Sunday, July 27, 2008

Butch Walker with Jesse Malin

Sorry for the terrible hiatus y'all. I have no good excuse so I won't make up a bad one.

Went with Ryan to see Butch Walker and Jesse Malin at Center Stage in Atlanta last night. If you're a Butch Walker fan in the Metro ATL area and you weren't at one of his two shows this week, shame on you. It honestly was the best performance I've seen.

Doors opened at 8; show started at 9. Jesse Malin played for about 45-50 minutes from songs from songs from his three main solo albums. Songs included Wendy, Brooklyn, Hotel Columbia, Black Haired Girl, Bastards of Young (which he came out into the audience for, and had the standing-room only audience sit on the floor during), and Riding on the Subway. Jesse was very engaging on stage. He played guitar primarily and was accompanied by a very pretty, very talented female piano player (whose name is escaping me and I feel like a total jerk). This was the first time I'd ever heard his music, and I was very impressed. Butch and Darren came out to accompany him during one of his songs, which was really cool.

After Jesse's set (during Butch's "When Canyons Ruled the World" - not my favorite song, so I went to get some air), I wandered out into the lobby and he was selling merch and signing autographs. I grabbed Ryan and we introduced ourselves. He pointed to my "chai"necklace and remarked that he was "a member of that Tribe!" Fabulous :). I asked him to sign my ticket and he was very nice about it, signing both of our tickets. I felt bad about not buying a CD or at least a button, but given that these were the most expensive Butch tickets I've ever paid for... AND how stupid-expensive gas has gotten , this graduate student didn't have the means. In spite of being the tool who asks for an autograph and then is like "kthxbai you're awesome" without buying anything, he gave each of us a new sticker from his "Glitter and the Gutter" album (very glittery and shiny; will probably be going on my car today) So yeah I've been Googling/Myspacing/Wikipedia-ing/Etc.-ing Jesse Malin all morning and will definitely be getting some of his music soon.

Now, onto Butch. OHHH man, I was not prepared for how awesome this concert turned out to be. It started around 10 PM and began with Butch solo for several songs. He was playing songs off his heavily anticipated album "Sycamore Meadows", including Vessels, Atlanta, and 3 Kids in Brooklyn. He played many other new songs, reading the lyrics because some of them were that new. He gave us a taste of what the "One Man Bad" tour would have been like (oh and other than citing "personal reasons" he did not elaborate on why the tour was canceled) by looping several instruments on stage and playing an entire song himself - quite hilarious. He played Mixtape (and Diary of a San Fernando Sexx Star I think - he may have done it with TLGOT's) and Joan as part of his solo set and for fun invited several fans up on stage during Grant Park to play as his band.

After a little over an hour, The-Let's-Go-Out-Tonite's! came out with him and played. Songs included Uncomfortably Numb, The Taste of Red, #1 Summer Jam, Maybe It's Just Me, Best Thing You Never Had, Don't Move, and Race Cars and Goth Rock (with the requisite explanation about his ex-wife--a funnier, tighter version of the story). TLGOT's seemed much tighter on stage than during previous shows. There was a new guitar player and a new percussionist (think rock tambourine)/slide guitar player. Darren Dodd, Wes Flowers, and Randy Michael were there. Fran Capitinelli played on a few tracks with him (I think it was Fran - it was someone off "Letters"). The show was really gearing up when Butch gave the band a break.

Butch went to the piano and began a lengthy narrative of the history of the Marvelous 3, discussing how he, Slug, and Jayce came to be a band (including practicing in the FOP building in Rome, haha). He then segued from the conversation into the beginning of Cigarette Lighter Love Song. He began the song on the piano, as he had for the Tabernacle show last April. When he moved to the mic to bring the band back, Slug and Jayce came out. At least 50 sets of eyeballs fell out from the shock. There was a collective intake from the audience followed by the loudest scream imaginable. They finished the song and also played Indie Queen (which took Butch a second to work out on his guitar, lol). Slug and Jayce then left and TLGOT's came back out. It was disappointing to see them play for so short of a time, but given that I became a Butch fan after the Marvelous 3 broke up, it was an amazing experience to see them play together. Butch played a little longer and left the stage. For the encore he played one song: When Canyons Ruled The World. He had the audience sing along round-style. The band left the stage and he stayed out for the standing ovation.

Ultimately, it was a fabulous show. We stayed afterwards in hopes of saying hey to Butch, but it didn't end up happening. We met several very nice fans both in line and after the show. In total, I had three separate drinks spilled on me, so it was the total rock experience. As I said earlier, I was disappointed that the Marvelous 3 didn't play longer (and that my camera died before they came out!!! gah). Or even better would have been to continue turning back the clock and have Chrystina Lloree come out for some Floyds Funk Revival/The Floyds goodness. I would have liked to have heard more songs off “The Rise and Fall…” as well. Furthermore, he didn’t play one 1969 song, and I would have liked to have heard a few of those songs live. All those criticisms aside, we had a fabulous time. Jesse Malin was the first opener for Butch that I didn’t sit through asking myself “When the hell is this guy gonna shut up so Butch can start.” Jesse was absolutely worth hearing and I’d love to see him play again (or with Butch! A collaborative work between them would freakin’ rock too!). Butch’s voice was perfect – he was hitting notes I didn’t know he could hit! I’m totally stoked for the fall tour now and can’t wait for “Sycamore Meadows” to come out.

I'll leave you with my copy of his audience participation version of Grant Park. The quality of the video is total crap; I apologize in advance. You get the point though (it gets brighter after the first 2 minutes or so).

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