Courtney Barnett [live review]

Courtney Barnett [live review]

Supports: Teeth & Tongue, The Finks
The Forum, Melbourne – May 16
Lead singer from Teeth & Tongue, Jess Cornelius, set the scene so perfectly when she said: “Where else can you see naked statues and listen to rock music?” as she looked around the hugely responsive crowd at The Forum in Melbourne.
It’s true that The Forum is one of the more unique venues in Melbourne, but really, would you expect anything less from the city? I don’t know what it is about that venue, but it seems to transport me back to the ’90s and what gigging must have been like (alas, I was a ’90s kid, but not a ’90s gigging kid).
I’ve long been aware of the sounds of Melbourne alt-pop outfit Teeth & Tongue, and I’m ashamed to admit – especially after their performance at The Forum – that I’ve had a love hate relationship with their music. It’s often hit and miss, with some tracks failing to grab my attention and others having it in full. Though with all the criticisms for their hard copy releases, there aren’t any in their live performance. Their whole set was engaging, with witty banter in between tracks, fluid dance moves from Jess and – what I love most – experimentation in stepping away from the exact sound of their recorded music.
The night turned out to be one of surprises as when Courtney Barnett took to the stage I’m sure I was left with my mouth slightly open in shock. I’d heard word that Courtney’s live performance was quite true to her music, in that it was her on stage talk-singing and strumming away at her guitar, those whispers couldn’t have been more wrong.
With the Courtney Barnetts giving her a fuller sound, Courtney completely rocked out – I honestly didn’t know she had it in her. There was screaming, guttural howling and much head banging to be had. She made her way through all the favourites – new and old, but mostly new – to a full crowd. ‘Depreston’, ‘Small Poppies’ and ‘Pedestrian at Best’ were of course on the set list. If anything that’s come from this gig, is that don’t always really on bands sounding the same as their releases. While I’ve realised this in the many gigs I’ve been to, none have proven it so abruptly as this one.
Reviewed by Amanda Sherring

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