Tag Archives: Butch Walker

6/10/15: Butch Walker w/Jonathan Tyler & The Dove and the Wolf @ The Fox Theater- Boulder, CO

  Butch Walker is your favorite songwriter that you’ve never heard of. He has written and produced a number of hit songs for other artists such as Weezer, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, Fallout Boy, Katy Perry, and the Wombats, to name a few. While I’m sure that you’ve heard at least one of these tracks, you haven’t HEARD Butch Walker until you’ve been to a Butch Walker show.

   Midweek shows are pretty rough, especially when it’s in the middle of an insanely busy work week. Add to that the fact that the show was in Boulder, which is a hour from my house, and I knew it was meant to be a long night. I convinced my friend Dan, the singer of the Denver punk band Wiredogs, to make the trip up with me. He had never heard of Butch Walker before, and since he is currently working on a solo acoustic album I though he’d benefit from seeing Butch’s show.
   We arrived in Boulder early enough to grab a few drinks and some beef tongue tacos, then headed into the venue. 
   The Fox Theater was smaller than I imagined it would be, with an official capacity of only 625. It’s lobby, multi-tiered layout, and tall ceilings were echoes of the rooms previous movie theater incarnation. 
   There was two opening acts before Butch Walker took stage, both having their own strengths and weaknesses. The first was a French duo, The Dove and the Wolf. What they lacked in song diversity was made up for in spot on harmonies. They even did one song in their native French, and for all I know they could have been singing about dead babies… But everything sounds better in French, so it was all good. They played for about half an hour, then the other opening act, Jonathan Tyler, took the stage, looking like Marty Mcfly in Back to the Future 3, but with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. 
    I’d never heard of either of the openers before, so when Tyler started playing I had no idea what to expect. His songs and guitar skills were good, but it was his bluesy, soulful voice that stood above the rest of his performance. Yet, it felt something was missing. I found out after that he usually has a full electric band that he tours with, which I think would have filled the perceived void perfectly. 
   After Jonathan Tyler, Butch Walker set out to take us on a two-plus hour adventure. If you’ve never been to one of his shows the first thing you need to know is that they have the pacing of a freight train. Every one I’ve been to, including the Boulder show, have started off with Butch playing a few slow, piano accompanied songs, then doing a few on the acoustic guitar, all leading up to breaking out an electric guitar and shredding his more uptempo songs. 
   He too was without his band on this tour, but he had a kick drum set up that he was playing with his foot and he also brought both of his opening acts on stage with him for a few songs. 
   Ever the king of creating an emotional attachment with his audience, Butch brought his 8 year old son James on stage to sing a song with him. Throughout his set he also occasionally went into storyteller mode, adding a personal depth to his songs.
  After his main set, Butch began the encore with a 10 minute story about his father and the last song he played for him before he died. The crowd was visibly moved as he played his last few songs, to the point where I saw more than a few people who had tears in their eyes. As he said his goodnight and walked off the stage the person behind me exclaimed that they ‘needed a group hug after all that’. 
   As we walked back to my car, Dan told me how inspired he was by the show to go write more of his own songs. To me, that’s the difference between a musical artist and an entertainer. An entertainer captures your attention for a limited time. An artist affects your soul. Having seen him a few times, I can say without a doubt that Butch Walker is a highly talented artist! If he ever is playing a show in your area and you miss it, you are doing an incredible disservice to yourself!

Georgia, Georgia

Breakout Tour: Day 23
The Lantern Tavern
Rome, GA

We had to wake up early because we were supposed to meet Root’s uncle in Rome, GA for lunch and we were still 6 hours away. Nate and I were up, showered, and ready to go by the time the rest of the guys showed up to the hotel to pick us up. We stopped and grabbed a quick breakfast, and finally made it on our way by about 9:15 a.m. (Central time, that is!).

Things were going smoothly and we were making good time until one point, right before the Tennessee/Georgia state line, traffic came to a complete standstill. There were orange signs pointing to an impending construction zone so we figured we would be stop and go for a bit. What we didn’t count on was being at an absolute standstill for nearly 3 hours. People in the surrounding cars began to get restless about an hour in and got out of their cars and started milling about.

For us, it wasn’t as bad as I imagine it was for some. We have our bunks, so we rotated out the person sitting in the driver’s seat while the rest of us chilled out in our own spaces. I passed the time watching a movie and doing internet searches on my phone trying to find out what was causing the road closure but everyone must have had the same idea because it was taking forever to load the pages on the extremely bogged down cellular network.

When traffic started moving we all breathed a sigh of relief. We were now quite a bit late, but as long as we were able to get moving there was no longer the risk of missing the show. With traffic advancing at a snails pace we finally made it up to the cause of our delay. A semi truck was pushed off to one side of the road, facing the wrong way. Busted guardrails lined the highway, and there were tell tale signs of a worse situation that had already been cleaned up. As we passed the semi we saw it’s trailer, sitting upright, but now in the shape of a V, the middle nearly touching the ground and the top a crumpled mess of twisted and folded metal.

Seeing bad accidents is a sobering thing. With all the traveling that we do we’ve been more than fortunate in that aspect and everyone of us is thankful for such. Seeing situations like the one we passed impresses on us the need for extra safe driving habits, which we practice anyway.

We made good time on the rest of the trip and arrived in Rome, GA about 7:00 pm. We met up with Root’s uncle Kevin who had gotten us hotel rooms for the night. The people that needed to shower did, after which all of us including Kevin headed over to the venue.

While we’ve never been to Rome before, we’ve all heard of it. Rome, GA is the home town of one of the band’s favorite artists, Butch Walker. (If you’ve never heard him, get up on that!) .

The Lantern, we were told, is one of the last beer only (no liquor!) clubs in the region. They told us they wanted to keep it that way too because they were working on building a scene that was more geared to discovering, listening to, and enjoying music, as opposed to becoming another pub where people go to get hammered and the music that bands play is tuned out by drunk ears. It seemed to be working for them, because they had booked some decent mid level acts, plenty of which I’ve heard of.

The guy running the sound, who also happened to be the owner’s husband, was an avid musician and loved to talk about all things music, from instruments he owned to people he’s worked with. He also took great passion in getting the sound right, both on stage and for the crowd.

The local that was meant to play on the bill dissolved their band the previous week, so it was just Dive and us for the night. Nate was feeling almost completely better, having taken it easy for the last few days, so that took a lot of stress out of the evening. The people that came out all made for a high energy crowd, their dancing and cheering driving both bands to play harder.

After the show we decided to head straight back to the hotel that Root’s uncle had gotten us. The Dive guys were going to get a jump on driving because they had a place they were going to spend some time at when they reached Wilmington, NC.

It was a bit muggy outside, the Georgia air hugging us like a wet blanket. We packed up all our gear as quickly as we could, and got set to take off. The hotel room with air conditioning sounded so good that there were no complaints when we said it was time to roll out and head to bed.