Australian musician Courtney Barnett treated fans to an intimate, acoustic performance at Northampton’s own Iron Horse Music Hall on January 24th. The show had a relaxed playfulness to it, starting with Hachiku, the supporting act, instructing the crowd to all stomp one foot at the same time to startle Courtney in the greenroom below. Courtney continued the lightheartedness with clever banter between charming songs, as well as crowd work in the form of asking for requests only to continue the setlist as planned. Her performance was captivating and moving, only made more special by the entire room singing along, most notably during the end of Depreston, when the crowd sang louder than the amps. “If you’ve got a spare half of a million, you could knock it down and start rebuilding”.
If I can be personal for a moment, I think it says something about the value of a Courtney Barnett show in that on my two-hour drive to Iron Horse, I got into a decent car accident… and I still went to the gig. I was rear-ended on the highway, a little sore and shaken, but seemingly nothing serious. I made it to the venue just three minutes before Hachiku was to perform. Throughout the show, I felt progressive confusion and a worsening headache. I stayed for the show, tried to focus, and still sang along and cried with one of my favorite songwriters. After the show, I realized I needed to go to the ER, turns out the accident had given me a concussion. I don’t remember a lot about that day, but I remember how that show made me feel. It made me feel warm, enriched, captivated, nostalgic, lucky, and (other than the recent brain trauma) safe. Any performance with Courtney Barnett, whether it be solo, full band, festival stage, or small pub, is always incredibly special.”