GIG REVIEW: Courtney Barnett | The Forum (Melb) | 15.5.15

Sunday, May 17, 2015
(Photographer- Kristy Smolcic)

Opening for Courtney Barnett was Teeth & Tounge, a musical project started by the immensely talented Jess Cornelius. The experimental pop artist brought along a backing band to help her out on stage. A set highlight was when they performed ‘Cupcake’. Another highlight was when they covered the Beach Boy’s ‘Kokomo’ toward the end of their set. It was enjoyable to see the audience have fun with the cover just as much as Jess and her band were.

In the last few months Courtney Barnett has exploded onto the scene. She has been a Melbourne favourite of many for a while now, but in recent times she has been getting worldwide attention. She has dropped her critically acclaimed debut studio album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, and she has also appeared on television shows like Ellen. Despite all this attention - she’s still regular same old Courtney. It’s obvious that she isn’t into the idea of fame, and that her main purpose to to create good music - which she does so impeccably.

Having never seen her live, I didn’t know what to expect. In my head I thought she would be one of those performers whose goal is just to perform with little crowd interaction. I was wrong, Courtney has the whole package when it comes to live performances. Yes, she is a focussed performer, but she fits some time in to have some light-hearted laughs with her fans and to share her dismay for the current PM. 

Opening with ‘Elevator Operator’, a track many Melbournians can relate to considering it’s all about the morning commute many have to make. She then drifted into an older track ‘Lance Jr’ - this one is about masturbating to a guy’s songs. The sincerity and authentic nature of her lyrics is what makes her one of the more original indie-rock artists around right now. She writes songs about real events she witnesses or has experienced. There isn’t any filter or fabricated material, she’s real. This is why her fans love her so much. Her lyrics remind me of the brilliant prose of an Ernest Hemingway novel, it’s mostly just ramblings, but it’s part of the charm of it.

Though much of the material came from her LP, she did perform songs from her EP’s such as ‘Avant Gardener’ and ‘History Eraser’ from How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose. Before performing ‘Avant Gardener’ she said that she thought the song was average, but it did help them pay their tickets around the world. She also performed ‘Canned Tomatoes (Whole)’ from I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris.

She also managed to squeeze in a few covers such as ‘Cannonball’ by The Breeders and ‘Being Around’ by The Lemonheads. During ‘Being Around’, some audience members were replying to the questions in the song, Courtney stoping during to jokingly remind the crowd that the questions were rhetorical. 

Courtney lived up to every high expectation I had going into the night - her raw talented shined bright, but it was her humility and true love for performing that stole the show. 

Written by Amy Smolcic

Courtney Barnett | The Forum | 15.5.15
Featuring: Teeth & Tongue
Photographer: Kristy Smolcic