Sometimes I Stand and Stare
On Sunday night Courtney Barnett, Chastity Belt and Darren Hanlon put together one of the best shows I have seen in quite some time. The evening began with an acoustic set from Australian singer/songwriter Hanlon. Hanlon, who is apparently quite popular at home, was completely new to me. He had a soft simplicity and excellent turn of phrase to his songs that was captivating. It is no small feat to quiet a sold out room of folks as the first act. Through his stories and jokes, Hanlon managed to do just this.
After a quick set from Hanlon, Chastity Belt took the stage. I have been looking forward to seeing this band for quite some time. The all female, post-punk ensemble is touring in support of their 2015 record Time to Go Home. This record is a step forward sonically and lyrically for the group who have managed to keep their aggressively feminist playfulness without painting themselves into a thematic corner. The performance was excellent—but short. We would have liked to see them stretch their legs a bit more.
Finally, Courtney Barnett took the stage about about 11:30 and played a solid hour and a half of rock. This performance was a ways from the Barnett of The Double EP days. I would say that Barnett is reinventing herself as a rock star, but that would imply that this transformation had taken effort and was in progress. Barnett emerged on stage a full fledged rock star. The first comparison that came to mind was Joan Jett. Here before us was a supreme talent capable of taking complete hold of a room in a matter of moments. The joy that Barnett takes from performing is legible in her playing, her interactions with her bandmates and her conversations with the fans. For the most part the show focused on newer material from Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit with some key arrangements of early fan favorites. “History Eraser” and “Avant Gardener” sound particularly excellent with this current configuration of players. In terms of sheer power and artistic excellence this may be the best show that I have seen all year.
This weekend I’ll be up in Manchester, TN covering Bonnaroo. Keep an eye on this space for daily updates and pictures.
To Do This Week
Hit the road for Bonnaroo, festivities begin Thursday evening. If you are staying closer to home this weekend, check out Raw Oyster Cult at Jazz in the Park on Thursday. Also Morrissey will be at the Saenger that night. On Friday check out Twin Peaks at Gasa Gasa. Finally, on Monday be sure to see Sbtrkt at Republic.
To Listen This Week
BRAIDS released a new video for their song “Miniskirt” via Pitchfork.
Stream Hudson Mohawke’s new record via iTunes.
Bjork released a new video for “black lake.”
Finally, CoS released two tracks from Public Service Broadcasting recorded at SXSW. These videos give you a great opportunity to see how PSB assemble their tracks.