This was a first. Well, at least a first for a long while. Barns Courtney was introduced to me by my wife, Clare. I was away at Glastonbury when she texted to say that she’d like to see him. I’d never heard of him, but said yes. When I got back, I had a listen on spotify and was hugely impressed by Golden Dandelions, Fire and Little Boy.
Think Tank? is a small venue in Newcastle with a capacity of about 250. This one was far from full with about 70 to 100 or so present. I was surprised as I expected it to be full. It should have been as it was a little treat.
Barns Courtney took the stage at 9pm and the first thing I noticed was that he was sporting a moon boot on his right foot. This didn’t impair him much. It probably should have as I feared for his safety for most of the gig! He seemed intent on bouncing around the stage as if it wasn’t there and fortunately managed to stay upright for the whole gig.
The audience was relatively odd for the evening. I don’t think I’ve previously been to a gig where the crowd stood back from the stage for the main act, but they were intent on doing so tonight. Clare & I were probably the furthest forward and we were a couple of meters away. That didn’t affect Barns’ from engaging with the audience. He did so impressively, but his masterstroke (presumably tried and tested) came 4 songs from the end when he asked everyone to come forward so he could take a photo of everyone. Everyone duly came forward. He took some video footage, threw his phone to the ground and informed everyone that they might as well stay where they were now. Sweet move.
The highlights were clearly the tunes I knew from Spotify, but all in all it was an excellent 12 song set with a huge amount off energy. John Waugh, the saxophonist with The 1975, played on three of the tracks and it brought an extra quality dimension to the set. Barns was clearly happy to have him there.
Glitter & Gold, Never Let You Down, Little Boy, Golden Dandelions and Fire were all awesome. His debut album is out on the 29th September, so I’m looking forward to hearing it. Shame it doesn’t look like it’s getting a vinyl release, but it will be well wroth checking out.
There was something about his attitude that I really liked. I don’t know why, but he brought me in with something that I found incredibly amusing. As he was finished with his mouth organ on one tune, he absently discarded it over his shoulder and it bounced to the back of the stage. It was the way he did it that just had me laughing and warming to his excitable style. I’m interested to see what comes next.
I pilfered the setlist from the stage as others were clearly hovering to do the same. Shy bairns…
Support act: Georgie Keller opened the evening. He was on the stage by himself with a backing track for 30 minutes. Pretty impressive and pretty brave, only taking brief respite with a single acoustic guitar cover of a Shawn Mendes track.
Food & drink: Clare & I were on our own for this one and as we were bit rushed there was no time for food in advance. The post gig chicken kebab was a bit on the dodgy side, but welcome. I took on board a Dead Pony Club and Clare had a Peroni at the gig.
Merchandise: none available. Makes a refreshing change that I wasn’t tempted to part with more cash.