John Butler Trio & Blue King Brown @ The Hordern Pavilion 03.09.10
Writing when you are emotionally and mentally clueless is a really crap thing to do, I wouldn’t recommend it. You sit at the computer, look at the screen, and try to think up clever opening lines that will grab people’s attention – nothing comes naturally or flows from the imagination. It completely sucks. It’s like trying to squeeze water out of a bone-dry sponge; it just doesn’t happen.
To be to the point, that is what is happening to me right now. I’m literally staring at this stupid computer screen like a runty lab-rat, and I can’t think of one word to string together with another that would make any sense, or to be of anyone’s interest. Writing these above two paragraphs alone has taken me 45 minutes.
I have theories about why my pen has no ink; my mind has no stimulus, and; my clock is not ticking. I’ve been awed. My emotional ‘need-to-escape’ vault has been sucked dry with the John Butler Trio Hoover. That is my honest theory. You see, one of the reasons I write is to ‘get stuff out’ – a kind of release if you will. Sometimes I have to push myself to write, and other times my ‘need-to-escape’ vault is overflowing which makes it easier. Right now, my vault is an eternal vat of ‘Mr. Clean’ polished shine. There is nothing pressing.
You see, I went to this show last Friday night at the Hordern Pavillion for two of my most favourite bands. I was probably more excited about the supporting act than the main event.
One of the newest Triple J migrants is a Reggae / Blues / Soul band called ‘Blue King Brown’. They completely dominated the crowd – everyone loved them. If you ask me, there is not enough good Reggae floating around in today’s septic system, and now that Blue King Brown have reared their ugly heads, i expect to be hearing a lot more of this style of music played on mainstream radio. They have just released a new album called ‘ Worldwize’ (which i already own and would highly recommend) on the 20th August 2010. They headlined with songs from this album like ‘Not Too Late’, ‘Never Fade Away’ and ‘Women’s Revolution’. They had the crowd rapped around their little finger with small, solo renditions of songs like ‘Billy Jean’ by Michael Jackson and ‘Bombtrack’ by Rage Against The Machine (another very politically vocal band).
I was surprised at how well Blue King Brown were accepted by the crowd. I would have thought that an upcoming Reggae band in today’s bodgy-music-society would have been booed off the stage. BUT NO! They milked the crowd of all energy beyond comprehension. I guess that I just have to remember that there actually are some people out there with decent taste buds for succulent music.
Blue King Brown have a really tasty Reggae groove concreted deep within their music called Sync Bass, or a ‘syncopated bass line’ accompanied with a simply decorated syncopated drum beat; much like grooves and beats from some more well-known bands like UB40 and artists like Bob Marley. It’s really vivacious and fruity. In my opinion, there is too little Reggae in the music going round today. Blue King Brown are probably the most leading Reggae band going around these days. There definitely should be more of it.
I can see why John Butler Trio chose these guys to support. Blue King Brown are activists. Upon sussing out their website, it seems as though they are legit about their fight for… stuff, good stuff. They have links to websites and info on: Human Rights, Indigenous Justice and Equality, Sex Trafficking and Fair Trade. It’s all very well that they provide links to these sorts of things on the website and talk publically about it, but the lead singer, Natalie, has actually gone through and written descriptions on each coalition, organistion, group and cause for every link – and there are a lot of links…
In this way, Blue King Brown are very much like John Butler Trio. In the short break between the supporting band and the main blow, John Butler came on with his Aboriginal mate, Joe Roe (who is an elder in an Indigenous tribe in the Kimberleys in Western Australia) to talk about the new oil rig they want to implement on his land in the coming years. There was a whole campaign about it called ‘Save The Kimberleys’, and another called ‘Close The Gap’ – which was about the reasons behind the huge difference in life expectancy between Aboriginals and ‘white’ Australians. So overall, the gig was really ‘campaign’ focused. I don’t want to write too much about the campaign side of the gig because this is not a political blog – even though I do encourage you to all be socially aware.
John Butler ripped it up. Accompanied with a relatively new band members, John Butler carried forward his legacy of true blues and roots. He has such exceptional musical talent, it seeps from under his shirt out into the crowd where it captures everyone under a bubble of mellow soul. John Butler Trio push themselves to the limit, straining to attain pure musical bliss within themselves on stage. They are tight and work tremendously as a unit; reading each other’s faces and musical progressions to work with the evolution and sequence of music.
There is always an element of improvisation at a John Butler Trio gig. There is such excitement in watching these guys play together because they create and build melodies, harmonies, beats and progressions right in front of your ears. They take their music on journeys all over the place, and you hear something different in every track. They played a set of almost 150 minutes – way above the average for gigs around Sydney.
John Butler got the audience fired up and really involved in the music. Their set list consisted of tracks like: ‘Groovin Slowly’, ‘One Way Road’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Zebra’, ‘Funky Tonight’, ‘I’d Do Anything’, ‘Used To Get High’ and ‘Peaches And Cream’. There were more tracks as well, but i just can’t remember them all (including a 20 minute improv dedicated to ‘the best show of his career (Sydney… hehe)’ – which, i’ll have you know, was NOT ‘Ocean‘).
They did three tracks for their encore, the last of which was ‘Peaches And Cream’. They had the whole audience singing along with ‘… all i know is, all i know is, i love you, yes i love you’. I don’t know how many times we repeated it – but it sorta went on for a long time… a very long time. It really made the crowd feel ‘at home’.
Overall, it was an exceptional gig. A class – completely, it was a fabulous show. I would go as far as to rate it with 4 STARS. I will definately be seeing these guys the next time they rear their heads in Sydney.