– by David Cox
It was a slow start to begin with The John Butler Trio singing their lesser known songs. It had only just gotten dark and the best was saved for later. This gave them room to build up excitement and working their way to getting the crowd to sing along. The show only got more intricate as it went along.
John Butler was laid back and chill, not minding when he fumbled with words when talking to the audience between songs. The audience too didn’t mind and were quite placated when not dancing. One of the most relaxed crowds I’ve seen at a gig with alcohol present, though that could be in part to the beautiful expansive Belvoir amphitheatre’s atmosphere. Located in Middle Swan, the stars shine through the gum trees and sitting down on the grassy ledges make the experience as close to feeling in nature as one can be without leaving an area with electricity. It’s a very calming environment. It went well with The John Butler Trio’s hippy aesthetic and demographic. The vibe was truly relaxed, and only partially due to the strong smell of marijuana smoke that became even more noticeable during “Used to Get High“.
For a band whose career spans nearly 20 years there was a good deal of tracks to choose from for the set list, some bordering on becoming classics due to age, some already there. The set list made sure to cover the expanse of their career for new and old fans alike. Notable moments that really attracted applause from the crowd was when they played their well known songs “Better Than” and “Something’s Gotta Give“.
The true highlight was the solo instrumental performance of “Ocean“, a 12 minute long epic where John Butler busted out some amazing work that built in intensity until it felt like it couldn’t get any better. The audience was gripped, waiting until the end to burst out into applause and cheers.
The band finished with their first single, “Zebra“, rewarding the long time fans for their support over the years and leaving the crowd with a warm nostalgic recollection before they packed up their blankets and left in an orderly fashion.
Photo Credit: David Cox