By Max Modell
Barns Courtney is a rock star in the purest sense. He swaggered on stage in a velvet suit, with an open black shirt, before beginning to strut across the stage in a manner reminiscent of Mick Jagger. Like all the greatest rock stars, Barns is undeniably sexy in the way he owns the room with such ease. In an age of indie bands who just come on stage, play their music and go home, it was refreshing to see a true showman, and based on both his presence and the response he got from the crowd, you’d be forgiven for believing he was the headliner and not support!
Barns Courtney’s debut The Attraction of Youth was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, and ever since he has been making a name for himself with a bluegrass rock sound which is so diverse that some songs sound like an American Arctic Moneys, whereas others bring to mind something like Imagine Dragon if an older Johnny Cash was the lead singer, and others are hedonistic full-on rock songs which allow Barns to truly let out his wild side. This is indicative of the thin line Barns walks between a slight pop sensibility, which illuminates itself in his incredibly catchy songwriting, and blues-rock sensibility which is both nostalgic, and wholly unique when combined with Barn’s pop sensibility.
His vicious set culminated in ‘Kicks’, after a short intro the hypnotic pre-chorus enchants you, before the venomous chorus kicks in, the guitar starts trashing, and Barns starts screaming, creating a punk rock atmosphere. Then the performer and crowd came one, as Barns dived into the audience, despite the no crowd surfing signs scattered around the venue, the audience embraced Barns as one of their own, repaying the leap of faith.
As a support set, the show was short, but it felt like a hurricane. Barns and his band powered through their limited set list with such fury, and for half an hour everything and everyone in the world not on the stage ceased to exist. I was still recovering from the intensity of the experience when The Hunna began their headline set. With live performance like this and a catalogue of banging tunes, I am certain it won’t be long before it’s Barns headlining venues like Tramshed or larger around the UK.