… And out of nowhere, Courtney Barnett became an icon.
Having already sold out Nottingham’s more intimate Bodega, Aussie born Barnett has gone one step further and packed out the Rescue Rooms. This is a feat which most musicians struggle to do with a few albums under their belt, yet this show comes just one week after the release of Barnett’s widely acclaimed debut record Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. Although her blend of slackerpop and poetry may seem like quite a niche market for crowds to get into, with the rise in popularity of acts like Sleaford Mods and Nai Harvest, Barnett sits perfectly inbetween the two.
With a giant sheet looming over the stage, tonight Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms feels more like the setting of an over the top blanket fort rather than a gig. The projections cast onto the sheet add a lot more depth and atmosphere to Barnett’s songs.
Opening up with ‘Elevator Operator’, Barnett demonstrates how she seamlessly fuses a broad range of genres together. Opening up with a blues riff, there’s elements of garage and grunge with a nod to acts such as Pavement in her apathetic delivery.
‘Small Poppies’ is where we see Barnett’s band hit their peaks, trading off small solos making this awkward trio sound monolithic. The slow burning slacker-pop anthem hits its stride when Courtney loses herself, captivated with the music, and rips into a solo which pierces through the speakers.
Future festival anthem ‘Depreston’ is one of the bigger highlights of the night, with Barnett’s lyrics putting a picturesque twist on the mundanity of a deadbeat town, probably not one the Australian tourism board agree with. As the song saunters along to it’s final refrain, the captivated audience echo her sentiment back to her as they sing along intently.
As the audience begin to peter off to the bar for more Bank Holiday drinks, Barnett pulls out the secret weapon of her set. Sandwiched directly next to each other, the band deliver ‘History Eraser’, ‘Avant Gardener’ and ‘Pedestrian At Best’ in one of the most aggressive moments of the night. The self-deprecating ‘Pedestrian At Best’ manages to get a lot of the crowd moving directly towards the front.
The unstoppable rise of Courtney Barnett is a runaway freight train which has become nigh on impossible to stop. From here, the only way is up for Barnett and with festival season approaching, it’s clear that maybe we’ll see her more and more in the coming months.