Courtney Barnett and Camp Cope’s Bushfire Fundraiser was a testament to the power of music
10.01.2020

Courtney Barnett and Camp Cope’s Bushfire Fundraiser was a testament to the power of music

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Words by Emma Cahill

Courtney Barnett, Camp Cope and Alice Skye rallied for two Bushfire Fundraiser shows on January 6 and 7 at the Corner Hotel.

The shows, which sold out in less than two hours, demonstrated how eager Australians are to help during this time of national devastation. A testament to the power of music, the gigs exemplified how music can be utilized to unite people and encourage change amid crises.

On Instagram, Camp Cope‘s Georgia Maq promoted the event: “@scottmorrisonmp and his mates are too busy buying new BMWs with taxpayers’ money and watching the cricket instead of helping, so the people are doing something,” she wrote.

Onstage, Maq’s fury was on display as she shouted that Australians should “rally”, “bring back the guillotine” and “storm Parliament”. Her outrage was met by an enthusiastic crowd, demonstrating the heartbreak felt by Australia’s youth over the bushfires and the dissatisfaction at the government’s inadequate action on climate change.

With the crowd suitably riled by Maq, her energy was matched by Camp Cope’s lively set as punters ate up renditions of ‘UFO Lighter’ and ‘Footscray Station’.

When Courtney Barnett took the stage for her only full-band gig for the year, the audience hung on her every word. Eloquently addressing gentrification in ‘Depreston’, mundanity and anxiety in ‘Avant Gardener’ and depression and isolation in ‘City Looks Pretty’, the poignancy of Barnett’s lyrics was especially cutting.

Joking, “The only thing Georgia hates more than the government is men. Here is ‘Nameless, Faceless’”, Barnett was joined by onstage by Maq for the track.

Addressing systemic misogyny, the pair spoke to all the women present as they bellowed “I wanna walk through the park in the dark” and “I hold my keys between my fingers”.

Contrasting her laidback studio recordings, Barnett’s live performances see everything amped up – her voice is astounding, her energy is palpable and her guitar playing is electric. As much was especially true for her delivery of ‘Pedestrian At Best’, which saw her belt out sporadic screams.

 

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Offering a change of pace, Barnett invited a sombre atmosphere with her intimate solo of ‘Untitled (Play it On Repeat)’ and a touching cover of Hank Williams’ country standard ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’.

Thanking the audience for coming along and donating, Barnett was evidently touched by the unity displayed for the cause. With that in mind, she maintained that it “shouldn’t be up to us, it should be the government” to be taking action and contributing money to bushfire relief efforts.

Capping off an evening dedicated to the bushfire crisis, the encore of ‘Everybody Here Hates You’ was a fitting and calculated allusion to a particular Australian ‘leader’.

All proceeds from ticket, merchandise and raffle sales on the night were donated to the Bushfire Disaster Appeal, NWS Rural Fire Service, Country Fire Authority in Victoria, Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities and WIRES.

Find more bushfire fundraiser gigs happening around Melbourne here.

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