Friday, 10 April 2015

And talking about bollocks......Courtney Barnett: Electric Ballroom, Camden - 10 Apr 2015


"Give us an anecdote", this guy next to me shouted as Courtney Barnett addressed the audience after her second song. Painfully shy, it seemed that her clever lyrics were in direct disproportion to what she had to say to the crowd. But then a strange thing happened. 

She visibly relaxed and started talking bollocks. Just anything that came into her head, and somehow it worked. And, somehow, it also improved the music. Courtney Barnett and her band became progressively intimate with the audience, at one point saying they loved us and at other times telling us to bugger off. 

And when she gets going and gets the confidence up, she's fantastic. So, to the lyrics. They remind me of early Elvis Costello, who sang: "The chairman of this boredom is a compliment collector. I'd like to be his funeral director." (Opportunity, 1979). Courtney: "I'm having an existential time crisis. Want bliss, daylight savings won't fix this mess. Under-worked and over-sexed, I must express my disinterest." (Pedestrian at Best, 2015) 

Very clever. And all supplemented with a great show....after about four songs. It was all uphill from there; and not an uphill struggle. At times, she was practically shouting and as the evening went on, this mingled with the bollocks chat to make it really special.  

Which is a shame, because the next time she comes over from Australia, she'll play a much bigger venue than this. The only advice I'd give Courtney, when she does start filling stadia, is to remember what made her so good tonight; that is, to bash out the songs, ignore the anecdotes and to keep talking bollocks.

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