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Courtney Barnett @ The Zoo, 11th October

Having attended a number of cramped, sold out performances at The Zoo, this gig looked to be no different. It was expected, as a show this long in the making was bound to draw a crowd.

Nevertheless, fans have crowded around the bar early to grab drinks while first support act Mosman Alder take the stage. Their charming brand of indie rock is a delight to the small band of enthused fans at the front of the stage, but the addition of a violin really allows their tunes, most of them appearing on their debut LP Humdrum Star, to flourish. Even with six members on The Zoo’s stage, they produce an expansive and lush sound. Comprising an assortment of soothing synths, strings and an almost earthly baritone from vocalist, Valdis Valodze, the ethereal stylings of Mosman Alder provide a positive start to the night’s proceedings.

After an extremely short break, capped off by more chanting at the bar, for what I can only assume is more alcohol, second support act D.D Dumbo strolls on stage and provides a terribly unique performance; Dumbo is literally a one man band. At the start of songs like Cortisone and Tropical Oceans, he fiddles with his guitar, lays down a simple drum beat, lets out a shrill backing vocal and loops it all. It’s interesting to watch as he creates an imaginary supporting band out of his own work, revealing a very funk and blues influenced sound .

When Courtney Barnett walks on stage and excitedly yells out to a passionate Brisbane crowd, it’s clear she’s got them in the palm of her hand. From set opener David to the more intimate numbers like Anonymous Club, Barnett thrashes around and produces a number of fuzzy, low-fi jams from her massively successful double EP A Sea Of Split Peas. Her stage presence is energetic and she constantly moves away from the microphone to shred with band members Dan Luscombe and Bones Sloane.

As expected, Barnett’s, now familiar, near-monotone drawl is accompanied by the bright and witty word play that saw her grab Australia’s attention. Returning for an encore, the solo performance of Depreston is possibly the best example of her unique talent for storytelling through music; turning everyday issues like having an asthma attack while weeding into enjoyable indie numbers.  Occasionally taking time between songs to engage with the multitudes of fans yelling ‘I love you!’ or remarking that drummer, Dave Mudie, ‘Looks great with his hair blowing in the wind’, the atmosphere is light-hearted, casual and an all around enjoyable experience.

With a display like this it’s no wonder that Barnett has gained such a following at home and abroad. Her comical and charming approach to music paints a wonderful picture and is proof of her rising star power. Catch her if you can!




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