Festival season is now well and truly over and it’s back indoors, and where better to start than The Wardrobe in Leeds. A great little venue that was packed out to see Barns Courtney on his current UK tour in support of his recently released album ‘404’.
First up was the Brighton based Will & The People who it has to be said reminded me of an early version of The Police, which is no bad thing as far as this reviewer is concerned. Their last single ‘Gigantic’ was a real standout track for me, as well as some rather excellent crowd surfing from frontman Will Rendle.
One thing is clear about Barns Courtney the moment he takes to the stage. He is a supremely confident and charismatic frontman, with as much rock ‘n’ roll swagger as one man could possibly have.
From the opening track ‘Fun Never Ends’, he had the crowd eating out his hands and the rock/blues wall of sound set the tone for the night. Ably backed by his band, this set blasts out tune after tune at 100mph and the tracks from his new album are well received by the knowledgeable crowd.
Between songs he chats with the crowd, relaying one story about trying to chat up a girl at an ATM in Leeds and failing spectacularly, and at one point gets an audience member up on stage to join the band. (Always a high risk approach, but this worked a treat!)
Crowd lift off is achieved when he goes straight into the epic ‘Glitter & Gold’ which the Leeds audience were only too happy to assist on vocal duties with. If it was possible, the roof was raised even higher with ‘99’and its infectious hookline.
Of course, he likes to get the crowd involved and part of that actually means having a wander around the edge of the crowd on scaffolding and crowd surfing towards the end of the set.
He’s been a solo artist since 2015 and seems to still be at the ‘paying his dues’ stage of career, but this is a star that will surely burn bright before very long. Support slots with The Who and Ed Sheeran can only help in what must be a certain rise to the top for Barns Courtney.
During this stunning set, at times he reminded me of a mixture of Johnny Borrell vocally and has the stage presence of a young Mick Jagger with a Kings of Leon influence thrown in for good measure.
Barns Courtney was a new name to me and I have to say this was one of THE GIGS of the year, and it surely won’t be long before he becomes a major player. I would urge you to catch him if you can on the remaining dates of his current tour.
Fun Never Ends
Never Let You Down
Glitter & Gold
You & I