What do UNO and Courtney Barnett have in common? Had you won the competition run by Triple J, you would have been granted the opportunity to play UNO with CB3 before jumping into a sold out crowd at the Metro Theatre. Fortunately for the 1100-odd others who missed out, Courtney put on an amazing show that made us all forget about not being able to play that trivial card game with her (sorry to the professional UNO players out there!). Coming off her hotly anticipated first full length album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit which was released in March, Courtney started touring around Australia after a solid European tour.
Have you ever been real disappointed by an artist’s support acts? So much so, that it made you regret heading to the venue early? Thankfully for all the punters who took the chance, Food Court and Teeth & Tongue complimented Courtney in killer fashion, despite having significantly different styles. Food Court – a four man band from Sydney – nailed a Ramones-esque vibe. The gritty, vibrant tone of their 30 minute set reflected the nature of a lot of Courtney’s funner songs. Whereas in stark contrast, Teeth & Tongue managed to keep the crowd encapsulated with heartfelt and slower paced melodies. The talented 5 piece collective lightly dipped into the sadder side of Courtney’s album.
Accompanied by Dave Mudie & Bones Sloane, Courtney Barnett walked out for the first of two times to the front of the stage, completing the trio known as CB3. Starting their set with the first song off the Sometimes I Sit album, “Elevator Operator” is unarguably one of her catchier tunes. Despite a relatively slow start, with little to no crowd interaction, the band certainly started to pick it up after a couple of songs. Alongside backing vocals from Bones Sloane, some of the more devout fans joined in to “Depreston” – not only humming, but also singing in harmony wherever they knew the lyrics. Constantly swapping out between her left handed guitars throughout the night, Courtney and her co-stars rocked out, transferring their energy throughout the venue. Clearly successful, two hardcore fans front and center were headbanging all night to their heart’s content.
With lovely – often blunt lyrics, Courtney has humour wonderfully incorporated into her songs. During “Avant Gardener”, it was hard not to give off a little smirk as she sung ‘The paramedic thinks I’m clever cos I play guitar, I think she’s clever cos she stops people dying.’
Yet, when a mournful song like “Kim’s Caravan” rolls around, the sincerity and passion behind her lyricism has an incredible ability to subdue crowds. The supposed last song of the night was to be none other than “Pedestrian at Best”. Despite her music being something you’d naturally be a bit boppy to, the venue was ignited and there was no short of jumping in the moshpit.
But where was “Pickles From the Jar”? The song that just missed out on cracking the top 50 of Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2014 was sure to come. All it took was a chant of “one more song”. Following her solo cover of “Bein Around” by The Lemonheads, it was finally time. As we said Ooh, she said Ahh. After the pleasant sing along, Courtney ended with “I’ll Make You Happy (also a cover), a song that might have been more appropriate at the start of her performance as she most certainly stuck to her word.
Courtney Barnett’s introspective Australian references and idiosyncratic singing style is something to watch out for in the near future. If you haven’t been into her before, definitely give her album a listen and look out for her as she reaches stardom in the upcoming years.