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Archive for the ‘Courtney Barnett’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 23, 2018] Courtney Barnett

S. and I saw Courtney Barnett back in May when her latest album Tell Me How You Really Feel just came out.  She did a few shows where she played the whole album in its entirety.  Our show sold out very quickly and I was lucky to get tickets.

This time around she played the larger Fillmore and did not sell out the venue.  Is it better to play a small club and sell out, or a larger one and not sell out?  I’m still not sure why this one didn’t.

So why would we go to see someone five months after we had just seen her?

Well, primarily because I thought that this show would be different–bigger, longer and a bit more fun. Not that the first wasn’t fun–it was.  But at that show, she had a mission to play that album and make us like it.  This time, we already had the album and we liked it, we just wanted to hear it again!

And man was this show terrific.

I assumed she would not play the album straight through again.  But I shouldn’t have been surprised that she opened with the first two songs.  The stage was bathed in red (terrible for pictures so I didn’t bother trying to get any).  However, I love watching her play guitar–her technique is so bizarre to me and yet it sounds wonderful.  It must hurt like the dickens.  You can see her playing with no pick very clearly in this clip from “City Looks Pretty.”  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 16, 2018] Kurt Vile & The Violators

I have seen Kurt Vile three times.  Once with Courtney Barnett on their Lotta Sea Lice tour.  Then when Jen Cloher played Philly and Courtney Barnett was on lead guitar, Kurt was in the audience.  I was surprised they didn’t pull him up to play.  Then when Courtney came back through Philly to tour her new album, Kurt came out for an encore.

But I wanted to see him play his own songs.  So I was happy when he announced a summer tour with The violators.

I arrived at White Eagle Hall fairly early (the last time Sarah and I went there, the line was really long), so I wound up rather close to the stage, which meant I was able to watch Kurt do his thing (and the sound was still good, too). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 16, 2018] Courtney Barnett

 I’ve enjoyed Courtney Barnett since I first heard her a few years ago.  I had also heard that her lives shows were fantastic and put her high on my list of artists to see.

So when she and Kurt Vile did a tour together Sarah and I were right there.

But that was a different thing altogether.  The Kurt and Courtney show was pretty laid back and folkie.  Whereas Courtney’s solo music tends to be loud and confrontational.

So when she set out to tour for her upcoming album (which came out two days after we saw her), I grabbed tickets right away (they sold out by the end of the day). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 16, 2018] Palehound

I saw Palehound three months ago at Johnny Brenda’s.  This may be the shortest span between concerts for any band that I’ve seen.

Last time they were opening for Weaves.  For this show Palehound was opening of Courtney Barnett.

I was very excited to see them again because I enjoyed their last set so much.

Guitarist/songwriter Ellen Kempner, is a great front woman–she blasts the guitar and is really great at her solos.

The set was similar to what they played last time, with a different slow song and no “My Pet Carrot.”  But it was full of raging rockers that got us pumped for Courtney. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 31, 2018] Jen Cloher

Sarah and I saw Jen Cloher open for Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.  But because of traffic and parking, we saw barely two songs by her.  Her set (like Barnett & Vile’s) was acoustic.  She announced that she would be playing at Johnny Brenda’s in January and that her set would be much more rocking.  She also teased out that Courtney would be playing lead guitar for her.  Those two details made me want to see the show.  And I’m really glad I went.

I hadn’t been to Johnny Brenda’s before.  I heard it was small and sight lines could be tough if you got there late.  This show was sold out but I must have gotten there early because I was almost right in front of the stage (I was behind a woman who basically took up three spots with how often she moved around).

After being pretty far from Courtney at the previous set I made sure to set up on her side of the stage.  And it was pretty electric when she came out to tune up he guitar.  I saw that Kurt Vile was hanging around off to the side of the stage too, although he didn’t come out or anything. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 31, 2018] Mia Dyson

I had never heard of Mia Dyson before this show.  She is a fellow Australian and old friend of Jen Cloher’s.  I arrived just after her set was underway (amazingly, this was my first time at Johnny Brenda’s, I haven’t quite sussed out parking there, yet).

Mia’s set was really enjoyable.  She has a kind of Bonnie Raitt/rootsy vibe.  As she was singing her songs and I was impressed with her vocal power, her guitar playing and the cool bass and drums parts these songs had.

I don’t really love roots music typically, but her set worked great live.  And the audience responded appropriately.  She even said that she had played Philly and never had a good show here, until this one. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: COURTNEY BARNETT AND KURT VILE-Tiny Desk Concert #682 (December 8, 2017).

Kurt and Courtney were the unexpected hit pairing of 2017.  Enough has been said about how they don’t exactly seem like they should fit but how well they do.

I’ve said that I wish the album rocked a bit harder, but really it’s live that this duo is terrific.  We saw them a few months back and it was a lot of fun.

But this Tiny Desk Concert is twice as fun because of how unserious they are.  As the blurb says:

Put your love of perfection outside the office door and come in for some office fun. This collaboration between Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile and Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett is more about newfound friends poking jabs, goofing around and having fun with words than reaching any new musical heights. It’s a much welcome injection of humor in the world of rock music and if you’ve heard their collaborative album Lotta Sea Lice, you’ll find this Tiny Desk performance musically even more casual. It’s akin to hearing friends play after a few afternoon beers, which is kind of what happened. (We actually had to page folks in the building hoping for some brew and were quite surprised at what the NPR staff had stashed in the fridge.)

They start with their hit “Over Everything.” It sounds great even if they are very casual about it.  There’s lot of laughing between them, and their harmonies sound fantastic.  After the song Kurt pops open a beer (clearly his second).

Courtney apologies for all the tuning they’ll have to do.  “Good thing I don’t have all 12 strings.”

I love the sentiments and melodies of “Continental Breakfast”

Then Bob says, “Thanks to everyone who donated beer to make this concert possible.”  Courtney: “Yea, that happened very quickly.  Everyone has one beer hidden in their desk here.”

Kurt takes off his denim jacket and says, “Don’t mind my muscle shirt–I was working out.”

Kurt and Courtney tend to bring out the adolescence in one another, inspiring Kurt to pick out a song he wrote when he was roughly fourteen called “Blue Cheese” about, well, I’m not sure. But lines like, “I didn’t mean to cough on her/Forgot to add the fabric softener,” just make me laugh; and in 2017, in a deeply serious political landscape, I find that quite refreshing.

They joke their way through “Blue Cheese,” as you must.  He plays a harmonica solo and admits, “that was terrible.”  When it’s over he says, “I wrote that song when I was 12.”

The final song “Let It Go,” has Courtney on lead while Kurt sings some nice high backing vocals.

The whole show is light-hearted and fun, but they never make a mockery of the music.  It’s just a casual good time.

[READ: November 1, 2017] Spinning

This is a memoir about competitive ice skating.  But it is much more than that.

Interestingly, I found the intensity of the ice skating competitions to be a perfectly satisfying and compelling story in and of itself.  So at first, when Walden began adding other things from her life, I wasn’t sure if these (rather important) aspects of her life could be shoehorned into a story about ice skating.

But it soon became apparent that the skating, which was such a big part of her life, was in fact, a rather small part of her life.

Of course, the fact that Walden is 21 and stopped skating when she was 18 shows just how big a part of her life the skating was. (more…)

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