Live Review: John Butler Trio, Koi Child

25 January 2016 | 1:27 pm | Mark Beresford

"It's typically difficult to describe a John Butler Trio gig as anything but a party, but three songs deep in their set and there wasn't a spark to be seen."

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Local openers Koi Child were the surprise package of the night. Though they didn't draw a massive crowd to their early slot, they still managed to bring about a spirit and excitement to a lacklustre amphitheatre. Running through Wumpa Fruit, the smooth bass grooves hit a thick dub melody with MC Shannon Patterson showing sharp mic skills. The timing changed and the band's genre snaps back and forth on stage were impressive and instantly engaged the audience; it was impossible to tell where the songs would travel to next. Running off with their latest single 1-5-9, their short set was a genuine treat for early arrivals.

It's typically difficult to describe a John Butler Trio gig as anything but a party, but three songs deep in their set and there wasn't a spark to be seen. The band members appeared disconnected from each other and those watching. The crowd chatter rising above the speaker stacks was telling, and it was looking like a dud night was a certainty. While the slow building resonance of John Butler's 12-string began to grasp the audience's attention, the drop into the fast-paced triplet of Betterman, Used To Get High and Pickapart finally let things gel. The trio appeared to instantly loosen into wild, freestyle playing that lit up the stage and the attendees' faces.

Interestingly, although Butler is most known for the acoustic style that has built the majority of his catalogue, it's his wailing electric six-string sound and power on Blame It On Me that proved to be the set highlight, as the trio feasted on each other's cues to create a swirling and contagious energy that drew the floor in and refused to let go.

As they took the night out with surefire pleasers in Better Than and Zebra, watching the trio lead an almighty singalong and create a mess of dancing bodies it was evident their party vibe is still there; it just took a little longer to come out on this night.

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