Concert Review: Bernard Butler & Ben Watt, Drake Underground, July 17


It’s not everyday that your favorite guitarist comes to town.

It’s also not everyday Bernard Butler comes to town either.

The elusive musician is best known as the guitarist of Suede. He left the group halfway through the recording of Dog Man Star, leaving us with all the what ifs in the world. The Butler led Suede is basically my favorite band of all time so count me among the large list of people who constantly wonders what might have been.

Since Suede, Butler has had his hands producing music for the likes of the Libertines, Duffy and Kate Nash. His imprint on the UK music landscape is undeniable.

And there he was at the Drake Underground on Thursday night, as unassuming as ever playing in support of Ben Watt.

To not talk about Ben Watt would do the man injustice. A legend in his own right, Watt is perhaps best known for his partnership with spouse Tracey Thorn in the group Everything But The Girl. This year saw the release of his second album, a dark and personal record named Hendra. his previous record was released on 1984 so it’s suffice to say that the man doesn’t release an album unless he’s got stories to tell.

Ben Watt played a methodically paced show, pausing frequently to tell us stories about each track. The man has had a rough few years, but despite that, he sounded rather great. His vocals have a really soft tone about it and his ability to pen catchy and personal tunes easily separates him from your standard Starbucks coffee house singer. Having not experienced his music at all prior to the show, I came away rather impressed by it all. Bernard Butler would saunter on and off the stage as needed and well frankly, I was mesmerized every time he was on just watching him play. I am not a guitar player by any stretch but I would say he is pretty damn good. Honestly, the whole show I was turned into a fanboy and was all like “Bernard Butler’s 10 (and then 5) feet in front of me”. I don’t think that happens often. He didn’t kick into any sudden Animal Nitrate riffs, but that would have been pretty disrespectful, so I could understand.

With so much history in the room on Thursday, the concert quickly turned into a neat cozy personal and intimate affair. The Undergound was only partially full which sort of gave the crowd a sort of special feeling. Basically one of those “hey can you believe who is actually playing this tiny room” kind of vibe. I certainly couldn’t, and it was great.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

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