Barns Courtney released his new LP today and celebrated by playing an intimate gig to a room full of adoring fans.
Dingwall’s is a basement space in a red brick warehouse in the heart of Camden Market in London. While I was waiting for the support band, a 19-year old actor asked me about my camera and what I’d recommend. I thought, blimey I first came here when I, too, was 19, which was well before she was even born. I’m feeling old.
Dingwall’s used to be a spit-and-sawdust type venue and has undergone a re-modelling in recent times with stepped views of the stage providing good sightlines for everyone. The only problem is the acoustics – and people who want to talk over the music – the rabble always wins and the music can get drowned out.
So I decided to relive my youth by sticking my head in a speaker stack to absorb one of the hottest properties that England’s youth has on offer at the moment, Barnaby Courtney.
Georgie is a talented young musician. He sings, plays guitar and keyboards, and probably produced the backing tracks, too. He’s a regular one-man band.
The 19-year old looks like he’s been styled by Bieber and had even scripted his banter between songs. I suspect that he was leaving nothing to chance. His last single, “Vibe”, was cheered by the crowd and “Buzz”, released last week, deserves an honourable mention.
Songs are based on looped rhythms and riffs, a bit like Ed Sheeran. Pure pop that will no doubt be consumed quickly on mainstream radio.
Georgie provided a warm friendly face to the start the evening off, before Storm Barnaby slammed into the venue…
This guy is a bit of a dude. I’d heard he was from Ipswich (a sleepy town in the middle of England’s nowhere), but the minute he started singing, I thought I must be mistaken. He has a transatlantic drawl and his performance style isn’t at all the reserved, apologetic, and genteel approach taken by most Brits. Barns goes for it big time, which may have explained why one of his feet was in a boot cast.
Barns told us how he and drummer Rob Ketchum had literally just got off a plane from LA. Apparently the two of them had also smuggled marijuana through customs and some of it had found its way to the venue. I suspect that was bravado, rather than fact. After all rock stars don’t do drugs, do they? And if he was feeling the chillaxing effects of his contraband, I can’t imagine how lively he gets when he has run out of rolling papers.
The crowd loved his full on sex/rock god performance – at one point it looked as if he had been engulfed by the predominantly female teenage fanclub, as he sat down to play the keys on the album title track “Attractions of Youth”. One of only two quieter moments, the other being his solo guitar/vocals on “Hard to be Alone”.
Highlights were probably “Fire”, “Never Let You Down” – which included a fleeting appearance from The 1975‘s sax player John Waugh – and the best selling single “Glitter and Gold”. I even found myself singing along to that one.
When I got home, I was asked what he sounded like. I replied that his voice is a bit like the growly George Ezra and Rag and Bone Man, but he has got rocket fuel in his soul. I suspect Barnaby will end up being more significant than both of those crooners put together.
Barns told us how a year ago he came to Dingwall’s and hoped that one day he would be on stage. He’s more than arrived. Not only did he release his album in the morning, but he more than uncaged the ballsy youth idol that the UK has been looking for that night.
Just a pity I’m not 19.
- Think I’d Rather Die
- Glitter and Gold
- Never Let You Down
- Hobo Rocket
- Hard to be Alone
- Attractions of Youth
- Little Boy
- Golden Dandelions
The Attractions of Youth is available through Virgin Records now.
Thanks to Ronnie Trainor at Various Artists Management for inviting The Revue to cover this gig.
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