On the 19th of November, Courtney Barnett graced the stage of the O2 Academy Birmingham for the UK leg of her ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ Tour. Barnett was joined by her band and supported by Laura Jean, a fellow Australian musician.
After a slightly shaky start, Laura Jean grew in confidence and created an audience-artist relationship. In her spoken interludes, she showed her charisma and authenticity as both a person and an artist. In her performance, she debuted songs from her newest album, ‘Devotion’, including the tracks ‘Girls on the TV’, ‘Press Play’ and ‘Northerly’. Playing the keys, the saxophone, using a beat pad and vocals, Jean reflected her versatility as an artist. As well as her support set, she also made an appearance during Courtney Barnett’s set, in their joint cover of ‘Streets of Your Town’ by The Go-Betweens, honouring their Australian roots.
The Grammy nominated artist, Courtney Barnett, took to the stage and began with ‘Hopefulessness’, the opening track of her latest album, ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’. Primarily playing tracks from her newest release, she performed a plethora of songs from across the course of her discography, including ‘Small Talk’ which was released in October of this year. The crowd instantly fell in love with her, and her showmanship was evident throughout her performance. Her lyrics and musical ability were clear, yet it was her stage presence that elevated her artistry.
Barnett’s encore, with a cover of Gillian Welch’s ‘Everything is Free’, followed by ‘Anonymous Club’ and closing with ‘Pedestrian at Best’, encapsulated the ethereal aura of her as an artist. Her performance transcended an average gig, and the lighting, slickness and professionalism created a sense of her being this generation’s Bob Dylan, whilst still firmly being Courtney Barnett in her own right.
Emma Sherry and Grace Lea