John Butler Trio prove to be headliners at the Pavilion

A review of the John Butler Trio at the Bank of America Pavilion on August 5, 2011

, Managing Editor

After years of appearing at the Bank of America Pavilion as a supporting act for the likes of John Mayer and State Radio, the John Butler Trio finally got their chance to headline the Seaport venue on Friday night. The Aussie axman and co. certainly proved that they could carry a show all on their own with a lively two hour-plus set that kicked off the weekend in grand fashion.

The current lineup of the John Butler Trio, with Nicky Bomba on drums and Byron Luiters on bass, has only been together since 2009 but they play with the chemistry of a veteran band. Bomba and Luiters can certainly hold their own, especially during their Butler-less extended jam that was the highlight of “Funky Tonight”, but Butler’s ability makes it seem as if it almost doesn’t matter who he’s playing with, he’ll make it work. The frontman displayed the range of his talents playing guitar, harmonica, banjo, ukulele, drums, and lap-steel, which he sat with on the opening number “One Way Road”.

The Trio started and ended the show with songs off their latest release, April Uprising, with “Close to You” capping off the night. The new album was well represented in the setlist, mixing in with fan favorites like the smooth reggae of “Groovin’ Slowly” and the sing-along “hoedown” that was “Better Than”. The quality of the new tunes lives up to the band’s past material, proving that there was no drop-off due to the lineup change.

Although Butler has been making music for over a decade, his name is rarely mentioned along with the great guitarists of today, likely due to his modest following. But, if there were one song to prove he belongs in that discussion it’s most certainly “Ocean”. Butler made fans wait as he got political with a speech about the big oil companies trying to move into a part of his native Australia in order to create a gas refinery. Still, he could’ve talked all night but as long as he played this song fans would’ve been perfectly fine with that as the epic instrumental may be one of the greatest things one can witness an artist do with their instrument today.

With brilliant musicianship, an energetic live show, and enough material for over two hours of music, it looks like the John Butler Trio will be the big name on one’s ticket stub from here on in.

Early arrivals caught a set from Butler’s wife, Danielle Caruana, who goes by the stagename of Mama Kin. She later joined Butler during the encore for a duet on the ballad “Losing You”.

One Way Road
Used to Get High
Groovin’ Slowly
Mystery Man
Gonna Be a Long Time
Treat Ya Mama
I’d Do Anything (Soldier’s Lament)
Don’t Wanna See Your Face
Better Than
Funky Tonight
Losing You (w/ Mama Kin)
Close To You

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