Off the heels of her third studio album Things Take Time, Take Time, Courtney Barnett is back to touring — awing audiences and spreading immense joy along the way. Almost three years since her previous tour, a nearly sold-out Fox Theater welcomed Barnett and her band with tangible excitement. Upon entering the theater, it was immediately clear that Barnett’s fans had been eagerly anticipating her onstage return, with merch-wearing and mustached hipsters packing the floor.
Opener Bartees Strange set the stage perfectly for the night that was to follow. Strange combined impressive guitar skills with masterfully smooth vocals and energetic dancing galore, leaving the audience ecstatic and ready for Barnett’s long-awaited entrance.
With the lights dimmed and the crowd growing silent, the energy within the room shifted to pure happiness as Barnett and her band entered the stage to booming cheers. Within seconds the iconic snare drum intro to “Avant Gardener” filled the theater — signaling to her exhilarated fans that their wait was finally over. Singing “I sleep in late, another day/ Oh, what a wonder, oh, what a waste” with the voices of thousands behind her, Barnett proved to sound just as wonderful live as in the studio, all while kicking off her dynamic set.
Barnett played in front of a set of living room lamps and a striped, black and white fabric backdrop. The hominess that radiates from her personal, somewhat eccentric songwriting style transferred perfectly onto the stage. Performing alongside only a bassist and a drummer, her usually understated guitar stylings were put onto full display (and for good reason). The trio carried the night away with their folk-rock instrumentation, indescribable chemistry and infectious smiles.
One of the many highlights of the night was Barnett’s rendition of the beloved “Depreston.” Barnett, drenched in blue lights, flawlessly performed the stripped-down track about touring homes and moving to the suburbs. With her band growing quiet and her guitar dialing back to single strums, Barnett asked the audience to sing along while repeating the line “If you’ve got a spare half a million/ You could knock it down and start rebuildin’.” The audience sang — rather, screamed — the lines back at her, and Barnett’s band slowly joined back in, finishing out the marvelous song. After graciously complimenting her euphoric audience members for their “beautiful” singing voices, Barnett transitioned into the following song on the tracklist, leaving her listeners to marinate within the heartwarming atmosphere.
Another undeniably memorable moment from the concert was Barnett’s anger-filled performance of her hit song “Pedestrian at Best.” The second that the distorted guitar rang through the room, the audience immediately began to jump and bang their heads. Clever lyrics such as “Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey/ I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny,” made it unsurprising to watch the crowd react with screams, laughter, pushing and dancing. With the pent-up energy of toddlers at recess, Barnett masterfully entertained and entranced her captivated audience.
With not a single dull moment throughout the night, Barnett proved herself to be just as talented a performer as she is a songwriter. Beloved for her charming musicality, the Fox Theater’s audience was mesmerized by the enchanting performance. Simultaneously stripped-down and full of energy, Barnett and her band took her already catchy songs to the next level — making audience members dance, laugh, cry and most importantly have fun. If one were to sum up Barnett’s spectacular show with a single word, that word would without a doubt be “unforgettable.”