Support Local Journalism. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

REVIEW: Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile's ‘Lotta Sea Lice’ tour lives up to the hype

Posted By on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 9:23 AM

click to enlarge PHOTOS BY MARC NADER VIA ROYAL OAK MUSIC THEATRE
  • Photos by Marc Nader via Royal Oak Music Theatre
If I had a time machine and could only go back to one time and place, it would be to last night, when the Royal Oak Music Theatre brought generations of rock 'n' roll lovers together in the name of Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett. Flanneled-out 20-somethings, PDA-y hipster teens, and older people with a finger on the pulse of music and exceptional taste flocked to the classic venue to see this beloved duo perform their Lotta Sea Lice album all the way in Michigan — and it was everything we could’ve hoped for — and more. Vile didn’t peak past his famous curtain of curls, Barnett’s Australian accent was just as good in person, and the two sang harmonies that sounded like they were made in folk-rock heaven.
click to enlarge 3k2a0916.jpg
The pair opened with the first track from Lotta Sea Lice, “Over Everything,” a call and response duet that makes meandering in existential distress sound, well, fun. Both Vile and Barnett have a knack for making the mundane magical, singing about writing songs alone, writing songs together, and navigating a world of tour busses and hotel beds whilst still remaining somewhat sane. Although these are things the ordinary person doesn’t experience, the songs maintained an almost strange relatability. The fusion of Barnett’s famed unfiltered stream of consciousness writing and Vile’s outlaw cowboy blues resulted in a comfy, conversational set of songs. So comfy, in fact, that at times it felt like the audience members were flies on the wall, invading on a very intimate, very fun jam sesh.
click to enlarge mj1a6935.jpg
Among the many magical moments was when Barnett covered “Fear is Like a Forest,” a song originally written and performed by Jen Cloher — Barnett’s partner and the talented songwriter who opened the show. In the song, Barnett brings her own meaning to the allegorical tune while paying homage to its writer, where Vile’s folk-psych guitar riffs and gritty vocals added elements of depth.

Not to be overlooked, Cloher herself charmed the audience as the opener, playing an acoustic set accompanied with genuine anecdotes that had the crowd chuckling. Her vulnerability and honesty captivated listeners, as she played a mixture of songs from In Blood Memory and her latest self-titled album. Referencing her new album, Cloher joked that “a lot of musicians write songs about being out on the road and missing home. I wrote some songs about stuck being at home and missing someone who’s on the road. And it turned into an entire album.”

When the lights went down, the crowd, of course, refused to stop cheering until Barnett and Vile returned to the stage for their last hurrah. What better way to end the show then the songs even the weakest fans in the audience could sing along to — “Avant Gardner” and “Pretty Pimpin.’”


Tags: , , , , ,

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Metro Times has been keeping Detroit informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Metro Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Read the Digital Print Issue

March 25, 2020

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit