Seattle’s Crystal Skulls opened for Courtney Barnett last night at the Casbah bringing harmonic melodies that, if they weren’t played so perfectly might be called ‘garage’ rock/pop.
Great guitar playing and catchy songs endeared them to the audience and paved the way for rock’s newest star, Courtney Barnett.
She brought her 3-piece band and a whole lot of energy. The Casbah was near capacity and were held rapt by Barnett and her band. They began to rock so hard with so much head banging that they could have easily been mistaken for a Swedish metal band, but their sound harkened back more towards an early Nirvana. Fans were singing along and even listening with attention, which is sometimes a rarity for the Casbah. When Courtney slowed it down and sang “Are You Looking After Yourself” you could almost have heard a pin drop. With only one album it was surprising to see so many new devotees to this Melbourne Australian singer/songwriter, but her songs are immediately catchy, poignant and funny. They remind me of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, or as one of her fans at the show mentioned the renowned Daniel Johnston. It probably also helps that she has been waxed on about in Rolling Stone and the New York Times. Her songs also translate great live, though with a lot of extra rock to boot.
Her set was short, but full-filling. She left “Avant Gardener” for last, and with NPR music stations keeping it in constant rotation, everyone sang along to the song about a girl who is having an emotional crisis so tries to take up gardening to mellow out, but ends up in an asthmatic fit headed to the hospital… Yeah it is a strange song idea, but it works, just trust me and the few hundred other people who formed the backing-choir last night at the Casbah.