Show Review: John Butler Trio at The Independent

by Laura B. Whitmore
Posted Feb 21, 2014 at 12:28pm

Want to see some really sick guitar playing?

So did I. That’s why I hauled it over to The Independent in San Francisco last night to see the killer performance of the John Butler Trio.

With selections ranging from trippy reggae-tinged sing-alongs to lovely harmony-laden ballads and straight out rock tunes, the set was not only varied, it was enthralling.

The trio as a whole were incredibly tight, with Byron Luiters on bass and new drummer Grant Gerathy joining the fold.

Butler not only showed his varied guitar talents, he created a masterful tone palette utilizing a variety of pedals, a Marshall half-stack, and more with his instruments, which included 6-string and 12-string acoustics, banjo, resonator guitar and a couple of electrics. I’m talking some truly innovative and inventive stuff that was going on here!

Top selections for the night included “Only One” from his latest album, Flesh and Blood. Other cuts from the album that satisfied were “Spring to Come,” “How You Sleep at Night” and a rousing closer of “Living in the City.” “Devil Woman” was just plain frolicking fun.

But it was his live solo performance of “Ocean” that pretty much blew everyone’s mind ten times over. The virtuosic guitar technique coupled with the waves of intensity pulled back into soul-satisfying resolution were truly moving and jaw-dropping. Holy moly.

Here’s the studio version, but I am telling you, nothing can compare to this live!

The sold out crowd was a mass of bouncing, swaying bodies and each one of them loved every minute. Oh, and kudos to the sound man. The mix was perfection.

If you haven’t checked out the latest from John Butler, I strongly recommend you do. This is truly one of the best shows I have seen in the past 12 months and, just wow.

There are more dates on the tour. Run!!
Tour dates here: johnbutlertrio.com