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Live: BARNS COURTNEY // Scala, London

Barns Courtney brings his debut release, The Attractions Of Youth, to London’s Scala.

Spring is here, the temps are rising and London’s Scala is like a sauna. That can only mean one thing, Barns Courtney is in the house! The British born American blues rock singer has been away from these shores for quite some time so tonight felt like we were welcoming home an old friend.

Spotlights dart around the blacked out stage as Barns walks out to accompany the rest of his band, acoustic guitar in hand he unleashes new track, London Girls on the sold out crowd. It’s just as well received as the more familiar tunes like his breakthrough track, Glitter and Gold and album tracks Never Let You Down and Hobo Rocket. Barns has a knack of getting every last bit of energy from the crowd, his music is so strong and dynamic, heavy thumping drum beats keep you on your toes, with well placed moments of calm before the crowd erupts into a moshing frenzy.

The crowd plays just as big a part of the performance as the band. Hands and Little Boy are the perfect songs for crowd sing-alongs. People start to emerge above the crowd on shoulders during Golden Dandelions and Barns takes a quiet moment as he absorbs the reaction of the crowd, a smile beaming on his face. Soon the floor starts to shake as the foot stomping delight of Kicks is belted out across the speakers, my personal highlight of the evening. Barns, never letting the crowd rest, reaches out to a member of the audience and records a segment of the ravenous applause on her phone before he takes to some crowd surfing.

The night comes to a blistering end with confetti canons and the ever popular anthem, Fire, a song so befitting because I end up leaving the venue exhausted and on the verge of dehydration. A common theme I’m detecting with his shows. As the lights dip, “One more song” rings out from the crowd who are not yet ready to go home so we are treated to an encore of the infamous Bowie song Rebel Rebel. Barns nearly demolishes the drum set before he very much demolishes his own guitar in true rebel form, smashing it to pieces on the ground before saying his goodbyes to the crowd.

Here hoping that Barns doesn’t leave it so long to do a full tour of the country, because tonight’s performance and support from the crowd show a pure musical talent is burning ever brighter.

Photos: Rachel Prew