Live Review: Courtney Barnett, Tiger Choir

26 April 2015 | 11:51 am | Chloe Mayne

Muso of the moment Courtney Barnett kicked off her national tour in endearingly effortless style in Hobart

More Courtney Barnett More Courtney Barnett

Homecoming royalty Courtney Barnett shredded up a storm in Hobart last night to kick off her hotly anticipated national tour. It was an impressive change of scenery for Barnett, who, beginning her musical trajectory playing covers in the bars of the small city's waterfront, played the Wrest Point Casino. It was a slightly odd setting, punters passing the stern eyes of the blackjack tables and roulette wheels as they filed into the venue, but once the lights dimmed and the music began the polished surroundings took on a more intimate, loungeroom feel.

Local supports Tiger Choir put on a stellar set of both old and new tracks. A longstanding crowd favourite, they let loose a signature string of alt-pop, synthesisers looping over themselves and building to warped crescendoes as the vocals warbled over the wooze.

Barnett's show was met with bated breath; it's the third time she's played her home island in about as many months, but this time around she had new record Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit in tow. The album brought a legion of new fans along with it, the crowd a refreshing mix of young and old faces, including Barnett's parents, who received a cascade of applause when greeted from the stage. Opening with Elevator Operator, the set began at a relatively gentle pace for the first three tracks. It was during Sleepless in New York (An Illustration of Loneliness) that the walls of guitar fuzz began to burst forth and build themselves. It's this simultaneous looseness and intensity that makes the band's live performances so engaging and impressive, taking the tongue-in-cheek lyricism and laid-back melodies from the record and inflating them with delicious garage spirit.

As the evening continued with a smattering of (now) well-known tracks like Dead Fox, the audience were both a blessing and a curse; despite their loud chatter, their enthusiasm was palpable. Numerous 'familiar' faces waved to catch Barnett's eye from beneath the blue glow, yelling out the streets of her old sharehouses and making song requests. Barnett was more than happy to banter, hitting back comments like a practised tennis player, ever-grinning as she launched in and out of the set. Pedestrian At Best was a clear highlight with its raucous fretboard acrobatics, pulling the crowd into a hair-flung throng as the room temperature continued to rise.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

The generous encore included a pair of covers; a solo rendition of Being Around by The Lemonheads and finally, after the return of her bandmates, the night wrapped up with The Easybeats' I'll Make You Happy. It was a fitting finish, the joy showing in the flushed cheeks of the punters as they emerged, sweaty and beaming, from the venue doors.