Lizzy Brookes reviews the John Butler Trio gig that took place at Plymouth Pavilions on Saturday 3rd May, 2014.
A revolution is the overthrowing of an order, or a dramatic change in favour of a new system. This is fittingly something that the John Butler Trio and support act Brett Dennen created on Saturday evening; allow me to explain…
The venue was initially quiet; I know it wasn’t a sold-out gig and the aura was pretty relaxed. I had imagined it to be a highly anticipated gig for the South West, and chatting with a couple of fans in the Ladies confirmed to me this theory! However, there was no sign of any rushing about and it certainly didn’t seem like there had been people queuing for hours to get in.
Walking into the main arena there was a lot of empty space for standing ticket-holders, but the top seated tier looked rather full (personally I see no logic in buying tickets that get you further from the stage and with no room to boogie, but I guess there’s something for everybody!)
This is where the revolutionary transformation came about; Brett Dennen laid down the initial groundwork, with his upbeat pop/folk vibe. Then from the moment JBT took to the stage, all previous floor-sitters behind the main cluster of the audience turned back from their ways, compacting to form a close-knit crowd. With the atmospheric beginnings of their perfectly chosen introductory track ‘Revolution’, the crowd was captivated and (as the lyrics say) there was a “revolution already under way.”
The Trio displayed an amazing array of talents throughout; Butler in particularly. He started with his 12-string guitar, with which he always intentionally removes a string, apparently giving it a more stable and sonically balanced sound. This especially sounded beautiful during his very anticipated ‘Oceans’, (emphasis on very – the girls next to me were screaming out for it psychotically). The percussion was flawless and the bassist casually drifted to his huge double bass every now and then. John also switched between instruments, including an electric, a six-string and a banjo for their bouncier tracks.
During one of the quieter songs, we tried moving through the crowd to get away from the people who seemed allergic to any motion, in search of some dancers we could join. However, I ended up being surrounded by giants and had to watch a lot of the gig through their phone screens whilst they held them high to take snaps – (oh the shame of being 5″4!)
However, I did thoroughly enjoy bopping up and down to tracks such as ‘I Used to Get High For A Living‘ – the drum roll introduction got everyone excited- they recognised it instantly. ‘Don’t Wanna See Your Face’ found me dancing again and ‘Only One’ and ‘Devil Woman’ from JBT’s newest album were fantastic – definitely worth a listen if you haven’t heard them already. They even played ‘Zebra‘ (my favourite!!) which actually got the seated guys up and out of their chairs with a case of the funky feet!
The Trio have travelled the world with their music and we felt privileged to be a part of the Flesh and Blood Tour.