Courtney Barnett (Secret Gig)
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Courtney Barnett (Secret Gig)




Sometimes opportunities just fall in your lap and you realise it’s simply lifes way of giving you a hint that you should really be doing THAT tonight. So it was, when I received a last minute invitation to attend tonight’s hot ticket… the hush-hush secret world premiere showcase of Courtney Barnett’s hotly anticipated debut Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.

Courtney Barnett (Secret Gig)

Perhaps a ‘little’ overeager to arrive on time...at 6.45pm, I find myself well and truly ‘the first team to arrive’. The walls of 1000 Pound Bend are lined with a series of limited edition lithographs of chair illustrations – all themed Courtney Barnett creations – also a series of photographs – taken during the making of the album – gorgeously understated glimpses into the creative process. These works will accompany the band as they gig to Sydney and then across America and beyond. A nice touch.

Courtney Barnett (Secret Gig)

Barnett’s fellow stablemate on Milk Records, Fraser A Gorman and his band warm up tonight’s stage. Looking every bit like a young electric Bob Dylan, Fraser belts out a short but entertaining set, previewing tracks from his as yet unreleased debut album ‘Slow Gun’ (out in June on Milk Records.)

Courtney Barnett (Secret Gig)

Fraser's setlist consisted of: Book Of Love / My Old Man/ What I’m Feeling/ Shiny Gun/Never Gonna Hold You Like I Do/ Thunder On The Mountain (Bob Dylan cover)/ Broken Hand

He remarks how much he’s looking forward to sharing some serious miles in the car with Barnett over the coming weeks on this mini showcase tour.

Courtney Barnett (Secret Gig)

The main event, however, is of course Courtney Barnett. Tonight she and band are a threesome, with Drones’ guitarist Dan Luscombe (who guested on the album sessions) in the audience but notably absent on stage. No worries here though, Barnett does an admirable job of exerting her presence on her two left-handed guitars: a lovely white Jaguar and a trusty black Telecaster.

From the outset, Courtney’s charm is obvious. For my money, the potent combination of her stage persona and delivery puts her somewhere between a self-assured young Chrissie Hynde and the witty lyricism of Elvis Costello. Every track is generously peppered with little everyday observations – every detail is deftly distilled.

Witness the first track of the evening ‘Elevator Operator’.

Courtney Barnett - Elevator Operator @ 1000 £ Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


“Oliver Paul, twenty years old, thick head of hair worries he’s going bald. Wakes up at a quarter past nine, fair evades his way down the 96 tram line.”

The music is hooky and immediately hummable and with a double helping of astute storytelling, these songs will intrigue and entertain well beyond the use-by date.

She rattles through the album in track order, stopping only briefly to remark, ‘ this is fun ...but it’s weird…I’m not gonna lie…I’m nervous and excited at the same time…” and then later, “Dad says he likes ‘Pedestrian at Best’ but reckons it’s a bit too ‘yelly’... so umm...sorry Dad”.

She then breaks into what is to be my favourite song of the evening, “Dead Fox” featuring a brilliant lyric inspired by the visibility signs on Lindsay Fox trucks, with the catchy chorus “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you”.

Courtney Barnett - Dead Fox @ 1000 £ Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


It’s witty lyrics went something like this:

"Big business over-taking, without indicating, he passes on the right, been driving through the night to bring us the best price. If you can’t see me I can’t see you.”

Another memorable track of the evening is “Depreston”, a song already released and currently trending on social media. It’s essentially the story of Courtney house-hunting and seeing some potential in a deceased estate. The catchy hook: “If you’ve got a spare half a million, you could knock it down and start re-building” still had us singing it on the way back to the station to catch the last train home.

Courtney Barnett - Depreston @ 1000 Pound Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


Tonight’s showcase aptly demonstrates that Courtney is well into her own journey. Ever questing, ever exploring. In fact on ‘Small Poppies’ she sings almost autobiographically: “I don’t know quite who I am, oh but man I am trying. I make mistakes until I get it right.”

If Courtney keeps up the good work and keeps true to her muse, like she looks set to do, that spare half a million is sure to take care of itself.

Courtney Barnett (Secret Gig)

Courtney Barnett's hotly anticipated new album, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. It is due to drop worldwide on the 23rd of March 2015 and it is currently available for pre-order via iTunes and also on the Milk Records website in Australia and overseas on the Mom + Pop record label.

Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian At Best @ 1000 Pound Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


Courtney Barnett - Small Poppies @ 1000 £ Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


Courtney Barnett - Aqua Profunda! @ 1000 £ Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


Courtney Barnett - Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party @ 1000 £ Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


Courtney Barnett - Debbie Downer @ 1000 £ Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


Courtney Barnett - Boxing Day Blues @ 1000 £ Bend, Melbourne (10th Mar 2015) from Carbie Warbie on Vimeo.


Our complete photo gallery featuring Courtney Barnett's performance, as well as the support act Fraser A Gorman, is available here:
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