of their lyrics which include lines such as ‘I want to be anywhere but here’ or ‘I don’t think he’d hurt me, I know he would, it’s in his blood’. Unfortunately their stage presence was a little wanting with long silences due to tuning begging for some crowd interaction. That said it would be harsh to condemn Honeyblood for this, their music was outstanding and they are an interesting band to keep an eye out for – especially as they are on the same label as The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Check out their single ‘Killer Bangs’ on the link below.
As highly anticipated Courtney Barnett came on stage, she wasted no time in getting into her music, which had attracted a sell-out crowd to The Joiners. She went through 3 songs without saying much more than “hi’” but it was the music that did the talking – Courtney Barnett is an artist who at the age of 24 has an incredible level of skill with a guitar, and her band were similarly superb, seamlessly transitioning from song to song. As the gig went on she began talking to the audience and her quirky sense of humour was a reminder of the relaxed attitude that Barnett has had throughout her career. Well known songs Avant Gardner and History Eraser well executed excellently, but the entire setlist was fantastic, and Barnett has more than likely gained even more fans thanks to her lyrical whimsy and instrumental talent.
Calls for an encore were answered, Barnett returned to the stage solo to perform the beautiful ‘depreston’ . The crowd, who had engaged in some banter previously, were silent throughout – as one attendee said ‘it was probably the only song where she didn’t break into some ridiculous guitar work’ but she didn’t need to’ the lyrics were so impactful.
A fine evening of rock at the Joiner’s was finished with Barnett and Honeyblood sticking around to sign merchandise and chat to anyone who wanted to talk to them (and there were plenty who took up the opportunity). It’s easy to see why Barnett is seen as a rising star – she takes time to chat to her fans, is incredibly talented yet you can see she hasn’t let pressure get to her, she just enjoys playing music.
Barnett, Avant Gardner - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcnIhzaDTd0
Barnett, Depreston - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz06XZqOlmQ