Melbourne based singer songwriter Courtney Barnett has fast become the latest “it” girl in the international music scene. The release of her debut album earlier this year, “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit,” has brought her recognition and high praise from critics and music lovers alike. And the best part is that this indie (Courtney is an indie artist in the true sense of the word as her album was released by local independent label Milk! Records) darling is deserving of all the kudos she gets.
Courtney has been riding one giant wave of positive reinforcement of late. An intellectual musician and lyricist; it’s cool to be her, it’s cool to know her, and it’s cool to like her. She’s a story teller, a female Paul Kelly if you will. And that is high praise indeed.
Courtney has spent the last few months on the tour train and only recently concluded the Australian leg of her tour before heading back to the United States for more shows. She played three magical sets at The Forum theatre in Melbourne this month and I, fortunately, was at one of them.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a bad show at The Forum. Aesthetic wise and other wise, it is an absolutely beautiful venue. Its architecture and design is stylish and classic and there is warmth and charm interwoven in every one of its heavily draped curtains.
The setting is just right for an introvert hiding behind an unruly mop of free flowing brown hair. Maybe Courtney is a little shy. Maybe she finds the staged indulgence of many rock and rollers to be a bit of wank. Maybe she just wants to play guitar and have her words heard. Don’t get me wrong, Courtney can shred, and she can lose herself in fuzzy solos and thumping reverb like all the other cool kids, but watching her do it is like watching her own personal daydream play out on stage. Courtney is so completely involved in what she has created that everything else, including the mass of people singing (or rather, musically talking) along to her every word, seems to be a bonus, an unintentional pleasant surprise that she has walked in on. And it’s this every girl quality that Courtney so completely encompasses that makes her all the more endearing and loveable.
Playing for longer than bands with more material than she has, the young lass entertained the sold out venue with her witty and playful social commentary on the nondescript and mundane facets of life in suburbia. A modern day poet filling every song with a complicated word order that can make you laugh one moment and thoughtfully ponder your own sense of social consciousness the next, Courtney Barnett’s talent is undeniably off beat and unique – the very best kind. Get on board.