How To Play An Epic Gig At A Mediocre Festival Or Why Courtney Barnett is a Rock’n’Roll Goddess

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Courtney Barnett played at this years Lollapalooza festival in Berlin. This is how it went down! (Spoiler alert: she is a Rock'n'Roll Goddess)

Courtney Barnett

Last weekend, I had the chance to go to the Lollapalooza Festival. Thanks to a surprise from a dear friend. The festival took place in the historic Olympia Stadium in Berlin.

Lollapalooza took place in the historic Olympia Stadium

Now: the line up was a current mix of chart-topping artists like Billie Eilish or Rita Ora. Additionally sprinkled with local hit bands like Kraftklub. However, the big headliner was Swedish House Mafia, Martin Garrix and Kings of Leon.

Without a doubt, I’m not a music journalist. Also, this is not going to be a festival review. Not to mention hypothetical speculations about the line-up planning of international festivals. I’m just trying to give you an idea of the context we are in.

An Alternative Stage was included in the festival as well

Maybe it was the organizers wish to appear more urban or edgy to include an Alternative Stage. Hence, that’s what they did. And the line-up on that wasn’t even bad. Princess Nokia played after Barnett’s slot.

However, the stage sank and perished like a sad Chinese lantern in the rain. Being located right beside the big electronic extravaganza inside the Olympic Stadium’s ‘Perry Stage’. Neighbouring on, the Alternative Stage was often overblown with the sound from the ‘Perry Stage’.

In like manner, the two main stages were located on the big field between the Stadium and the Clocktower.

The two main stages were located towards the Olympia Clocktower

For this reason, you might be tempted to think that I’m about to tune into a big rant. How Alternative Music is so not happening in the mainstream anymore.

Or getting furious on why festivals like the Lollapalooza try to fit anything into it. Even Synchron swimming performances?

Far from it!

And the reason is that I got rescued by no other than Courtney Barnett. By the way, here are 10 things you didn’t know about her.

Courtney Barnett’s last album did really well

Her big success with the Kurt Vile project. Secondly, the praise and award nominations Australian born Barnett gained for her last album ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’. As well as my anticipation to experience her live performance. All those things made me decide to better be safe and show up at the stage rather early.

Well, what can I say? By all means, nobody else of the 80.000 visitors seemed to be bothered at all. I felt like a teenager who didn’t get the call that the party was happening somewhere else.

Then, after a while, a couple of older folks came over. Together with small groups of Australian expats who dripped into the area. The wave breakers looked over-sized and intimidating.

To make things worst it started to rain a little. Which made me get my rain poncho out. The older folks and expats looked rather puzzled by such precautions.

Courtney Barnett conquered the stage like a heroine

Photo by Erina Uemura

And then, after what felt like an eternity, the band and Courtney Barnett appeared on the side of the stage. A quick but hearty hug and they went on. Barnett was only accompanied by drummer Dave Mudie and bass player Bones Sloane.

Or should I say they conquered the stage? Smashed it? Whatever strikes your fancy. Courtney Barnett appeared to be the fearless heroine nobody had anticipated.

If, after my description so far, you are tempted to think that Ms Barnett was daunted by such an outlook. Or that she appeared bewildered about the setting of her festival slot. You couldn’t be more mistaken.

With the force of a wave, like those at Bondi Beach, she came rolling over us. Her energy was electrifying from the first to the last second of the show.

Every burst of emotions from us humble fans aggregated a childlike artlessly smirk from her. The bond between Courtney Barnett and the crowd was immediate and profound.

Courtney Barnett songs flow like arrows straight to your heart

With no effort at all, she served us with rigorous Rock’n’Roll of the finest execution. Cracking, lengthy guitar solos and a powerful singing voice did the rest.

After two songs I lost all inhibitions and sang loudly every line. Immediately, I felt immersed in the music. Dancing like nobody was watching.

The setlist was a perfect mixture of old and new songs. ‘I’m not your mother, I’m not your bitch’ was particularly stunning. Consequently, I stopped taking notice of the different songs and cherished those precious minutes of pure Rock’n’Roll.

How long did she play? According to the festival plan, it was short of an hour. However, in my music heart, it will last much longer!

And that’s How To Play An Epic Gig At A Mediocre Festival Or Why Courtney Barnett is a Rock’n’Roll Goddess.

Interview with Courtney Barnett by Berlin radio station ‘Radio Eins’

Radio host Steen Lorenzen together with Courtney Barnett | © radioeins/Lena-Marie Haring
Courtney Barnett’s interview with Berlin radio station ‘Radio Eins’, shortly before going on stage at Lollapalooza Berlin 2019. The interview is in English and German.

*Source of Headline picture