LIVE PREVIEW: Belle & Sebastian w/ Courtney Barnett at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater 6/19/15

Pabst Theater | $45.50 | General Admission | 7PM Doors

I have to think back quite a ways to locate a show in my mind that boasted as solid a lineup as the one coming to Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater on June 19.

Indie pop vanguards Belle & Sebastian make their long-awaited return to Milwaukee, their first visit in what seems like ages. Their latest album, Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, was released to overall positive reviews this year, including a B+ from A.V. Club. For anyone who has seen Belle & Sebastian live before, it’s well known that their shows are exceptionally unique and overwhelmingly fun. The Scottish group have mastered their live show since their formation in 1996; lead singer Stuart Murdoch dances across any stage he takes, utilizing every square foot of space he can, and Stevie Jackson and company do more than enough to provide one of the most well-rounded sounds indie pop can provide. Murdoch’s bravado and swagger is enough to make even the biggest downer crack a smile, and Murdoch milks it for all it’s worth: the frontman often brings up audience members to sing, dance, apply makeup to his face, or even read spoken-word parts from cue cards. The group, consisting of six total members, are a must-see any time they come to town… and that’s not even mentioning the stellar supporting act for the show that Friday…

Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett will be opening the show, joining the band on a limited three-date run in Kansas City, Milwaukee and Minneapolis (the final date being part of the Rock the Garden shows that weekend).

Barnett has hit the ground running ever since releasing her universally acclaimed album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit earlier this year. Even prior to Barnett’s debut LP was released, indie music fans have found it difficult to stop talking about her; her double-EP A Sea of Split Peas perked up enough ears throughout the music blogosphere, and for good reason.

Barnett’s lyrics are almost Dylan-esque in poetic elegance, singing fables about what may seem like the mundanities of life, but she puts a beautiful spin on the views to make them uniquely her own. Her rambling voice is at times monotone, but never dull, finding depth and range on more intimate tracks like “Depreston” and “Kim’s Caravan”.

Barnett tours with the two members of her band (which she aptly dubbed CB3), Bones Sloane (bass/backup vocals) and Dave Mudie (drums). The trio have been setting the road on fire everywhere they travel, selling out many venues they’ve headlined, including Los Angeles’ The Roxy just last week. Pitchfork have even started a new web series, titled Contours, which will follow artists while playing shows on the road, providing photos and short videos from the artist. Pitchfork chose Courtney Barnett as the first featured artist for the series, following the group from California, through Texas for SXSW and an Austin City Limits taping, and finishing in New Orleans.

If the series’ videos, along with the featured video below (Barnett’s NPR Showcase at SXSW) prove anything, it’s that Courtney Barnett shows are perfectly clamorous, often finding at least one member of the band on the stage floor, pouring every ounce of their lively energy into the music. Not only that, but Barnett’s music and personality each translate unbelievably well to the live setting; for any crowd able to witness the band’s opening set, it’ll be hard not to fall in love with the charming Barnett.

We’ve hit the time of year where there’s plenty of things to do in Milwaukee on a Friday night… make sure this show is on your calendar.

Tickets ($45.50) for the show are available here.