Live Review: Courtney Barnett

20 August 2018 | 5:29 pm | Jennifer Sando

"The set was well thought out, and it became apparent that this was a feel-good gig for all ages."

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It was Adelaide's turn at Thebarton Theatre for Courtney Barnett's tour in support of new album Tell Me How You Really Feel. Dressed in a simple white tee, Barnett kicked off with the gradual rise of Hopefulessness as red lighting flooded the stage.

Giddy at the first hint of the punky guitar sound in City Looks Pretty, the crowd were warming up, but it was Charity that marked the beginning of their true investment. Heads were noticeably bobbing along as Barnett sang in a style reminiscent of a youthful, poppy Courtney Love on a good day. Avant Gardener served to remind us how Barnett breezed in from Melbourne (although she grew up in Sydney) and made her rightful mark on the music scene internationally.

The wallowing bluesy intro of Small Poppies had us at her mercy. This was a highlight musically, Barnett trying to tame the guitar as though it had a mind of its own. Her lyrical suggestion that if we had a spare half a million then we could rebuild, had us singing in unison, as well as feeling united, in her slightly upbeat version of Depreston. The cover of Houses by Elyse Weinberg suited her voice beautifully.

Barnett has a knack for effectively building up her songs in the show, which made it plain to see her evolution as a live musician. The set was well thought out, and it became apparent that this was a feel-good gig for all ages. It was difficult to take our eyes off Barnett. The powerful combination of her voice and sound, the clarity, and the way the band support her drew us in. The set ended with History Eraser and the encore began with the melodiously soothing Anonymous Club after everyone chanted for "one more song".

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The night came to a close with a cracking Pedestrian At Best, where we're told via her lyrics that if she's put on a pedestal then she'll only disappoint. But when Aretha Franklin's Respect played as we filed out of the auditorium, we knew the tribute ought to be two-fold; Courtney Barnett indeed does not disappoint and should join the ranks of women in music who deserve to be praised for years to come.