Courtney Barnett and Alex G at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO on 11/8/16

On Tuesday, the sold out crowd wanted to escape the election. They wanted to brake away from a divided nation. And most importantly, they wanted to avoid watching someone named Wolf Blitzer point to a map.  Music fans were there to witness one of the most original voices in the last few years.  You know that singer that won Best New Artist for that song All About the Bass.  Well, Courtney Barnett is the Australian Indie Rocker who lost to her (Meghan Trainor) at this year’s Grammy Awards.

All Photos by the Rock and Roll Princess

Courtney Barnett is a mixture of stream-of-conscious beat poet and grunge musician.  She incorporates subjects like road kill, purchasing suburban real estate, and avoiding parties in her insightful clever lyrics.  Oh, and she can rock (Barnett is from the same country as AC/DC after all).

A screen flashing her name built anticipation to the hipster crowd. That’s when bass player Andrew Bones and drummer Dave Mudie took the stage appearing like they just rolled out of bed.  Courtney Barnett followed looking like Leather Tuscadero joined Nirvana (that’s right. I just referenced Happy Days). She performed almost every song from her debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.

Courtney Barnett

The backing screen displayed striking images tailored for every song.  During Dead Fox an animated homicidal fox drove his car hitting several other cartoon characters on a bloody highway. During Pedestrian At Best, clowns crossed the screen while Barnett sang, “I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny.”  This incited the restless crowd to mosh. One of the body-slammers started to climb the stage.  Before getting too close to Barnett, he was pulled down by a rather burly fan that didn’t want the headliner to be tackled.  Apparently security was to busy watching election returns to care.

During Depreston, Courtney Barnett described house hunting with her girlfriend.  The screen displayed an animated car driving through a suburban neighborhood.  The crowd sang along to the lyrics, “If you got a spare half a million, you can knock it down and start rebuilding.”  The irony of the song was not lost to the crowd that knows Denver’s obscene housing market.

Courtney Barnett “Drunk on
Election Night”

Barnett switched to an acoustic guitar to perform Dan Kelly’s Drunk on Election Night inspiring the crowd to sing along.  The explicit lyrics made me blush, but Barnett’s charm was never stronger.   Barnett admitting to the audience that she was sober, but hoped the audience was liquored up.

She ended with Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party.  The audience jumped up and down chanting, “I want to go out, but I want to stay home.”  After waving good-bye to the audience, the band left the stage.  The house music slowly faded up to R.E.M.’s It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).  I realized that the majority of the audience wasn’t born yet when that song was released twenty-nine years ago (And I Feel Old).

Alex G

Standing in line before the show, I noticed a shifty fella dash out from a 7-Eleven and run into the theatre with a stained leaky bag full of food. When the opening band emerged on stage, it turns out that dude was Alex Giannascoli who performs under the pseudonym Alex G.  In the last two year, the Pennsylvania native went from recording demo songs in his bedroom to playing on Frank Ocean’s recent album. With a belly full of convenience store cuisine, his band played low-fi songs that could be compare to Elliot Smith.  The music was a suitable match to Barnett’s grunge trio.  Waddling like a duck to the rhythm, Giannascoli captured the audience attention with his sparse guitar sound.  The experimental noise songs were … interesting.

See you at the next show.  I will be the one wondering what ever happened to the Leatherettes (that’s right, another Happy Days reference).

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