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Courtney Bartlett - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29/5/2014

  by Dastardly

published: 6 / 6 / 2014

Courtney Bartlett - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29/5/2014


At the Assembly Hall in Islington Dastardly is impressed by Melbourne-based singer-songwriter's Courtney Barnett's wit and stomping psychedelic pop

You can save $23 a week on coffee if you stay home and make your own instead of going to the local coffee shop in the Melbourne, Australia suburb of Preston. Or DePreston as it’s now known... This is the kind of information you’re likely to come away with from a Courtney Barnett gig. Courtney has arrived this year on the back of such seemingly irrelevant trivia - in particular the song ‘Avant Gardener’ has won her fans across the globe with its charming recount of a shared appreciation moment in the back of an ambulance between our narrator and a paramedic. This is the reason then that we’re here tonight in Islington’s ornate Assembly Hall, along with what looks like a sizeable chunk of the music biz, all curious to see what the new blood tastes like. The first thought is that Courtney and her 3-piece band sound a bit like a mid-60's influenced beat group complete with stomping r’n’b riffs, a black telecaster and a healthy dose of genetic AC/DC DNA. There’s obviously something going on down under...like Tame Impala, Courtney has got obvious reference points but while you can see glimpses of Bob, Kurt and even 'Devil Gate Drive'-era Suzi Quatro what you ultimately get is Courtney Barnett herself. Thankfully the spectre of management doesn’t seem to be hanging ominously in the background either...is it just me or whenever you see Ellie Goulding are the whole ‘team’ visible as well? Oh look, there’s her accountant Michael. Isn’t he nice? In contrast Courtney appears to be makeover free and aware of certain pitfalls - "Don’t put me on a pedestal," she repeats in a new song fired off towards the end of the set. Clearly she’s still coming to terms with the sheer number of people in front of her - especially when they want to chat. "Say hello," says someone. She obliges and does her best, but soon discovers the inherent problem involved in asking 450 people what they’re doing tomorrow. While 'Avant Gardener' might be the most complete pop song we hear tonight, it definitely isn’t alone so here’s hoping she doesn’t do an Avi Buffalo and disappear after delivering a solitary slice of psych pop perfection - 'What’s In It For?' - back in 2010. Somehow I reckon from the way she kicked her tele across the stage at the end of the set there’ll be plenty more useless information to pick up from Courtney in the future. Typical...I get home yesterday and the wife says, "Oh, there was something about Avi Buffalo back again on the radio." You wait for hours for a bus and then.. yada yada yada

Also at Islington Assembly Hall, London

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