Culture, Manchester, Music

Courtney Barnett @ Manchester Albert Hall review – an indie icon in the truest sense

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Courtney Barnett returns to one of her favourite venues – Manchester Albert Hall – to play a career spanning set of fan favourites as she tours songs from her recent album, Things Take Time, Take Time.

The Australian’s heralded lyricism has always offered an open chasm into the songwriter’s innermost thoughts as she rambles through meandering streams of consciousness. Although her most recent songs do maintain a commitment to this style, the new album seems to find more hope and optimism amongst its fair share of existential pondering.

Things Take Time, Take Time seems to be in direct opposition to the anger that’s felt from songs on its predecessor Tell Me How You Really Feel. The angst of ‘Hopefulessness’ and ‘Crippling Self Doubt and General Lack of Confidence’ make way for the healing mantras of ‘Write a List of Things to Look Forward To’ and ‘Take It Day By Day’.

‘Depreston’ proved to be a fan favourite for her Manchester fans who adorned the impromptu responsibility of a backing choir, singing along with such power to stun Courtney into a spine tingling silence at the end of the song. 

‘Nameless, Faceless’ and ‘Pedestrian At Best’ fed fuel to the few people in the audience who were up for a head bang as a dance off between two strangers played out across the famous Albert Hall balcony. Eyes were drawn to the pair throughout as their necessity for catharsis was satisfied in those brief moments. Before forcing a smile from Courtney, her and the band wound up the night with a return to the more civilised ‘Write a List of Things to Look Forward To’.

Gig goers are used to the ceremonial encore. The band says this is our last song. The band leaves the stage. Awkward silence. Band returns to stage and sings three more songs.

But Courtney Barnett fans are different. When the band left the stage, the fans played their part of the ceremony to perfection – foot banging and a slow clap building to a rapturous crescendo. Filling her with love she deserves for such an energetic show, during what seems to be a never ending tour, the audience was rewarded with a few more gems ending with the aptly named ‘Before You Gotta Go’

Courtney Barnett is a cult hero amongst her adoring fan base. She does things the right way. Releasing music from her own independent record label, Milk! Records, since the beginning, she has managed to cut through the noise of the money mad major labels and create something truly special. Propelling countless careers and making music to a consistently high grade, Courtney Barnett is an ‘indie icon’ in the truest sense.

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Eddie Toomer-McAlpine

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