Courtney Barnett stuns at The Forum

Simultaneously an underground fave and an untouchable staple in Melbourne’s music culture, Courtney Barnett is rivetingly cool. Barnett took her Things Take Time, Take Time tour to The Forum this past week, and I was lucky enough to immerse myself in what was an electric experience from start to finish.

In between Barnett’s striking guitar solos and an abundance of admiration for her band, I had my Notes app open to document the experience like a good journalist. This task proved somewhat impossible, because when you’re witnessing an artist as hypnotised in their craft as the crowd is, your mind can’t really be elsewhere but with them. Between the soothe of opener ‘Rae Street’ and the punky ‘Pedestrian at Best’, Courtney’s show left no room for preoccupation. Rhythmically bending over her guitar, her signature shag shaking with the vibrations in the air, she’s a performer that captured the crowd’s attention fully. The same enthralling energy went for opening act Alice Skye, whose soft-pop tunes perfectly balanced with the dreamy vibe of The Forum’s starry sky and unusual architecture. 

Barnett’s appreciation for Melbourne was transparent. She spoke of spotting familiar faces in the crowd and the happiness this gave her, as well as sharing an anecdote on fan fave ‘Depreston’, about how the home the song took inspiration from, was actually located in Coburg and she didn’t realise this till after writing the song. Of course the crowd erupted during this performance, Doc Martens stomping and mullets moving. 

Returning for a cheeky encore as artists do, Barnett and her band wrapped up the show with ‘Before You Gotta Go’, the mellow track easing the crowd into the night. Imagine this: Barnett’s raspy, talky vocals; smooth, sleepy guitar strings; and an audience of young people softly swaying, staring and staying still with pure appreciation. This type of connection, where the crowd go from outbursts of chants, to vigorous head bopping, to calmed stillness is a testament to Barnett’s hypnotising stage presence. You move with her. What a gig!

Article written by Savannah Selimi

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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