Hometown musical genius and former Marvelous 3 frontman, Butch Walker, played to a sold out crowd last night at the Variety Playhouse (still the absolute best venue in Atlanta to see a show, in my opinion). Walker played two shows to kick off his summer tour with his new backing band, the Let’s-Go-Out Tonites, which looks like it’s half made up of local Atlanta band, the Booze. I was amazed at the crowd when I entered the venue, because I only ever see it that packed when hippie bands like Mofro and Umphrey’s McGee come through here. Butch came out on stage wearing a fedora hat and all black get-up, which I thought gave a great effect as the brightest stage lights known to mankind shone down into the crowd creating that "I am the most almighty and powerful musician in the world" effect. He really wailed on all the opening songs, then chilled it down quite a bit with favorites like "Mixtape" and "Don’t Move" from his last album, Letters.
I was basically a virgin to the new stuff from the recently released The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and The Let's-Go-Out Tonites, but I have to say, it has come a long way from the whiny singer/songwriter feel of Walker’s last album. He even managed to throw in a burlesque/cabaret-feeling song that got the crowd back up after a few slower songs. He really does put on a good show as he jumps around the stage using interesting guitar playing techniques and witty faces to keep the crowd's attention.
I only have one complaint. Obviously the Let's-Go-Out Tonites make up the backing band, and I can dig them as a band. What I cannot dig is the two chicks that stand on the side of the stage and shake the tambourine, sing backing vocals you can’t even hear, and flail around like a couple of pseudo-go-go dancers. For someone who self proclaims that they’re all about themselves (cough . . . Butch Walker . . . cough), the addition of these girls completely distracts from him. I’d rather focus on him, since he, after all, is the performer, but instead, I was focused on these girls and baffled at why the hell they were standing up there on stage exhibiting moves and wardrobe worthy of Cyndi Lauper. They didn’t really serve a purpose.
After the show, I headed over to Two Urban Licks for the private after party for Butch put together by Caren West PR. This is the second party of hers that I’ve been to in a week, and I have to give her props, because the girl can put on a stellar party. Anyone in the music industry that I’ve ever rubbed elbows with was there, and it was quite amusing to see the band boys all kiss Butch’s ass so profusely. Aww, how cute. I wonder how many of those band boys were booing Butch last year when he won Best Frontman at the AMG Awards, hmm?
Regardless of that, I have to give the guy a thumbs-up. Not only is he talented, but he’s a nice guy and clearly genuinely believes in what he’s doing and singing. You get a gold star, Butch, just leave the Cyndi Lauper wannabes at home next time, and you’ll be close enough to live perfection for me.