The Courtneys The Buckingham, Edmonton AB, January 24
Published Jan 25, 2019There's no artifice, no posing and no attitude when the Courtneys play — their earnest simplicity and catchy songs are what make them so charming. When the band sit back to let a fuzzy riff roll out, it's easy to enjoy it; when the bass punches out a melody line, it's easy to enjoy that one too. When the Courtneys are their semi-serious selves on stage, it's easy to enjoy their Courtney-ing.
A hangover from the super blood wolf moon last Sunday opened the night, as new band the Eclipse greeted people filing in with a set of classic shoegaze. Next up were Tee Tahs, the side project of Caity Fisher and Faith Healer's Jessica Jalbert, whose high school garage punk steamed up the clear garage door stage backdrop. Their set was unserious and fun, like a high-energy inside joke that everyone in the room was in on.
The familiar feedback and driving bass of "Silver Velvet," from 2017's II, signalled the start of the Courtneys' set as the at-capacity crowd closed in around the stage and turned the room from steamy to sweaty. While guitarist Courtney Loove commanded the riffs that define the Courtney's fizzy indie pop sound, an affable bassist named Brady, filling in for regular Courtney Sydney Koke, provided the blocky underlying melodies, and although Jen Twynn Payne's wistful vocals were a little low in the mix, her steady beats and bright red bodysuit made it impossible not to watch her at center stage. One new song was featured but not named, as the band have had a running trivia contest throughout their recent tour to discern the name of the song from the lyrics that so far no one has been able to win.
A giggling apology from Payne about her voice cracking as a result of recent laryngitis made for endearing interstitial banter about halfway through the set, as did a story Payne told before starting "Lost Boys" about having becoming obsessed with Queen (via Bohemian Rhapsody) recently and how her fixation would likely show up in a song later on.
The Courtneys finished their set with "Dead Dog," but another song to add to the set would be welcome, as the ten they played felt a little short and left the crowd all warmed up and hoping for more.