#52 Courtney Barnett, Powerstation

28 August 2018


Fortunately the Powerstation made the right choice to cancel a speaking engagement by two racist Canadians, so I didn't have to boycott the venue. Otherwise this writer would have been somewhere else on the night of the 52nd gig.

East Brunswick All Girls Choir open, a 4-piece band from Melbourne with a lot of screaming amidst a 90s shoe gazing sound that is very reminiscent of the Straitjacket Fits. But once you accept the screaming, there are some awesomely intense rhythms to appreciate, and which really carry songs about god only knows what. Bendigo was in there somewhere.

Like many of the performances I've been catching, I've only come to appreciate Courtney Barnett in the immediate build up to the show. Like pretty much last night and this evening.

She has a bit of a beat poet leaning with a thrashy rockabilly backdrop, an act that works a treat. Daughter was impressed enough on hearing her in the car to demand merchandise from the evening.


At the live experience, Barnett takes it up to a whole new level. She combines virtuoso guitar with vocals that run between singing and recitations and a healthy dose of I don't give a fuck, like a turbocharged Laura Marling. Avant Gardener, Charity, and I Don't Know Anything are freakin sublime. And if I'm honest, I'm only picking them out because I recognised the songs. It's a kickarse night from end to end.

The encore has two quieter songs with delicate finger picking, including a Gillian Welch and David Rawlins number. Then the show finishes with a raucous, triumphant Pedestrian at Best.

The evening was a superb way to end the 52 gig challenge. But while it's the end of the challenge, there's an addiction that's taken hold. That won't be ending any time soon.