Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile

The streets surrounding Royal Oak Music Theater in Detroit should have been empty on the chilly Monday night before Halloween but Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s show drew a large enough crowd to pack the sidewalks stretching between the parking structure and the theater.

Kurt Vile, originally from Philadelphia, released Walkin on a Pretty Daze in 2013. That same year, Courtney Barnett, from Melbourne, exploded into the music scene in with her EP How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose. Courtney and Kurt released their first single together “Over Everything” in late August and their album Lotta Sea Lice on October 13th. The album mashes American and Australian singer-songwriter styles and is Kurt’s seventh album and Courtney’s second.

Even though the duo mostly played new songs, the crowd bobbed their heads to them like they were old favorites. When one of the artists played an old favorite like “Dead Fox” or “Pretty Pimpin” the familiar tunes stole the show and turned the audience into a chorus of backup singers. They ended the encore with Courtney Barnett’s “Avant Gardener” whose witty lyrics and beautiful sound reminded us why she became such a sensation here in the States. - MB