Modern day firebrand songstress Courtney Barnett came to Brooklyn for a sold out show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg the day after the release of the Australian singer’s second solo LP Tell Me How You Really Feel. Over the last couple years, Courtney Barnett has burst out of relative obscurity to become one of the brightest shining stars of the alternative music scene and with this start of her big coming out tour, she is clearly ready to take on her newfound stardom in her own uniquely understated and low-key way. Barnett and another alt-rock golden child, Kurt Vile, had put out an album and went out on a tour last year, but it was clear that her fans were ravenous to see and hear this stunning siren sing her own uniquely brilliant songs.
The Boston band Palehound opened the show and proved to be a moving force to be reckoned with on their own. The trio is composed of Ellen Kempner, who is a powerhouse guitarist and frontwoman, an extremely diverse drummer Jesse Weiss really kills it, and their new bassist Larz Brogan really dazzles as she explodes with enthusiasm. I just caught their last album A Place I’ll Always Go from last year, and that was definitely impressive, but after seeing them I can tell they are ready to grow exponentially at the drop of their next recording.
Barnett has become known for her characteristically rambling lyrical style and the peculiar way that chaos of thought effects her harmonies and rhythm changes. Contrarily, she is also known for a very straight-forward appeal, and therein lies her contrasting beauty as she weaves a tapestry of visions of everyday life in a haze of pandemonium that appeals very much to a new generation of music lovers who live their lives in a hyper-accelerated, media-saturated, and attention-deficit world all just trying to grab a real and tangible moment amid their chaotic, social media soaked universe. She has become a megaphone to a new generation, and yet, she has such a wonderfully warm and giving, yet soft-spoken and shy charisma on stage. This was my first time seeing her headline, and yet it already felt like running into an old and trusted friend and seeing them in a blindingly new light. Her music grows on you in a personal and disarming way, and in no time you begin to speak her uniquely off-hand, spontaneous language.
Her set started with her new album in its entirety, and then she broke into her other stuff. She started the second stage of her show with some of her very earliest songs from her early EPs circa 2012, then launching into some classics off her breakthrough first album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, like “Avant Gardener,” “Depreston,” “Pedestrian at Best,” and a crunching closer of “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party.” It all got me pumped for seeing her much more as she swings back through NYC this Summer.
Article: Dean Keim