BEING THERE: Courtney Barnett @ Union Transfer


Photo by TOM BECK

Judging by the wide spectrum of ages in the crowd at Union Transfer last night, Courtney Barnett isn’t the voice of a generation, she’s the voice of every generation, more specifically every generation that’s still willing and able to leave the house on a Monday  night for an evening of gloriously loud, raw rock n’ roll thrills. The Aussie indie sensation’s acerbic lyrics and deadpan delivery bring out the dry and sarcastic humor cherished by Millennials while still maintaining that classic “I-wrote-these-songs-in-my-garage-with-only-three-chords” primitivism old heads have been swooning over since The Sonics did it in the mid-60’s. Both attributes of Barnett’s songs were on display last night, from the thumping, head-bobbing opening number, “Elevator Operator,” to the last jam of the evening, “History Eraser,” which sounded like Bob Dylan in drag fronting Tommy James & The Shondells. The bulk of the set raged at a frantic, barn-burner tempo and the only slow songs in the set was the new and crowd-pleasing “Depreston” and a surprise cover of You Am I’s “Heavy Heart” during the encore. There were requests for a third — “Anonymous Club” –- which Barnett told the crowd wasn’t going to happen, albeit in the most lovable and quirky way that only Courtney Barnett could. Also, hats were  a recurring theme of the night, as drummer Dave Mudie wore a variety of hats thrown to him from the audience, adding to the fun band/audience interaction. Other standouts from the night included the career-making “Avant Gardner,” “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party,” and “Dead Fox,” which Barnett told the audience was “about Australian roadkill.” Moral of the story? Children of all ages love super-catchy lady songs — even songs about the dead animals you see on the sides of roads — when the guitars leave skid marks and the drums make the music go bang and the ghost of electricity howls in the bones of your face. — TOM BECK