by Justin Trudell
An opening act tends to be a bit timid. After all, most of the crowd paid to see whoever it is that comes next. So, as an audience we would like to ask as polite as possible to the opener, “Could you hurry up and get your fucking set over with?”. With the unspoken agreement concert fans and opening acts have both signed, it’s no surprise they would be a bit timid and exit the stage just as softly as they entered. But, then there’s Barns Courtney.
The overwhelming take away from seeing Barns Courtney was that he has some major swagger. He stormed onto stage with an aura of “I DEFINITELY belong here tonight”. Armed with an acoustic guitar and flanked by his rhythm section band mates, Courtney immediately began working the crowd like a hype man would for Lil’ Wayne.
“DEEE-TROIT! How you feeling tonight?!” Courtney screamed out as he went into the second of his only seven-song set. I struggled to categorize what genre he is, iTunes lists him as Alternative, so let’s go with that. Jake Bugg would be the closest comparison to his style. Barns Courtney has a folk rock structure, with the blues spirit of Jack White, and the punk rock energy of The Sex Pistols.
Courtney ended the show with his most popular song, “Fire”. “Fire” is a Mumford and Sons-style of “quiet, reserved build up to a huge culmination.” So when the final chorus approached, Courtney spoke to the crowd, “Alright Detroit, I need everyone in here to get low. Get as low as you can….Now, I’m gonna count to three, and you’re going to jump for as high and as long as you can”. He did, and we did.
Barns Courtney may have been unfamiliar to many before the show, but no one left without knowing his name. It was an incredible performance to start the night, and Barns Courtney DEFINITELY belonged on that stage.