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Courtney Barnett - The Fleece, Bristol - March 28 2015 (Live Review)

Monday, 30 March 2015 Written by Laura Johnson

Courtney Barnett’s name is one you won’t have been able to escape for the last month. But why would you want to? With her debut LP, ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit’, having reaped rave reviews, the accompanying tour is awash with sold out signs.

Accordingly, The Fleece in Bristol was packed shoulder to shoulder by the time Fraser A. Gorman, a member of Barnett’s Milk! Records label, ambled on to the stage. Cutting a Bob Dylan-esque figure with curly hair, double denim and acoustic guitar, Gorman trades in tongue-in-cheek acoustic numbers, including his new single Broken Hands and Book Of Love, which was preceded by an important life lesson. Going home with either a girl or a kebab? If you’re lucky enough to finish the night with both, that’s your girlfriend right there.

Spring King then tore through their set with the ferocity of a band clearly loving every moment of it. The Manchester four-piece quickly amped up the atmosphere with cuts from 'They're Coming After You', a new EP, and doubts surfaced about Barnett’s ability to match them.

But, the night was not about to descend into a pissing contest. That became evident as soon as Barnett took to the stage, greeted by rapturous applause. Flanked by a bassist and drummer in a stripped back trio, she quickly obliterated any expectations of a lo-fi sound.

Elevator Operator and Small Poppies were accompanied by the sort of room-filling fuzz that would have been at home in mid-’90s Seattle and it became abundantly clear that the set was not going to disappoint. Depreston and Pedestrian At Best were predictable, yet enjoyable, inclusions on the setlist, but veteran fans were also not left wanting.

History Eraser and Avant Gardener made welcome appearances as part of a fiercely brilliant, and sometimes beautifully understated, performance, one that appeared to go over the head of a crowd that failed to replicate the intensity of what was played out under the lights.

Courtney Barnett Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon March 30 2015 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Tue March 31 2015 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE University
Thu April 02 2015 - GLASGOW Art School
Fri April 03 2015 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Sat April 04 2015 - DUBLIN Whelans
Sun April 05 2015 - NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social Club
Tue April 07 2015 - CAMBRIDGE Junction 2
Wed April 08 2015 - NORWICH Waterfront
Thu April 09 2015 - LONDON Electric Ballroom
Fri April 10 2015 - LONDON Electric Ballroom

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