By Justin Trudell
Midtown Detroit: ground zero for the coolest of the cool. Hipsters as far as the eye can see. Complicated facial hair for the men, unflattering high-waisted trousers for the women, and silly hats for all! Courtney Barnett is pretty damn cool but not everyone’s privy to her, especially those outside the hipster guild, so it came as no surprise to be surrounded by unique weirdos.
The sold out show was making it hard to avoid eye contact, as is customary for hipsters – unless there’s a “dire need” to correct someone, then all bets are off! Personal space bubbles were dwindling at an alarming rate. The two-foot buffer zone was quickly being measured in inches rather than feet. But, since this was mid-town, we opted for metric, because US standard measurements are so passé.
Liters of microbrews were flowing like the river Thames; soon the reluctantly huddled masses were within centimeters of each other, getting loose on a Tuesday night. As stage time approached, I began talking with a rather inebriated concertgoer, let’s just call him Bryan Foley, and had the following exchange:
Me: “So, when did you first hear about Courtney Barnett?”
Me: “…uh, the main act tonight, Courtney Barnett. You don’t know her?”
Bryan: “Nah, I’m just checking out the guitar tech. He’s one of the best in the business, a pure craftsman. He’s been doing this forever. I started noticing him back in the 80’s, before all this technology made it easy to tune a guitar.”
The opening act had cleared the stage and we awaited the arrival of our queen, Courtney Barnett. Just before she emerged on stage, the rock anthem “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss resounded throughout The Majestic Theatre. I couldn’t tell if this was ironic or not. All this irony was making my clothes stiff. I just couldn’t keep up anymore.
Speaking of stiff, the crowd may have been on loan from the city morgue. Barely a head nod was discerned in the wave of pedestrians. Alas, I had wrongly assumed the craft brews would get everyone engaged, but I suppose being a rock fan is second to bragging you were there.
Ultimately, Courtney did all she could. With an impassioned rock-star attitude, she radiated intense energy and performed KILLER tunes that matched her look. Admittedly, I have been a casual fan of hers since hearing “Pedestrian at Best.” I couldn’t help but fall in love with her distinct attitude.
Overall, it was a great show, and the hipster crowd can tell everyone they were there before Courtney Barnett was a big deal.