Gig review: John Butler Trio, Glasgow

John Butler has been big news back in his native Australia for the past decade, but the rest of the world is catching up, particularly in response to the live shows.

John Butler Trio. Picture: Facebook

John Butler Trio - O2 Academy, Glasgow

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In addition to producing six studio albums, the John Butler Trio have also released three live albums, which tells you something about where the priorities lie.

There is an element of guitar clinic to Butler’s performance. Although ably backed by bassist Byron Luiters and drummer Grant Gerathy, the focus was firmly on the frontman as a purveyor of stringed instruments, and he was able to elicit an ecstatic reaction from the audience packing out the lower level of the Academy purely for his technique. Delving into his box of tricks, he could make an acoustic 12-string reverberate with electric effects or a banjo sound initially more like an acoustic guitar before kicking into full hoedown mode, to the delight of the fans.

Often, the band would default to bluesy, funky Aussie Red Hot Chili Peppers mode, losing momentum with snoozy blues licks and lengthy, melodic, but noodling solos. The crowd demanded a more exciting strain of virtuosity and was granted an energetic slide guitar rave-up (with less welcome rap interlude and drum solo).

But the highlight of the show was a sonorous solo percussive raga, the kind of thing that would send susceptible hippies into paroxysms of rapture in the late 1960s and apparently packs the same potency in 2014.

Seen on 26.04.14