STG Presents

Sharon Van Etten

with Very Special Guest

Courtney Barnett

and Jana Hunter (Lower Dens)
Saturday
July 5, 2014

Doors at 8:00 pm

Show at 9:00 pm

The Neptune Theatre

1303 Northeast 45th Street

Seattle, WA 98105-4502

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Sharon Van Etten with Very Special Guest Courtney Barnett
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STG Presents Sharon Van Etten with Very Special Guest Courtney Barnett at the Neptune in Seattle on Saturday, July 5, 2014.

Sharon Van Etten: For all the attention that was paid to her 2012 break-through Tramp, Sharon Van Etten is an artist with a hunger to turn another corner and to delve deeper, writing from a place of honesty and vulnerability to create a bond with the listener that few contemporary musicians can match. Compelled by a restless spirit, Van Etten is continuously challenging herself. Now, the result is Are We There, a self-produced album of exceptional intimacy, sublime generosity, and immense breadth.

Most musicians are quite happy to leave the production end of things to someone else. It's enough to live your music without taking on the role of producer as well. Yet Van Etten knew it was time to make a record entirely on her terms. The saying goes "fortune favors the bold" and yet this boldness had to be tempered. For this, Van Etten found a kindred spirit in veteran music producer Stewart Lerman. Originally working together on Boardwalk Empire, they gently moved into new roles, rallying around the idea of making a record together in Lerman's studio in New Jersey. Lerman's studio expertise gave Van Etten the freedom to make Are We There the way she imagined. Van Etten also enlisted the individual talents of her band, consisting of Heather Woods Broderick, Doug Keith and Zeke Hutchins, and brought in friends Dave Hartley and Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs, Jonathan Meiberg (Shearwater), Jana Hunter (Lower Dens), Peter Broderick, Mackenzie Scott (Torres), Stuart Bogie, Jacob C. Morris and Mickey Freeze.

It is clear from the opening chords in the first song, Afraid of Nothing, that we are witnessing a new awareness, a sign of Van Etten in full stride, writing, producing and performing from a place that seems almost mythical, were it not so touchable and real. Always direct, and never shying away even from the most personally painful narratives, Van Ettten's songwriting continues to evolve. Many of the songs deal with seemingly impossible decisions, anticipation, and then resolution. She sings of the nature of desire, memory, of being lost, emptiness, of promises and loyalty, fear and change, of healing and the true self, violence and sanctuary, waiting, of silence. The artist who speaks in such a voice is urging us to do something, to take hold and to go deeper. Living in this way, the questions of life remain alive, as close and steady as breathing. Many of the ballads of old are as dark as pitch, and people for whom the issues of life and death were as vivid as flame wrote them. You could turn off the electricity, remove all the instruments and Sharon's voice and words would remain. They connect her to the mystic stratum which flows just beneath the everyday, which is rarely acknowledged as the forces of distraction sweep our attention away.

Courtney Barnett: After years toiling away as a guitarist in other-people’s bands, Courtney Barnett finally gained the courage to step out as a solo artist less than two years ago. Gathering together a bunch of like minded friends, she recorded a debut EP of rambling garage pop and began life as a front-woman.

That EP ‘I’ve Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris” received glowing reviews in her home country of Australia but that trickle of critical acclaim turned into a river of praise upon the release of her second EP “How To Carve A Carrot Into A Rose”.

While the sprawling guitar jams of her band “The Courtney Barnetts” barely hide her remarkable pop sensibility it’s Courtney’s honesty, wit and unique turn of phrase that set her apart from the rest. Reviews range from calling her “The next queen of Australian rock and roll” to just wanting to be mates with her, “I’ve only ever met her once but I can tell she’s a legend.”

2013 has seen Courtney release a bunch of killer singles such as the free associating ‘History Eraser’ (praised by The Guardian as “a perfect summary of the earnest freewheelin’ and rambling wit that makes music from this end of the world just so great.”) and the anaphylactic balladry of ‘Avant Gardener’. With a second EP complete (produced by The Drones’ Dan Luscombe), a debut album around the corner and an increasingly impatient international audience waiting for her to leave her shores, it’s an exciting time to be one of Courtney Barnett’s friends.

Barnett’s music builds on the wordy irreverence of mid-’60s Bob Dylan and a Byrds-ian blend of psychedelia, folk and country. – Pitchfork

All tired trends produce their transcendent idols and Courtney Barnett is one of a kind. Paul Kelly’s successor? – Collapseboard

What sets her apart is she’s got a sense of songwriting that hearkens back to the creative burst of the late ‘60s. Specifically in California—her melodies and psychedelic harmonies remind me of the work of David Crosby or John Phillips. – Brooklyn Vegan

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