I missed Butch Walker’s concert in Atlanta last week because I was originally supposed to have moved to Chicago by then, and it was already sold out by the time I realized I would still be here due to delays in filming my movie. Fortunately, he announced an acoustic in-store performance at Criminal Records, and I was able to make it to that with my friend Jenna last Sunday! He played four tracks off his new album, The Spade: “Dublin Crow,” “Closest Thing to You I’m Gonna Find” (my favorite off The Spade,) “Synthesizers,” and “Summer of ’89.” It’s always great seeing Butch play live, even if it’s only for a few songs.
What made this one really cool was they had a photobooth set up to help raise money for Criminal Records, where you could get your picture with Butch. And, of course, I did. Pics below!
Everyone who knows me who has ever heard me talk about music knows that I’m a huge Butch Walker fan. He is by far my favorite artist, and has been for over a decade now. There’s something about his music and lyrics that really moves me, and is easy for me to relate to. Regardless of the mood I’m in or what I’m feeling at a particular time, he has a song for that (hmm, I think there’s an iPhone add in there…) And not only does he have a song for whatever it is, he has the RIGHT song for it. So anytime I get the chance to see him play live, I jump at it. I’ve jumped almost 20 times now.
Is it really any surprise that this site is named after one of his songs? (note: this was written when the blog was hosted on my IntoTheBlack.com domain)
This was Butch’s final stop on a four city minitour (like a minotaur, but with roadies) that took him from LA, to NY, to Chicago, and finally ATL. He’s had a four show residency in each city, where he takes a night each for his last three albums (Letters, The Rise & Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonites, and Sycamore Meadows,) and then one more show that’s a grab bag of songs from throughout his career that was voted on by his fans over Twitter. When I ordered tickets, I had originally intended to buy them for the Letters show, as the grab bag show was sold out & Letters is my favorite album. However, due to a mistake on the Ticketmaster site, the shows had been mislabeled, and I had actually purchased tickets for the grab bag show. In any case, it’s certainly nothing I’d complain about.
My friend Krissy went with me to the concert, and it was her first experience with Butch Walker. She’d probably heard some of his music before just from being around me, but she hadn’t heard any of his albums, let alone seen him live. And seriously, if you want to introduce someone to Butch’s music, the absolute best way is by taking them to one of his shows. The man’s not just a songwriter; he’s a storyteller.
The opening act was Jarrod Gorbel, who I’d heard play before with his former band The Honorary Title at one of Butch’s shows a couple years ago. He played an acoustic set that was really good, and the guy had a great personality and sense of humor (also, he looks like a cross between Jared Leto & Toby Maguire.) I scrounged together the last of the cash I had on me to buy his EP on the way out.
Of course when Butch came out, the place went crazy. Or at least as crazy as a small intimate venue could; he commented that he liked actually being able to see the audience (incidentally, we were able to get seats in the fifth row, which rocked.) Before he started, Butch mentioned how weird it was to be playing some of these songs, as some he hadn’t played in years, some he didn’t think he’d ever played live, and some he never wanted to play again (he’s looking at you, “Vampires in Love.”) But hey, we’d sealed our doom by voting for them, so he was going to play them (cheat sheets and all.)
It was great hearing some of the old favorites I hadn’t heard live in a while (“Let Me Go” and “Every Monday,”) as well as a bluegrassy version of “Valium.” For “Grant Park,” he kicked back and just played the guitar part and let us sing the song back to him, which is always fun; I don’t think I’ve actually heard him sing “Grant Park” in the last six years, even though I know he’s played it several times. He played a number of covers, from the familiar (James’ “Laid” has been a staple for a few years now) to the new (Simon & Garfunkle’s “Cecilia”, which Butch played on a mandolin, and excited my friend because it was the only song she knew all the lyrics to.) Butch also played a couple of tracks off his new album (which can’t get here soon enough), and then ended the evening with an unplugged version of “Take Tomorrow”, a beautiful song in its own right, but so much better when played with just a guitar and a voice, without the aid of amps or mics.
It was an awesome show, as expected. There were a few songs I would have liked to have heard (“Cigarette Lighter Love Song” is my favorite song of all time, and I also would have liked to have heard “Into the Black,” “Stateline,” or “Katrina,”) but I really can’t complain because the show still rocked my socks off (and when it’s twenty degrees outside, that can be a problem.) Below is the full setlist from the show, and all my photos can be found on my Flickr.
Butch Walker Setlist, 7 Stages Theatre, Atlanta, GA – January 13, 2010