Courtney Barnett at First Avenue – 4/27/2016


Courtney Barnett has been the darling of MPR’s the Current over the past year and a half, so it’s no surprise that she sold out First Avenue two consecutive nights in a row and probably could have managed a third. Her debut album “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” has been on many best of 2015 lists and critically acclaimed.

Starting out the evening was Bully, a 4 piece band with a Minnesota connection. First Avenue was 90% full them and Bully’s set was fast, raw and beautiful. Singer Alicia Bognanno and her band perfectly compliment Barnett.

Courtney Barnett’s stage set up is simple. She, her guitar, a bassist, drummer and graphics projected, but it works perfectly for her style. There’s no nonsense, no costumes or flashy movements. Her sometimes nonchalant delivery hides some very cleverly lyrics and force one to pay attention. The range of her songs to from lively, tongue in cheek to numbers that reach into your soul. She dedicated “Lance Jr.” to Prince. The first line of that song? “I masturbated to the songs you wrote.” I found her style much better suited to First Ave then when I saw her outdoors at Rock the Garden last year. Barnett is all that’s she is cracked up to be and I am looking forward to her future work.

Dead Fox / Scotty Says / Debbie Downer / David / An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York) / Out of the Woodwork / Small Poppies / Depreston / Lance Jr. / Elevator Operator / Are You Looking After Yourself? / Pedestrian at Best / Three Packs a Day / Kim’s Caravan / Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party Encore: Pickles From The Jar / Avant Gardener