Opening the night are fellow Australian pals Big Scary, whose frontman Tom Iansek manages to grip attentions from the start with his soulful vocals.
The ABC is already packed with those eager to see headliner Courtney Barnett and Big Scary are greeted with a wave of friendly cheers from the enthusiastic crowd.
Around three tracks in the band shake things up shifting from atmospheric indie rock to something much more upbeat.
Leaving his keyboard behind Iansek picks up his electric guitar and Big Scary’s sound becomes highly jazz influenced.
This carries on as they welcome a saxophone player to the stage causing the crowd to cheer loudly in delight.
The next couple of tracks are a whirlwind of sax, synth and wonderful harmonies before Big Scary finish off with a song that combines all their for-mentioned styles – a highlight of their set.
We’re not waiting long until Courtney Barnett and her band (or The CB3) take the stage opening with personal favourite ‘Elevator Operator.’
Even though from where I’m standing the band look tiny I am kept entertained by cartoonized visuals reminiscent of Barnett’s album cover.
Barnett rarely engages with the crowd between tracks preferring to go straight from one into another, however when fans shout out loudly from the crowd Barnett takes the time to reply.
Despite not being to everyone’s taste it is this natural and informal presence that makes Barnett so relatable and allows her songs to flow straight into one another keeping the audience’s full attention throughout.
Highlight ‘Depreston’ brings the crowd into a soft sing-along as lyrics “If you’ve got a spare half a million / you could knock it down and start rebuilding” echo in the packed out venue.
Barnett takes this opportunity to let the crowd catch their breath by playing a number of more relaxed numbers, showcasing both her vocals and wit, however this doesn’t last long and towards the end of ‘Are You Looking After Yourself?’ Barnett shakes the venue awake with shouting vocals.
The band close tonight’s set with crowd-pleasers ‘Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party’ and ‘Pedestrian At Best’, which really gives Barnett the chance to demonstrate her ability as a guitarist.
The CB3 return to the stage accompanied by Big Scary to perform a cover of The Saint’s ‘Know Your Product’ ending the night with a real sense of comradery rarely seen at such large shows.
Words: Jess Lavin
Photos: Stewart Fullerton