(12.16) Aussie musician Courtney Barnett has always held her cards close to the vest; now comes the documentary “Anonymous Club” in which the singer-songwriter shares the truth behind her reputation for shyness. While appearing utterly confident going wild in front of a stadium filled with strangers, Barnett struggles with depression and anxiety. Rock critic David Fear writes in Rolling Stone:
Sensitive, sure. But shy? Onstage, Barnett has a knack for demonstrating why rock is also a verb; a sturdy guitarist on record, she doesn’t appear to play her Fender Telecaster so much as wrestle it into submission. The sound of her music is pure indie-label bliss, filled with confessional lyrics and off-kilter observations and melancholy-Sunday-afternoon vibes buffeted by buzzsaw-sonic melodies. Under a spotlight, everything about her performances feels livewire and dynamic. There is a whole lotta shaking going on.
Here’s what that guitar wrestling looks like from a recent performance of “Turning Green” on Seth Meyers.
Director Danny Cohen had her keep an audio diary for several years which should add considerable texture to the narrative. From the NYT, “In it, she speaks about how the repetition of touring is giving her emotional state a beating.” I should think so. Touring looks like a grind.
Mr. Fear recommends the movie:
And this is where Anonymous Club becomes something more than just a cool document of a cool singer made for cool fans. All of whom, of course, will coolly dig it. It’s also a portrait of depression, the kind that can cripple creative types, and there are moments when you genuinely worry about Barnett even though you know what’s around the bend.
All ages. Not rated. Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.