After exploding on the scene in 2015, Barns Courtney took over Detroit at The Shelter with FOXTRAX for a night of unruly indie rock.
FOXTRAX got the night started. Ben Schneid took the keyboard as the band started with an emotional pop melody. This young band is currently celebrating the release of their debut EP The Cabin. Schneid greeted the crowd as he left his keyboard for the guitar at center stage, saying how excited they were to be in Detroit for the first time, before launching into an electric set.
The band is incredibly captivating and charismatic. Schneid leads the helm, amping the crowd up to clap and sing along, and dancing as he riffed on guitar; all the while his emotive voice soared over the indie rock sound. Jon Stenz was a ball of energy behind the drums, spinning his sticks and spending a lot of the set on his feet dancing as he hammered away. Jared Stenz was the quiet pillar to the side of the stage, letting his masterful bass steal the crowd’s attention, driving the dancing beat forward.
They made sure to give us a real taste of The Cabin, rounding out the set with their debut single “Underwater”. Schneid ended the song by leaping off the drum kit with a flourish. Their alternative, indie twist to rock, along with a 110% energy style makes them a perfect way to start the night.
The Cabin is available on the band’s website.
Barns Courtney took the stage with all the swagger of a true rock star, wasting no time jumping into “Hobo Rocket”. After bursting onto the scene in 2015, Courtney released his debut EP The Dull Drums to rousing success. He has no plans of slowing down this year. After completing his North American tour this summer, he will be off on a U.K. tour starting in September.
Courtney had two fantastic talents alongside him. Rob Ketchum was perfect for the heart pounding drums that encompass Barns Courtney’s music. Léon Banks brought the groove that underlies the furious stomping beat that we’ve all come to love. Together, the three exude confidence as they fired out a savage and ferocious set.
Courtney’s voice and guitar exude a rawness that is uniquely fresh. His music has a steady toe-tapping beat to accompany profound lyrics; everything is stripped down and emotive. His huge personality won the crowd over immediately, engaging and joking between every song. During “Glitter and Gold” the crowd was almost drowning out the band.
They brought out FOXTRAX’s vocalist Ben Schneid to play with them, after which Courtney guided the crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate Schneid’s 25th. Another highlight was fans yelling at Courtney to take his clothes off, to which he replied that he wouldn’t feel right exposing himself to Ketchum’s grandparents, who were in attendance that night. The time between songs soon became a ‘will he, won’t he’ conundrum as he started to go back and forth.
Courtney’s boisterous presence was on full display as he tore through heart-stopping beats like “Hands” and “Hellfire”, as well as soulful tones such as “Little Boy” and “Attractions of Youth”. The set list was a combination of songs from The Dull Drums and new, never-before-heard tunes, including “Golden Dandelions” the first single from his full-length debut album, set to arrive later this fall.
For the finale, Courtney started “Fire” with a singing exchange with the crowd to rev everyone up. As the song progressed, Courtney joined the crowd, guiding everyone down to their knees as the song quieted, only to have the entire venue leap up again as the song hit its crescendo. He spent the finale singing and jumping in the middle of the crowd.
It’s amazing to see two bands that have just gotten started neither having a full album debut just yet having so much success. The Shelter was treated to two incredibly talented acts that are going nowhere but up.