I’ve been to some big shows in my time, but never one with truly as much hype behind it as tonight’s Forum show. It’s a Thursday evening and the crowd still stretches out the doors of The Forum, lagging way into the alley, creating a flood of flannel and sundry. To think that the last time she was back in her hometown (other than for Laneway), Courtney Barnett and co were playing The Corner, which while not an unimpressive feat, can’t hold a candle to selling out the largest of Melbourne’s mid–range venues three times over. In fact, if it weren’t so illegally demolished, I’d say the city’s drab darling would be playing a show or two at the Palace right now. This train of thought is interrupted by the doors slamming open, inhaling all the different coloured flannels one could imagine, all stood in one line.

To welcome the 26 year old to the faux open–skied Forum stage is a crowd of her peers and elders. It’s kind of funny to think about how Barnett’s current wunderkind status from the countless expressions of worthlessness that she has made, but I can’t linger too long on that because the first chords and blasts of drums that form ‘Elevator Operator’ have told me that shit is going down. First thing to note is just how much more intense everything is. Barnett sways and tears into her guitar at any moment that seems appropriate and a few that she makes appropriate. It’s for this reasoning the normally toned down ‘Avant Gardener’ finds itself twisted into a heavy beast of a track for the Forum, the drums sounding off like shots behind her. Her band of misfits backing her up are surely deserving of praise too, especially guitarist Bones Sloane who not only keeps pace with Barnett but at times seems to push forwards himself, bringing out the ferocity in both of them.

The eerie tale of ‘Kim’s Caravan’ rounds of the end side of the set, along with a cover of The Breeders that everyone seems excited about, but Barnett seems most happy to be it showing off. With this year’s Hottest 100 entrant ‘Pickles from The Jar’ and next year’s sure thing ‘Pedestrian At Best’ letting everyone get the last ounce of energy out of their systems, it’s incredible to see just how, in spite of everything a tiring show like this must do to you, Barnett is still onstage, grinning like a lunatic in between the shouts. Disappointing, this isn’t.

Cleatus Glob

FULL GALLERY HERE

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