English singer-songwriter Barns Courtney brought his big sound to the capital.
While putting the finishing touches on his sophomore record, Barns Courtney embarked on an eight-date UK headline tour that culminated at London’s Heaven on 15 November. We were there to catch him in all the live music glory. And boy, oh boy, what a treat it was!
Playing most of the tracks off his debut record The Attractions Of Youth as well as a few brand new and unreleased tracks, Barns had us beyond excited for his new record. And why not kick things off with a previously unreleased track? The Fun Never Ends carries not only the ideal title to start a stellar set, but musically it also checked all the boxes of a set opener with its anthemic chorus and killer riffs.
Barns Courtney does something few others have managed to do successfully – he combines folk, blues, rock and pop all into one glorious hot sound that has stadium potential. This sound also comes through on his latest single 99 which follows next. The indie anthem is a throwback to the glory days of the late nineties.
Speaking of the track, Barns comments “This is the first song where I’ve ever been able to inject my true personality. I was born in England and grew up in suburban Seattle playing video games and watching Pokémon. 99 has got genuine sadness, but it’s got playfulness, and it references the nerdy parts of my personality where I’m in Seattle in the late 90s with my friends in front of a TV screen playing Nintendo 64. It’s got the silly playfulness where I reel off a list of dated games consoles at the end. That sense of poking fun at yourself. The universal goal is that to be successful is to have shiny status symbols, so there are people who’ve grown up and got the house and the Ferrari, but here I am clutching my old Sega Megadrive.”
The singer-songwriter takes things down a notch with the smooth and sexy Never Let You Down with a few hints of synths weaved into the melody. “I recorded this song with zero money in a decommissioned old folks home in north london with a buddy of mine.” Courtney proclaims before launching into the utter beauty that is Glitter & Gold. Released as one of his first singles, it’s almost mind-boggling how it didn’t propel him into super stardom. The track sounds like something off Sons Of Anarchy in all its dark glory.
And as if we weren’t hooked on the upcoming record already, London Girls’ rock’n’roll beats echoe through Heaven at the end of which huge yellow, blue and white balloons fall from the ceiling turning this party into a musical feast of pure happiness. The following Golden Dandelions picks up on that vibe and takes to a whole different level.
With a ton of confetti and his hit single Fire, Barns Courtney closes a truly epic show. Fire featured on the soundtrack to Bradley Cooper’s 2015 movie Burnt. And if you thought it’s a stunning track through your headphones, you really should hear it live. Have we mentioned that we think he should be playing arenas or stadiums? Well, happy to repeat! If you get a chance to catch Barns Courtney at a show or festival in 2019, we highly recommend you do not miss it.
It’s almost exhausting how good Barns Courtney’s live shows are, can you have too much fun? We’re happy to die trying to find out.