Photo by Sarah Greene
COURTNEY BARNETT at the Silver Dollar, Saturday, June 21. Rating: NNNN
On record, Melbourne's Courtney Barnett places a lot of emphasis on witty verbosity, but live, the "Courtney Barnetts" (as she called them last night) are all about the rock.
The trio played their ear-piercingly loud set - the second of a three-night residency at the Silver Dollar - not as two dudes backing a songwriter, but as a solid, ecstatic unit, reveling in the joy of feedback and groove. The band appeared to be having a lot of fun, judging by the bassist's huge smiles as he and Barnett swapped off vocals and when the three congregated during jams.
Barnett is just as articulate shredding into her leftie strat as she is with words, but even over the huge din her deadpan vocals provided a flurried rhythm for the songs - even when it was hard to make out words.
If some in the crowd seemed slightly surprised by the band's volume, it didn't hurt Barnett's reception: people were clearly charmed.
The Courtney Barnetts closed their set with a trippy and heavy rendition of History Eraser, which culminated in a head-banging guitar freakout care of Barnett.