Tash Sultana: “But you keep on rolling, Like a rolling stone… And you fight until the finish line, Carries you home” – Live at the Fillmore in SF (Oct 21, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

My heart begins to race as I recall the night that Tash Sultana put San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore under a spell. This gorgeous, gifted goddess — standing just 5 feet tall (my size!) — had everyone’s jaw on the floor as she flawlessly looped her hauntingly beautiful vocals with a menagerie of instruments (guitar, mandolin, keys, percussion, trumpet, pan flute, etc.) with swift execution. I caught myself grabbing my head several times (hoping it wouldn’t explode), asking myself, “HOW IN THE HELL?…” Tash first wrapped her hands around a guitar at the age of 3 years old, and I can only imagine that she clung to it for safety as others would their blankie. It’s apparent from her live performances that she plays music not just out of love, but out of necessity.  She grips her guitar like she is gripping for dear life, and watching her slay her inner demons (she mentioned struggling with mental illness) one instrument at a time (I counted at least 10) was one of the most touching, euphoric musical experiences… Pure joy for one of the most pure, self taught music makers of our generation. She’s a comet of positivity that’s set on a trajectory to change the world for the better. 😀
I first stumbled upon Tash on my Facebook feed about a year ago, only to find out later she used busk on Bourke Street in Melbourne around the same time(Winter/Spring 2015) that I lived there. In fact, my friend Megan said that she was lured out of H&M by Tash’s spine-tingling vocals, and was in a deadlock watching her magic manifest on the streets. The song that reeled her in was ‘Harvest Love,’ a track that Tash described as one “for anyone who’s having a hard time at the moment… keep on rolling.” It was therefore pretty heart-wrenching to learn later, when Megan and I saw Tash together at the Swedish American Hall back in February, that it was written about a good friend who she had recently lost: “We came to the states a while back, but I had to turn around and come back home because we lost someone very important to us a couple days later, and it kind just taught me this thing about impermanence, and how everything in your life is actually impermanent; and it’s kinda like, you know, there are two things in your like that are inevitable: you are born, and then you die… In between that gap of life and death, wherever it’s gonna take you, it’s gonna take you, and at the end of the day at some point, there is a space that you get to fill with the best vibes that you possibly can feel… We come in peace. We just ask everybody to love the FUCK out of everybody… This song goes out to anyone that has lost anyone recently. It’s called Harvest Love.” Megan and I looked at each other with tears welling up in our eyes, and we knew this one would never leave our hearts. You could tell that the intense reach of this song comes from a place of intense pain, and Tash does not hold back as she wails the first verse:

“Harvest your love, harvest your love, for me
I’ll lay it down, I’ll lay it down, slowly
Put your love in the sand
As it makes no demands
I believe
But you keep on rolling
Like a rolling stone
And you fight until the finish line
Carries you home”

(I want to purchase ‘Harvest Love‘ but can’t find it anywhere online!)

What impresses me most is Tash’s ability to turn pain into beauty, and I was shocked to learn that both chart-topping hits ‘Jungle‘ and ‘Notion‘ were a “product of heartbreak.”Jungle‘ is the song that moved her bedroom recordings into SOLD OUT VENUES ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE – a true masterpiece from start to finish. It’s as if Tash uses music as a shield again negative thoughts (depression) and negative influences (drug addiction), and is excited for others to embrace this same musical armour. In fact, she gave a nod to her US audiences who are used to “growing up in such an awesome music culture that you go because you LOVE IT, whereas back at home in Australia, everyone just wants to get fucked up all the time.” I was really touched to learn that Tash has became a mental health ambassador for Australia’s BeyondBlue, an organization that provides information and support on mental health.

I still recall being lathered in chills when I read this post on her wall back in January: “Social reminder to anyone who is feeling the heat or wants to give up. DON’T. Every time you take a step up within yourself, you take a step up within the world. In the music world or any creative path is a sensitive path to tread. Some people are going to fall in love with what you do, some people aren’t going to get it and other people are just going to be literally complete ASSHOLES. So when you come across those assholes, which you will there is a new emoji that you can use which is this🖕and just remind yourself that you were in a perfectly happy mood before you knew they existed, so forget they do because they’re just a bunch of cunts. Put your head on your shoulders and kick some absolute fucking ass.  Tune it up to 11, shove it in their face and down their throats And DO NOT stop creating. Oh and also don’t forget to tell them to get fucked. Keep on going. The ones the matter are the ones who show love.” That last line hit me like a brick wall, and it’s simple but profound message will remain with me forever.
Tash kicked off her set at the Fillmore with some serious smoke (‘Big Smoke‘) and has some house rules to lay down before SETTING US ALL ABLAZE:
“This is to be followed or you can please GET THE F*CK OUT OF HERE…< span style=”color: #3366ff”>1) If you are racist, get the fuck out 2) If you are homophobic, get the fuck out3) If you are transphobic, GET THE FUCK OUT. < span style=”color: #3366ff”>Cause the world can be a bit of a harsh place but I’m trying to leave it in a nice scenario… Sweeet, just don’t be a dickhead and we’re all in sweet.”  ❤
HELL YES. I’m glad there were no dickheads that night. I wish more musicians were as outspoken as she is.

After ‘Big Smoke‘ came ‘Gemini‘ (sick percussion), ‘Notion‘ (SLAYED), ‘Murder to the Mind‘ (during which she whips out the trumpet and tantalizes us with tender toots!), ‘Synergy‘ (after she jams out furiously on mandolin and BEAT-BOXES A PAN FLUTE), a song (untitled video below) with a hauntingly beautiful keyboard intro that sounds like a symphony of strings (really wish I knew the name of it!), and ‘Jungle‘ (MASSIVE DANCE PARTY – duh!). THEN, as if Tash could not freaking BLOW MINDS EVEN MORE, she TAKES A SEAT for an experience that I simply cannot put into words. It just won’t do justice. Tash first graces the strings with one hand, getting us in the groove with melodic medleys that remind me of a cross between flamenco and post-rock. But just as we start getting in the groove, Tash switches it up and starts attacking the strings with the ferocity of a lion, smiling as she does so. It’s as if she enjoys the thrill of getting us going one way and then redirecting us to see if we are still on our toes (like what I used enjoy doing with my opponents in soccer, haha). She’s got extraordinary ease with her audience that can be attributed to years of hailing crowds on a busy streets and winning the hearts of strangers. This wicked 14 min guitar solo (titled ‘Blackbird‘) exemplifies the extensive breadth of her musical abilities and the eclectic influences that shape her unique, one-in-a-million kind of sound. Tash Sultana is not only a make of music, she is a maker of magic. I don’t know anyone who is not put under her spell. I’m just so glad the world has recognized this too; Not only has she racked up SOLD OUT TOURS in US, Europe, and Australian (and soon South America), but she has recieved multiple music nominations, including Triple J’s hottest artist of the year and ARIA’s (1) Best Independent Release (Notion), (2) Breakthrough Artist, (3) Best Blues & Roots Album (Notion), and (4) Best Australian Live Act. I’ve “GOT THIS NOTION” that Tash Sultana is going to change the world with her music. Well, let’s face it – she pretty much already has. ❤

*Check out my review for her opener, The Pierce Brothers. Glad to have discovered them!

And more from Tash’s performance at Swedish American music hall back in February!

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tps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RVkFmyboCw

This show was one of my top 10 for 2017, alongside War On Drugs and many others.  Other reviews can be found here: She Keeps Bees, Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Pierce Brothers, Silversun Pickups, Minus the Bear, and Public Service Broadcasting.< /span>< strong>Previous Playlists: Capsized, Creature Comfort, I Know You Know, Feeling Electric, Wake Up, Oceans Away, I Want it All, Standing Rock, Jungle, When Things Fall Apart, and more…<<
heck out more videos on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreozFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse

Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy
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Pierce Brothers: “Just keep in mind, I’ll be there for you, You’ll be next to my heart” – The Fillmore in SF (Oct 21, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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STILL AMPED UP after the INSANELY AWESOME, INCREDIBLY INFECTIOUS performance by The Pierce Brothers opening for Tash Sultana at The Fillmore. These awesome Aussie twins (Jack and Pat) have been kicking up dust all over the world, wowing people with their high octane energy and pure joy for their craft. I was mad impressed by their unique DIY setup and their ingenious blend of dugeridoo, percussion (bongos/cans), tambourine, harmonica, and guitar, and at one point Jack even started tapping the stage equipment (light scaffolds) right in front of me to create new sounds. I couldn’t believe he was playing tambourine with his foot while banging on percussion and blowing into his dugeridoo. That’s some crazy coordination! But what impressed me the most was ability for Jack and Pat to deliver a boot-stomping, heart-throbbing, head-bopping performance despite their equipment breaking on stage. Their “one shot is all I got” attitude was greatly appreciated by everyone watching. I also really appreciated the message that Jack delivered before playing the song ‘Genevieve‘ that they wrote for their sister suffering from cancer: “There’s always love and support if you reach out, and that’s what we’re going to do right now.” I will DEFINITELY be seeing them again when they return to SF, and when they do, I  will have to bring sturdier boots! My heal actually broke off during their set! ❤

 

*Check out more videos on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

 

 

Ben Abraham – “You’re hiding like a memory… Calling to the weakness in my soul”: The Independent (May 19, 2016)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I am very surprised that I never stumbled upon Ben Abraham when I was living in Melbourne last year (Jan – May), as I would have surely stopped in my tracks if I heard ‘Speak‘ as I passed by the usual buskers on Melbourne’s famous Bourke Street (wonder if he ever busked there). Speak is surely one of the standout tracks (in my opinion) on his debut album, Sirens (Secret Canadian).

A son of two Indonesian rockstars (both parents in a successful 70’s pop group called Pahama), Ben had music in his blood, and his relentless urge to “SPEAK” would eventually manifest into a musical masterpiece that would speak to more than Melbourne. “I never wanted to be a musician… I always wanted to be a filmmaker, and although I never quite made it down that path, that desire I had to tell stories still came with me,” Ben said to the crowd that night at The Independent as the opening act for the fantastic Damien Jurado (see review here). Ben’s desire to tell stories soon became a regular routine at his day job entertaining children in hospitals in Melbourne; Eight years later, he honed this craft into the beautiful album (Sirens) that has been sending SIRENS across international boundaries (esp. the UK, US and Canada). This album was recorded with a rotating cast of friends and collaborators including Gotye and Tim Shiel, as well as longtime friend Sara Bareilles (‘This is on Me‘).

Previously having played at Holwer in Melbourne (where I last saw Harrison Storm and Daniel Champagne) and the Servants Jazz Quarters in London (where I last saw Samantha Crain, Ben was eager to announce that tonight was his “first time in San Fran, and actually the first ever tour in the states.” Sporting a right red Hawaiian shirt and big grin, Ben (who usually is “not a fan of doing covers”), was all amped up and feeling “beachy enough” to cover what he thinks is “one of the greatest songs ever written,”Hyper Ballad‘ by Bjork. (He should definitely apply to play Iceland Airwaves… it was one of my favorite festivals of all time!)

 

As if that didn’t raise enough hairs on our arms, he followed with a gorgeous track called  ‘Home‘, and then with the epic encore of ‘Speak.’ Speak is a gorgeous song that just builds and builds with awesome anticipation, and by the end you might find yourself wiping tears off your face. The honest, timid lyrics about ‘wanting to communicate with others but somehow being pushed away’ is definitely a shared struggle most of us face, especially with the recent explosion of social media, and I hope we can all take Ben’s song as a call to humanity for deeper human connection. If the emotive, echoing effects of his vocals in the mic towards the end don’t “SPEAK” to you, then I’m not sure what will. Be sure to grab a copy of the album!

Too Much (playlist: May 2, 2015)

Too Much

(compiled May 2, 2015)

 EXTREMELY LONG OVERDUE PLAYLIST inspired by new albums from Alabama Shakes​, Geographer​, courtney barnett​, Father John Misty​, and Laura Marling ​. All of these artists I’ve been lucky enough to see at least twice in my lifetime EXCEPT for Father John Misty, who I need to thank Marissa Andreozzi​ and Sylvia Garcia Borgo​ for getting me hooked on him (hot damn). Alabama Shakes and Geographer were two bands who I could not get ENOUGH OF during their 2012 album tours, and I was so stoked to see that they released new albums around the same time this year. Courtney was another artist I was lucky enough to see her during the early touring circuit of her debut double EP, and I’m EVEN LUCKIER to get to SEE HER PLAY in her HOMETOWN OF MELBOURNE in two weeks. Unfortunately I left London JUST AS Laura Marling was moving back from her 2 year hiatus in Southern California (LOVE HER). At least I got to hear the inside scoop of her recent London show from my buddy Steve Paul​. This playlist was also inspired by an INCREDIBLE GROVE down MEMORY LANE with a Jurassic 5​ show in Melbourne last month after not seeing them in 10 years (…man do they STILL GOT IT!). It also includes new songs from one of my favorite discoveries of 2015, Zach Winters (such lovely, calming music). Other new discoveries includes Mansionair, Passenger​, Fleurie​ (reminds me a bit of Daughter​), WAVE & ROME​, Josh Garrels​, and Twerps​ (who I’m seeing tonight at their album launch gig in Melbourne) . Last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, it includes one of my FAVORITE COVERS of Bon Iver​’s ‘Heavenly Father‘ by one of my FAVORITE BANDS of 2014, Highasakite​. If you have not yet listened to the NUMBINGLY BEAUTIFUL debut album of this Norwegian band, you MUST. They are ACE, and turns they were recently announced to go on tour with Of Monsters and Men​ . I love singing along to this ‘Heavenly Father’ cover, as Ingrid’s voice is one that strikes me with a distinctively comfortable resonance. I chose Geographer‘s ‘Too Much‘ as the playlist title track because I had very much missed Mike’s distinct voice and Nate’s haunting cello ever since I first saw them back in Feb 2012 with Cori Freeland​ and Kevin Ramos​, and had waited nearly 3 years for their music revival. Thankfully I was able to get key updates and incredible pictures from Paige Parsons​ (of Paige K. Parsons Photography​) who has photographed them for a review piece in The Bay Bridged​. ‘Too Much‘ also reflects the fact that “days will take their toll if you let them,” and that wrapping up my last month in Melbourne  (so much to do still!) really has been “just too much to bear.” I guess that I ‘Need’ to have ‘Patience‘ so that ‘I’m Ready‘ for this next life chapter. ❤

**

You can download all of the songs on the playlist from box.com account if you CLICK HERE:

https://app.box.com/s/wfsrfeetg6yqi9ly1x54blxkauapl7me

(…and you should put it in the order of the actual playlist if you have time…there definitely is an intentional flow to it!)

Here’s a link to the Spotify playlist (note that there are missing songs b/c of access):
spotify:user:1217781739:playlist:5Xp4ujjzPmpOMCKGMhVhBI

**

I’m Ready- Geographer

Back 4 U- Jurassic 5

Heavenly Father – Highasakite

Don’t Wanna Fight- Alabama Shakes

Elevator Operator- Courtney Barnett

Hold Me Down- Mansionair

Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)- Father John Misty

The Grass after Winter (from They Were Longing…)- Zach Winters

Across The Map- Wave & Rome

Short Movie- Laura Marling

Too Much- Geographer

Gotta Understand- Jurassic 5

Holy Shit- Father John Misty

Pedestrian At Best- Courtney Barnett

Second Night- Mansionair

All the Lines- Fleurie

Give Me Peace and Rest (from They Were Longing…)- Zach Winters

I Don’t Mind- Twerps

Dead Fox- Courtney Barnett

Need- Geographer

Walk Alone- Laura Marling

The Ideal Husband- Father John Misty

While You’re Making Other Plans (from They Were Longing…)- Zach Winters

Born Again- Josh Garrels

Gimme All Your Love- Alabama Shakes

Coins In A Fountain- Passenger

Depreston- Courtney Barnett

Patience- Geographer

Morning Light – Josh Garrels

Daniel Champagne: “When I told you I, was afraid to fall…really I, was afraid to fly…at all”

Daniel Champagne– The ESPY in St. Kilda, Melbourne

(May 14, 2012)

Meet Daniel Champagne, an incredible Aussie musician who I discovered just over 2 years ago at the ESPY in Melbourne, Australia. I am still blown away by his talent, and his desire to push the limits with guitar. His manic percussive skills and unique strumming/tapping/flicking of the guitar remind me a bit of Andy McKee and Gabriela (of Rodrigo y Gabriela), both of whom are highly-reputed and globally-recognized for their unique, progressive style and whom have defined a category ALL THEIR OWN. If you were listening to Dan’s music from the back of a room, you would think there was a FULL BAND on stage and would later be SHOCKED to find out it was only ONE MAN. Lastfm has described him “one of the most talked-about rising star of Australia’s next generation,” who “delivers one of the most impressive one-man-shows out there! Reaching to musical depth’s far beyond his years and a way with the guitar that can only be seen to be believed. Champagne often sounds closer to a three-piece band than the 21 year old singer songwriter guitarist now established as a renowned performer on both the Australian and international stage.” Along similar lines, music gurus at Byron Bluesfest 2014 have said, “Daniel Champagne exudes a natural ease on stage, as he sings poignant lyrics and beautifully crafted melodies that invariably whisk the heart up with grand romanticism. Coupled with an exhilarating guitar talent that transcends mere acoustic playing to replicate a whole band, Champagne is just magical.”

It also doesn’t hurt that this guitar prodigy (who yes, picked up this instrument at the age of 5), also has a  dreamy voice. Of the songs that I was lucky enough to get great videos of (see below), Nightingale and Losing Home are my favorites…(although Spoonful will definitely made your JAW DROP and KEEP IT THERE.) Nightingale begins with an incredibly beautiful guitar melody, and soon follows with a verse that immediately wraps your skin in chills:

“When I told you I was afraid to fall, really I, was afraid to fly…
When I told you I was afraid to fall, really I, was afraid to fly…AT ALL….”

Such a lovely song that really captures the notion of having to risk in order to reap rewards…having to “fall” in order to “fly.” Lyrics like this are such a good reminder that one should never lose hope in chasing those dreams, keeping those wings in flight. That idea reminds me of something someone once told me (and has stayed with me ever since): “Erica, you’re kinda like one of those birds that was “never meant to be caged”- Somehow, you’d make the cage take flight.”  YAAAS. Maybe I’m a “nightingale” in disguise. Haha.

Lose Home was another one that really raised the hair on my skin…another “dreamy song” (yes, you can hear me say this in the video) about the concept of losing “home” when you are living the nomadic lifestyle of a person chasing their dreams/goals: “Now we’re bound to roam…losing light, losing love, losing home.” Having gone to tons of gigs in these past 2 years, I’ve come to notice that SO MANY artists write songs about this vague notion of “home,” a place which probably becomes less and less linked to one specific geographical region and  instead extends to all the new places they’ve traveled and left their mark. All of the travel that comes along with touring has probably affected musicians in many ways– their dreams, judgements, priorities, values, sacrifices–and has molded their vision of what “home” should be. Dan got it right when he says that more more you “roam,” the more you likely you are to “lose home.” BUT, I think everyone ultimately figures it (“home”) out in time. x

Next up in the set was I Grew Up Where I Could See the Stars, which Dan attributes to the New South Wales region where he is from, and possibly will be “home’ again one day. Another beaut that seems to just make all of those trouble melt away…

Dan’s encore was Spoonful, a very technical guitar song that really SHOWED OFF his impressive, jaw-dropping guitar skills that “no one else could possibly play unless they spent at least two lifetimes studying the art” (The BW Review). I remember  laughing deliriously because I was in such a stuper from it all, and couldn’t believe that I was watching a prodigy FOR FREE when I have paid substantial money to see musicians not nearly HALF AS GOOD. I clearly wanted more than just a “Spoonful” of this! x

Since that surprise treat of a gig two years back in Melbourne, Dan has done very well for himself. He’s traveled North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand and of course, his homeland Australia playing such festivals as Vancouver and Mariposa Folk (Canada), Belgium’s Labadoux Festival and Australia’s Woodford, Falls Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival and the legendary Byron Bay Bluesfest. During these tours, he’s shared stages with likes of Lucinda Williams, Judy Collins, INXS, John Butler, KT Tunstall and Ani DiFranco (who he supported), and has also independently released three EPs (‘My Own Design,’ ‘Wide Eyed and Open’, and ‘Real Live Offering‘) and a debut album (‘Pint of Mystery‘). Dan has recently signed to US booking agency Fleming Artists and has relocated to North America where he continues to tour. CHECK HIM OUT AND THANK ME LATER! 😉

VIDEOS:

Nightingale

Loosing Home

I Grew Up Where I Could See the Stars

Spoonful

PICTURES:

Daniel CHampagne

 

Courtney Barnett (REVIEW): “In my brain I re-arrange the letters on the page to spell your name…” – Islington Assembly Hall and The Great Escape in London/Brighton (2014)

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Back in February, I noticed that my Facebook newsfeed (already dominated by an onslaught of music reminders) kept REMINDING ME about a NEW ARTIST that was rising on the scene: Courtney Barnett. This reminder was further back by the opinions of my credible music resources: Paige Parsons– who saw Courtney at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, and Chris Hayes- who saw Courtney at the Ace Hotel in London. Both spoke highly of her musical talent and her unique delivery as a singer/songwriter. One thing that I don’t recall them mentioning–something that is no obvious from her EP (‘A Sea of Split Peas’) either– is the RAW ROCKER EDGE that kinda just SMACKS YOU IN THE FACE during her live performances. For someone as chill and nonchalant as Courtney, her display of SHREDDING GUITAR comes as a surprise to most who come see her for the first time. Similar to St. Vincent in that regard, she makes stare in disbelief as she RAVAGES that electric guitar and sends it WAILING. I caught myself continually looking up at her all googly-eyed, thinking how freaking siiiiiiiiick it would be to reign a throne that once used to only be occupied by men. She sure does put the HER back in rockHER, and I’m all about pumping my fist in the air to show my support. HELL YES. xx

Having had the luxury of seeing her TWICE in 2 WEEKS —the Great Escape Music Festival in Brighton (May 9, 2014) and the Islington Assembly Hall in London (May 29, 2014)– I was AMAZED by the cool, collected confidence she carried throughout both performances. She didn’t appear to be nervous at all, and instead engaged in casual conversation with her fans (whom she refers to as “new friends”).  In fact, at one point during the London gig, she asked “So what are you all doing tomorrow?”  Having been  nominated for NME’s Best New Band (2014) and having managed sold out tours in the UK, USA, Australia, I am impressed by her humbled appreciation for the audience support. She’s very apathetic about the whole fame thing and really makes an effort to greet all her “new friends” after the gig. Standing in the front for both gigs, I was lucky enough to flag her down (Sheree and I) after the show and strike up a chat. I am not ashamed to say that I am part of the Courtney CULT that is beginning to spread like wild fire.

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Meeting Courtney after her Brighton Dome gig at the Great Escape music fest on May 9, 2014. Dying!! (From the left: Me, Courtney, Sheree)

Courtney’s Brighton Dome gig at this year’s Great Escape was hands down one of the STANDOUT PERFORMANCES of the festival. No question about it. Her lackadaisical but completely honest vocal style reminds me a bit of Kurt Vile,  who I also really love. She delivers her dream-like narratives with such tangible imagery that you can’t help but jump in and go along for the ride. According to Rolling Stone magazine,Barnett is a storytelling twenty-something singer/songwriter from Melbourne who writes matter-of-fact tales that unspool like barstool revelations and sound like some hybrid of Kimya Dawson and Kurt Cobain.” All of her tales carry their own element of sass and sarcasm, but it’s the rambling restlessness of  History Eraser that we can’t seem to ERASE from our minds. With lines like “they made their paints by mixing acid wash and lemonade” and “We drove by tractor there, the yellow straw replaced our hair, we laced the dairy river with the cream of sweet vermouth,” you can only grin over the pure ingenuity of her impressive imagination. The best, though, is the chorus: “In my brain I re-arrange the letters on the page to spell your name…” (I just wish her bass player sang it louder during the gig!)

My favorite verses have got to be the last two:

“You said “we only live once” so we touched a little tongue, and instantly i wanted to…
I lost my train of thought and jumped aboard the Epping as the doors were slowly closing on the world.
I touched on and off and rubbed my arm up against yours and still the inspector inspected me.
The lady in the roof was living proof that nothing really ever is exactly as it seems.

..

We caught the river boat downstream and ended up beside a team of angry footballers.
I fed the ducks some krill then we were sucked against our will into the welcome doors of the casino.
We drank green margaritas, danced with sweet senoritas, and we all went home as winners of a kind.
You said “i guarantee we’ll have more fun, drink till the moon becomes the sun, and in the taxi home i’ll sing you a triffids song!”  (Tamanna, this one’s for you!)

History Eraser

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A girl next to me grabbed what she thought was the setlist, only to find a list of scattered words with no obvious meaning (except to Courtney of course). We later found out from Courtney that this was her lyrical “cheat sheet.” Something EVEN MORE valuable than a setlist. “Love you/hate you” –> FENCE –: “Like you/despise you”….What with the FENCE separating those sets of contradictions? And what with he “Turpentine” and “Cyanide” references? She’s such an interesting enigma! xxx

After Courtney’s impressive performance at The Great Escape, I was patting myself on the back for having purchased tickets early to see her at the Islington Assembly Hall (cause they sold out within weeks). The day the gig came around, however, I happened to be in a HORRID MOOD (might as well have had “f*ck you” written on my forehead), and was on the verge of a tears walking to the venue. Well, thank god I made it, cause Courtney proved to be the ultimate cure, and singing along (yes, I know most of the lyrics now) to her dark, witty tales had me smiling in no time. Who needs therapy when you’ve got musical madness as medicine?..

Courtney starts off the gig with Don’t Apply Compression Gently, David, Lance Jr., Canned Tomatoes, Scotty Says, taking a break in between to thank the audience and ask questions like: “Are you all having a good time?”, “Who has seen me before and has come back?” She also called out a person in the upper balcony who was leaving for the toilet during her set (haha). Although I didn’t get Don’t Apply Compression Gently on video, it happens to be another favorite. The brut honesty of the chorus (“I may not be 100% happy but at least I’m not with you”) and last verse is killer:

“I take pieces of myself from everyone around me
I’m not individual enough for you
I replicate the people I admire
But at least I’m not bitter and sad.”  (TRUTH).

Next up was what she introduced as an “angry song” about a “bad person,” soon correcting herself to say that person is probably “not so bad.” It’s called Out of the Woodwork, and it’s exactly what I needed to extinguish those bitter flames of frustration/anger/confusion I had burning inside.  The line responsible for cracking a smile in my otherwise frowny face was: “I noticed you stopped talking to me, now you’re talking to me all the time” (we’ve all been there)
But then she stabs at him even harder, saying:
“Do you know you’re no good at listening? But you’re really good at saying everything on your mind. 
It must be tiring trying so hard, to look like you’re not really trying at all.
I guess if you’re afraid of aiming too high, then you’re not really gonna have too far to fall.”    (SLAYED.)

Out of the Woodwork:

Then there was Are You Looking After Yourself?, which Courtney said was inspired her mom’s voice (e.g. nagging). This song makes so much more sense after you separate half the lyrics to include her mom’s part. (GOD, she is so freaking witty and clever. )

Mom: “Are you working hard my darling, we’re so worried, always thinking of you and we just want you to be so happy, keep on going…”

Courtney: “I don’t want no 9 to 5, telling me that I’m alive and ‘Man, you’re doing well!”

Mom: “Have you got some money saved up for those rainy days? You should start some sort of trust fund just in case you fail”  (sound very familiar…)

Courtney: “My friends play in bands, they are better than everything on radio…”

Are You Looking After Yourself
(I think it’s safe to say that she IS indeed LOOKING AFTER HERSELF. She’s KILLIN IT right now!)

Following that one was a new song which they still haven’t a name for (hence it listed as “Blah” on the setlist). This one was probably the most volatile of all, and the lyrics cut like a knife. The harsh words kinda remind me a bit of  Alanis Morrisette.

“Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you. 

Tell me I’m accessible and I’ll only exploit you.” 

Next up was Avant Gardener, HANDS DOWN my favorite from Courtney’s kickass collection. I FREAKIN’ LOVE THIS TRACK and the entire witty rendition of a relatively serious event: the time she suffered from anaphylactic shock when trying to clear her front yard on a hot morning. “The one thing that captivates me in a song is the honesty of a songwriter. It could be about walking to the shop, but if it’s said with that person’s perspective then it can make it interesting,” says Courtney. This is ethos that dominates her EP, and this song in particular. My favorite verses (although they’re hard to choose!):

“Life’s getting hard in here
So i do some gardening
Anything to take my mind away from where it’s sposed to be.

I feel pro-active
I pull out weeds
All of a sudden
I’m having trouble breathing in…
I take a hit from
An asthma puffer
I do it wrong
I was never good at smoking bongs.
I’m not that good at breathing in.” (Genius ending.)

Avent Gardener

Setting up a DOUBLY WHAMMY and hitting us with her two best in a row, she follows with the crowd pleaser, History Eraser.

History Eraser

Then, we all didn’t think there was going to be an encore, as Courtney affirmed that History Eraser would be their official “last song.” SO, we were all super excited (jumping up and down inside) when she came out to play one more song. It was an ode to Preston, the area in Melbourne where she was possibly going to live until she realized how “depressing” it is (hence Depreston as the title of the song). She quickly mentions that it’s really “not that bad, though..” and she doesn’t want to give Preston a bad rap. The lyrics which really stood out to me were:

“If you had to spare half a million, You could knock it down and start rebuildin’..” (chills)

Depreston

So amazed and utterly IN AWE of Courtney after this performance, I couldn’t help but wait in line to chat with her real quick and tell her how much enjoyed the show for a second time (this time knowing MOST of the lyrics.) I also asked her why both gigs they didn’t play Anonymous Club, which happens to be one of my favorites. Lyrics like: “Turn your phone off friend, you’re amongst friends and we don’t need no interruptions…Leave your shoes at the door, along with your troubles.” YES. Get me there. She responded by saying that was a difficult song to play live and they haven’t quite figured it out yet. Mainly I think it’s because they need to get another guitarist (or maybe the drummer?) to make some of those background effects while she keep on rhythm. Hopefully that’s something they’ll work on for future cause I LOVE IT…love her. Def seeing her again and again. ❤

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I should have asked her what the PEDIGOGEE (and foot) were referring to! Haha

All photos can be found on the ‘Courtney Barnett’ page of my blog: https://beatsthatsetmypulse.wordpress.com/courtney-barnett/