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Live Review: John Butler Trio – 17th April 2014 – City Hall, Hobart, Australia

3 min read

John Butler Trio is an internationally renowned band that has stood the test of time. Originally formed in 1998, this Australian band has been in the biz for over 15 years now and they just keep getting better. Their sixth studio, Flesh & Blood was their first album in four years, and one of their best to date. Since it was released in February this year, the John Butler Trio have embarked on a tour around Australia to showcase their new masterpiece and will continue to travel across the world for the rest of 2014. I had the pleasure of seeing this band live in Hobart, Tasmania, which was exciting considering many bands, both Australian and international, seem to think that Tasmanians don’t like music, as they never visit us.

The supporting act for the evening was Mama Kin, also known as John Butler’s wife. She mainly performed songs off her new album The Magician’s Daughter, which has recieved critical acclaim since it was released early last year. With a voice that’s been described as seductive and tender, Mama Kin poured heart and soul into all her songs. Playing eight songs, including Rescue, One Too Many and Give Me A Reason, Mama Kin’s stage presence was easily recognisable and she put a smile on the faces of early concert-goers.

But it was the three men of the John Butler Trio which filled the hall and upper seating of the venue. The anticipation was electric as John, Grant and Byron finally stepped on stage and picked up their instruments, launching straight into Revolution from previous album April Uprising. A gentle but powerful opening built to climax into the mighty song that Revolution is, the film clip playing in the background to convey it’s powerful message.

They immediately burst into the more upbeat Used To Get High, the soulful I’d Do Anything (Soliders Lament) and newbie tracks Spring To Come and Only One. This is how the show went for most of the night; the talented trio rolled out song after song, barely pausing for a break. They didn’t stop for 5/10/20 minute chats with the audience like many artists do, but they still oozed stage presence and charisma.

The thing to note about the John Butler Trio is that they are first and foremost crazily talented musicians. Each of them is a master of their craft, and there is nothing better than watching someone play an instrument with such expertise and passion. This is probably why most songs turned into mini jam sessions between the three, leaving the audience breathless in awe.

The best example of this is John Butler’s guitar solo, Ocean. One of the most incredible instrumental pieces you will probably ever hear, it really does embody the idea of an ocean; the piece moves along at a gentle pace before becoming dramatic , climactic and breathtaking. The audience stood in silence for 10 minutes, mouths agape as they looked upon the raw talent of Mr John Butler.

Taking advantage of their supporting act, John Butler and Mama Kin performed a beautiful duet Jenny. It was easy to see the couple’s connection as their voices blended into effortless harmonies that screamed perfection. Another highlight of the evening was the John Butler Trio classic Zebra, which had everybody singing along. After this they left to thunderous applause, which didn’t stop until the dynamic group came back to play their two encore songs Livin’ In The City and Funky Tonight.

After hearing this band live, listening to recordings of the John Butler Trio seem like a crude imitation of the real thing. These guys are currently at their peak and if you pass up an opportunity to see them live, then I pity you.

Set List:
Revolution
Used To Get High
I’d Do Anything (Solider’s Lament)
Spring To Come
Only One
Blame It On Me
Pickapart
Jenny
Ocean
Don’t Wanna See Your Face
Devil Woman
How You Sleep At Night
Zebra

Encore:
Livin’ In The City
Funky Tonight