Thursday, September 20, 2012

Concert Weekend 9/14 & 9/17 Hooten Hallers and Butterfly Boucher

This will be a slightly strange post, but  here we are. Over this past weekend, I saw both the Hooten Hallers of Columbia, MO and Butterfly Boucher of Nashville by way of Australia. I'm aware this is a bit of a strange mash up, but here are. There were many other bands between these two bills, but I'm only going to talk about the bands we were there to see.

On Friday night, I was a the Off Broadway club with some friends to take in another show by the soon to be legendary Hooten Hallers from the middle of my home state. I had heard of this group in early 2012, but for some reason, I did not really check very deeply into them. I suppose it could be their name. I suppose that even though intellectually I know that the vast majority of great band names are taken, sometimes I'm still a bit put off by what a group, or in this case a duo, chooses to call themselves. I saw them for the first time at El Lenador when they took an open spot on a bill opening up for Left Lane Cruiser and I was floored. I was very excited to see them again and headlining this go around.

As per usual, they start off with their medley of "War With Hell" and "God Loves  a Missouri Boy." When they started out, the singer was playing a lap steel guitar and he just rocks it. The best way I can describe this band is a mix of John Lee Hooker and Joe Cocker, but the one word that went through my mind during their set was groove. I have noticed something about the duos that seem to be springing up constantly. The ones, like the Hooten Hallers, who primarily play blues, tend to seem like a fuller band than those who play rock. One of the things I have heard said about them at the shows was how full they sound with only two people.

During their entire set, they never seemed to miss a note, or fall out of time. For this particular group, I find that rather amazing as the drummer plays the entire show standing up and I am pretty sure the singer is going through seizures, but only when he's either singing or playing guitar. He did not appear to suffer from this malady during the breaks when he was talking. They played a good set in terms of length and it was very loud. They played a very nice mixture of ballads and fast tunes that kept the show both entertaining and varied. This was the second time I had experienced their live show, and I have resolved to make it out to see them every chance I get. They will be back in St. Louis later this month.

On Sunday, I attended a show at the Old Rockhouse as a favor. Butterfly Boucher was opening a show for Missy Higgins. Aside from seeing a signed poster of Ms. Boucher in my house, I was basically completely unfamiliar with her work. I was hoping I would not be seeing another generic artist though. Thankfully, she and rhythm section kept the show fresh and entertaining.

She was the first act of the evening. This for me was a great selling point as spending hours inside of the Old Rock House when it's sold out is not fun. She came out and put on a Fender Telecaster and began talking a bit about how the show was going to be and thanking those who had seen her before and had come back to see her again. I always find it nice when an artist is humbled by the admiration they receive and her saying "Wow, look at all of you tonight!" really showed how much she appreciated what she's gotten from her fans.

As she stated, she played primarily new songs throughout her 40 minute set. As I'm not a fan of her music, both new or old, I wasn't disappointed by her set list at all, though I'm sure were, at least a little bit. I enjoyed her music and the show. I'm considering listening to her new album and really get into it. All of the songs played during her show were on electric guitars, even the song where she was on stage by herself playing a very nice Epiphone hollow bodied guitar.

One of the more interesting aspects of her show was the rotating members of the band. She started off with just herself and the boys on bass and drums, but as she show went one, another woman came out and played guitar on the second song and at the end of the set, both of the other singers came out to perform a couple of songs with Butterfly and the boys. When this happened, there was a shifting of instruments on stage. Butterfly put down her telecaster and picked up the bass that her bassist had set down in favor of a telecaster to play guitar on the final songs of the night. These were the songs that I liked the best, not because the headliner was on stage with them, but because there was guitar work in those and her bassist definitely had some chops on lead guitar as well.

As someone who had barely heard of the performer before the show started, she may have won me over and no one will have to twist my arm to go see her when she returns to St. Louis. Her show was artsy, emotionally sentimental, and fun. She also played a couple songs because she said some fans requested them of her on twitter that morning. Down to earth, funny, and very talented. This show made a believer out of me.

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