Gig Review: Courtney Barnett @ Twilight at Taronga

The venue opened and the crowd began to loiter in, walking through the maze that is Taronga Zoo , seeing elephants, birds and more, as they basked happily in the magic of nature. The supporting act, Jep and Dep, graced the stage with their captivatingly beautiful harmonies and folk ditties, deeming themselves as a pair to watch. They opened with their tune ‘Babe Come Down’ which runs in circles and flows repetitively, making it especially catchy to the average ear. The muted guitar and male versus female harmonies filled the tropical venue with velvety smooth frequencies. ‘Tears in the Rain’ was also packed with immediate potential, as the call and response tactics and Celtic vibes made for a unique, but familiar sound.

As Courtney Barnett and her band graced the stage with their nonchalant brilliance, not an eye in the crowd drifted away from the Twilight at Taronga stage. They started with her hit tune ‘Depreston’, which encouraged a sing-a-long from the diverse audience. Small children danced and stared wide-eyed draped in shirts from the merch stand, teenagers head-banged to the rock vibes as they leaned against the barricades, whilst others picnicked on the silky green grass; everyone seemingly enjoyed the stunning talent before them. Although there were a few difficulties with the speakers, which affected the sound, it did not affect the flawless projection of Barnett’s vocals.

She then transitioned into her tune ‘Pickles in the Jar’ with her usual witty charm and catchy collections of lyrics and riffs sung in her signature Australian drawl. She announced “This is a new song” before starting ‘Three Packs a Day’ in which possessed a more acoustic and joyful vibe, compared to her previous releases. The tune still owned her comical lyrics and clever connotations though. Although the song is relatively new, it did not stop the constant sing-a-longs and adoration. Barnett then brought things up a notch by playing ‘Elevator Operator’ as she transcended up in pitch before humbly explaining, “The speaker is broken, I am so sorry…did I just get you in the ear?” followed by a small smile. Her everyman storytelling then returned in her tune ‘Dead Fox’ where she repeats the catchy phrase, “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you” as the audience swayed around. “Isn’t this the most beautiful gig in the world?” she asked, before the crowd screamed eagerly.

She really looked like she was enjoying the show, playing away on her electric guitar, coming out closer to the audience, jumping off of the drum-kit and making slick guitar faces. She then played ‘Avant Gardener’ which was a huge hit with the crowd, and continued to mesmerise until she played her last song ‘Pedestrian at Best’. She managed to amp up the energy here, as she emotively screeched and jumped and smashed the audiences’ expectations “out of the ball park”. As she exited the stage, the cheers intensified, ensuring that she would come on for the encore with her hit ‘History Eraser’, which she did. Colourful, spotty lights lingered around the whole audience, gluing them together as one. .

“See you next time” she waved as she departed from the stage. The crowd was left anticipating the next time, but still hyped from the amazing night Courtney Barnett created.



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Images by Leila Maulen

Sara Tamim


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