As a publication, we’ve been covering Courtney Barnett for over 4 years now; from reviewing her albums , videos and live gigs. As the editor here at P&W, I’ve handled all these articles and have been amazed at all the positive reviews we’ve done, but never personally witnessed the magic live so was chomping at the bit as Wednesday, July 25th, approached.
The day of the show the weather called for rain and strong chances for thunderstorms during the peak hours of the gig, so wisely the organizers moved the sets up making it so the two opening acts would play shortened sets in hopes of beating any potential storms that could ruin what was to become a truly magical evening in the park.
Arriving shortly after 7pm NYC’s own, Vagabon, was already in the middle of their set playing to what was an admirable sized crowd despite the gently falling rain. The massive sound and gorgeous vocals shone bright as the mellow and damp audience respectfully watched on.
After a quick set-change, Julien Baker who’s wowed us on multiple occasions, grabbed her guitar and wasted no time showing the crowd why she’s regarded as one of the brightest young talents we have at the moment. Her soaring vocals and deft guitar playing left more than a few wet cheeks in the audience, and not because of the rain. Truly one of the best (rain-shortened) 30 minute sets we’ve heard in a while and cannot wait until she returns.
The moment that Courtney Barnett strapped on her red Fender Jaguar, the nearly-full park went nuts with applause and adoration. As a light drizzle fell, she began the set with “Hopefulessness,” “City Looks Pretty,” “Charity” and “Need a Little Time.” All of which are off the critically acclaimed 2018 LP, Tell Me How You Really Feel.
The 14 song set was heavy on the newest release, but also had many gems from Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit as well as 2013’s How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose EP. The rollicking “Pedestrian At Best” would end the show and the steady drizzle that fell throughout the night had no affect on the quality of the experience and left the park thinking I had just seen some of the most honest and beautiful few hours of music that was possible.
Article: Shayne Hanley