The young Australian Courtney Barnett calmly took the stage last Monday night, and as she strode across in front of a packed house, telecaster in hand, all of us who had been patiently waiting knew we were in for one hell of a show. The intensity of the crowd grew from a light applause to a roar as the stage lit up revealing the modest looking three piece band. Despite the appearance, however, Courtney and her band were not modest in sound.
Opening with her track “Dead Fox”, Courtney told us all “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you”, reminding us that the energy we provided her would be repaid in kind. Her melodic style of modern day grunge is hard to deny, within seconds the crowd was swaying together. Courtney’s sound is somewhere between CCR and Nirvana, and its hard to not be captivated by her ambience.
As the Aussie rolled through her setlist, hardly taking any sort of break between tracks, it gave us an insight into her true personality. She seemed to be a true introvert, putting aside her insecurities just to give us the same feeling that no doubt inspired her to pursue her musical dreams. With artists like Courtney, who don’t always show a lot of emotion outside of their music, it can be a bit tough getting a sense of how they truly feel about the crowd and city they’re playing in. Courtney, however, made her feelings on Toronto well known. At one point she stopped between songs and told us in the crowd about the time she played the Silver Dollar back in 2014. She told us about how great the crowd and everyone involved with show had been. She even stated that it was “a very special memory”. Personally, I love to hear musicians voice any sort of fondness for Toronto. It’s a city that I believe doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. I’m sure every music fan in the city would be thrilled to have Toronto recognized as the cultural hot spot that it truly is.
As the show continued on, Courtney Barnett seemed to feed off the crowd more and more, just as the crowd seemed to feed off her rugged yet soulful vocals. Her voice, which contrasts her subtle rolling guitar sound, was mesmerizing, keeping the crowd in tune with the emotions behind every song. As Courtney came to the seventh song of her set, “Depreston”, the crowd was locked in… emotionally. As Courtney got to the songs outro, the crowd began chanting along with the lyrics, “If you’ve got a spare half a million. You could knock it down and start rebuilding”. To me, this was one of the true highlights of the evening. The energy inside the Danforth Music Hall was incredible.
As the show came to an end, the crowd roared as Courtney Barnett finished her last track, “Avant Gardener”, an ambient and beautiful song. The audience continued to cheer for a few minutes. Just as we had all begun to think that the show was over, Courtney, along with her bass player, Bones Sloane, and drummer, Dave Mudie, returned to the stage. This time they were accompanied by Evan Dando, singer of the opening band, The Sandwich Police. Together they rocked a three song encore, including a cover of “Being Around” originally recorded by Dando‘s former band, The Lemonheads.
Courtney Barnett had played an incredible show, stunning us all in the crowd at the Danforth Music Hall that night. When she heads back to Toronto in the near future, I strongly suggest seeing her if you’re able to. She is definitely not one to miss.
1- Dead Fox
2- Scotty Says
3- Debbie Downer
4- An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)
5- Out of the Woodwork
6- Small Poppies
8- Three Packs A Day
9- Pedestrian at Best
10- Are You Looking After Yourself?
11- Lance Jr
12- Elevator Operator
13- Kim’s Caravan
14- Avant Gardener
15- Being Around (The Lemonheads cover)
16- Pickles From the Jar
17- Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party
You can check Courtney out online!
By Devin Moher