Courtney Barnett College Street Music Hall, New Haven, Connecticut
I previously had only seen Courtney Barnett in a festival setting. Her exciting debut performance at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival, her return in 2018, and her most recent solo set and guest appearance with Dinosaur Jr. at this year’s festival were all phenomenal. I had high expectations going in. Could Courney Barnett deliver on a Tuesday night in New Haven, Connecticut?
A half dozen tall room lamps placed on stage and draped curtains used as a backdrop made for a homey atmosphere at College Street Music Hall. At 9 P.M the band started off their set and eased into her most recent hit “Rae Street.” Barnett’s deadpan singing style and fanciful meandering lyrics were prevalent from the start. It was indisputable the band was not mailing in this performance, fuzzy distorted guitar and piercing solos dominated the mix.
Barnett and bandmates Dave Mundie (drums) and Bones Sloane (bass), who were hidden in the shadows for the majority of the set, showcased selections off of Things Take Time, Take Time including “Sunfair Sundown,” “Here’s The Thing,” and “Write A List Of Things To Look Forward To.” There were plenty of old time favorites as well including “Avant Gardener,” “Nameless, Faceless,” the crowd sing-a-long of “Depreston,” and “Elevator” with its screeching guitar. Barnett’s set exhibited just how ample her catalog is. In ninety minutes she played twenty one selections bathed in warm red and blue lights while stepping on multiple guitar pedals to produce her trademark distorted fuzz.
The band concluded the night with “Splendour” and “Before You Gotta Go.” The lyrics of each song explore leaving someone behind, a fitting end to a perfect night. No matter if she is performing at a noteworthy festival or your local concert hall midweek, Courtney Barnett is a must see. Courtney Barnett’s US tour continues through September.
Rae Street, Sunfair Sundown, Avant Gardener, Need A Little Time, Nameless Faceless, Small Poppies, Turning Green, Depression, Walking On Eggshells, On Script (Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett cover), Here’s The Thing, Sunday Roast, An Illustration Of Loneliness (Sleepless In New York), Elevator Operator, If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight, History Eraser, Pedestrian At Best, Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party, Write A List Of Things To Look Forward To, Encore: Splendour, Before You Gotta Go