Courtney Barnett Concert Review

Courtney Barnett
July 18, 2018
The Truman - Kansas City, MO

Courtney Barnett at The Truman. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Courtney Barnett was born in the right generation. While many young music fans infatuated with nineties grunge wish they had been born a decade (or maybe two now) earlier to witness the genre at its peak, Barnett -- intentionally or not -- arrived on the scene nearly half a decade ago to push it forward. Her trademark wit and charming nonchalance aren't unlike those of the genre's earliest stars, but her songwriting is a different story. The Australian rocker's July show at The Truman proved that these things aren't lost on the kids.

Barnett began her 90 minute outing with a four song dive into her latest album, "Tell Me How You Really Feel." As the title suggests, Barnett's songwriting hasn't lost its scathing honesty. These breezier, more mature tracks quickly illustrated the fact that she's more than the hot guitar licks and rambling lyricism she became known for on her debut.

Vagabon. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
It didn't take too long for Barnett to kick things into full gear, though. Fans of her heavier tunes received the double-whammy they'd been hoping for with renditions of "Nameless, Faceless" and "I'm Not Your Mother, I'm Not Your Bitch." It's not hard to picture a clout-goggled Kurt Cobain smiling watching Barnett and her band jam these two, partially because Barnett gets a few key things about making loud rock music, one of which is keeping things simple whenever possible. While she's well capable of ripping a solo (as she demonstrated on "Avant Gardener"), the personality she plays with is far more crucial.

Many successful musicians that are still early on in their careers have a song that can leave fans devastated if it's not performed. While "Pedestrian At Best" is arguably her most popular and iconic number, the entirety of her show was engaging and exciting enough that she could've opted out of playing it. Luckily, though, Barnett decided to go out with a bang, ending the gig with those four minutes of scuzzed-out rock-n-roll bliss.

Laetitia Tamko is a Cameroon-born New Yorker and musician better known as Vagabon. Tamko's opening set made for an impressive showcase of her talents: a powerful, yet fluttery voice, thoughtful songwriting, and guitar, violin, and drum programming skills. Her songs' mixture of elegant pop music and meat-and-potatoes college rock also kept things interesting throughout her time on stage.

Full photo gallery here.

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