Clearing out my tumblr (originally from June 2015):
Last month, Arcade Fire’s hyperactive sideman, Will Butler, brought his new solo act to the Casbah here in San Diego. The last time I saw Will he was bounding across the stage, playing one instrument after another, in front of about 20,000 Arcade Fire fans on last summer’s Reflektor tour. On this night he offered the same stadium level effort and energy, but this time it was for a sold out crowd of only 200.
Butler and his 3-piece band: 2 female keyboardists-backup vocalists, and a stand-up drummer, played every song but one from his excellent debut album, Policy, which was released earlier this year. The problem with that is that the entire album is less than a half hour long and that left a lot of time to fill on stage. Fortunately Butler seems to already have another album’s worth of material ready to go and these songs were every bit as good as the ones on Policy. There was also a cool cover of The Magnetic Fields’ – “The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure” – which in Butler’s hands retained it’s laconic pace but added a post-punk spikiness.
While Butler didn’t really engage verbally much with the audience, which surprised me for some reason, this was an inspired, energetic performance that had the packed together audience bouncing and swaying and dancing throughout the set. This show was loud and sweaty and really fun from start to finish.