John Butler Trio @ Manchester Academy

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After a five-year absence since they toured the UK, the John Butler Trio came back with a fine-tuned album and gig last month.

Having released three live albums alongside three studio albums, the trio put their work into their live performances and this tour only solidified this trend.

Front man John Butler has abandoned his legendary dreadlocks for a curly bob with his suiting beard, drinking from his hipflask, which I hope contained a strong spirit for the incredible atmosphere the audience brought.

After several different trio set ups, the recent band consists of Byron Luiters on bass and drummer Grant Grathy, which offered a new dynamic to the live performance.

The most recent album, Flesh and Blood (2014), was well received by the audience with featured tracks “Blame It On Me” and “Devil Woman”.

They entered on “Revolution” from April Uprising (2010) and started the real energy with “Used To Get High” from Grand National (2007).

The “Hoe-Down” maintained this energy which left the audience gleaming especially in the reminiscent, upbeat “Pickapart” (2000).

The floor fell silent when Butler was left on stage to perform the twelve minute guitar solo, “Ocean” which displays his well-nurtured talents since the record was released in 1998 on a self-titled album.

His fingers were a blur with the intricate chords and I wouldn’t be shocked if not one person didn’t get goosebumps during this performance.

An extended version of the 2004 hit Zebra was the final encore leading the floor with the longstanding fans going crazy for the addictive riff.

Whilst he might not be a household name, John Butler has still got the ‘funk’ he brought to the stage in his 15-year career.

John Butler Trio’s latest album ‘Flesh and Blood’ is out now.

Photography by Tom Porter.

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