Thursday, January 2, 2014

Butch Walker @ The Stone Pony - Asbury Park, NJ 10/30/13

I'll admit it.  Up until a year ago I had never heard of Butch Walker.  A friend of mine snuck him into a collaborative playlist of mine for a long road trip that I was heading out on.  Before playing 'Sythesizers' on loop for the next hour I had no idea of his start in the late 80's - early 90's hair metal band Southgang.  I did not know he was the creative force behind the 90's one hit wonder Marvelous 3.  No inkling of the hits he had written for P!nk, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Weezer, and Fall Out Boy.  Just one catchy pop song that I could not stop listening too.

Over the next year I have pretty much immersed myself into his entire catalog, working backwards.  Each disc finding new favorites.  Finding more songs to relate and attach myself to.  The deeper I got into his catalog the better it seemed to get.  Butch's lyrics are heartfelt and often drawing on personal experience. Things the loss of his mother-in-law (Joan), losing everything is a fire (Going Back/Going Home) or his experiences in the music industry (Summer of '89).  This makes it so easy to relate to him.  You feel like you are there by his side.  Like a friend that is experiencing everything that he is. 


You won't hear him on the radio...but as Butch don't hear Ryan Adams on the radio either but he still sells out everywhere.  Many critics say that he gives away his best songs.  And he will quickly point out a hit song is not always a good song.  Well said Butch.

Naturally, after this,  I saw his documentary.  I read his book.  It started to border on obsession.  I started to hear about the legend of his live shows.  Just as I assumed that the Georgia boy would never visit my neck of the woods in NJ he released the Peachtree Battle EP and announced a tour date at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ.  There was no way that I was going to miss that show at an intimate venue like that.

As a surprise Birthday gift my co-workers bought me a ticket.  You gotta love co-workers that have good taste.  I arrived early as I wanted to buy a shirt and get a good spot near the stage.  The stage is low so you can get really close.

The opening act was Marc Scibilia.  I had not heard of him prior to this.  He was from Nashville by way of NY.  I was very surprised as he even seemed to channel a little Springsteen.  Talking to the crowd I quickly realized I was one of the few who had not seen Butch in concert yet.  The group in front of me had seen his previous two shows in Baltimore and Philadelphia so they were a dedicated bunch. 

Butch finally came to the stage and started off with Joan.  We was unaccompanied at the piano.

The crowd new every word.  To just about every song.  Many of the fans had birthday presents for Butch, including REALLY good bottles of Jameson.

After a couple of songs at the piano he moved to center stage with his guitar.  As it was Mischief Night his guitar tech was dressed as Iron Man.

 He played crowd favorites like Mixtape.  When it came time for Freak of the Weak the crowd really started getting into it.  Butch promptly sung the wrong verse by accident.  A little shaken he stepped up to the mic and said that he couldn't sing this song.  He asked for a volunteer from the audience to finish it for him.  The volunteer was one of the group that had been following his shows.  She didn't let us down and did a great job.

The band came out and they were rocking!  This tour did not include the Black Widows but they were a suitable replacement.


They played a mix of new songs from Peachtree Battle (I've Been Waiting for This, Coming Home) and old (Going Back/Going Home, The Weight of Her) and favorites (She Likes Hair Bands, Synthesizers, Summer of '89).  Even fighting with a cold Butch sounded and played great.


I was impressed by how intimate he was with his audience.  Sharing stories about life on the road and the significance of his new EP and recently losing his father.  His father was a major influence in his life and these were emotional songs.  He also made sure that we knew he was a guitar god in his former life.  He can shred without a doubt.

There were many great intros with the likes of Teenage Wasteland and Come on Eileen.  As the night was coming to a close there were rumors of Halloween costumes.  The encore started out like this.

The energy was unreal!  Butch made his way through the crowd to do a shot at the bar.

The encore was Hot Girls in Hot Moods.  While in the audience he asked us to all sit and listen.  Then he asked us to all sing along so that his father could hear.  He also complained about how uncomfortable the costumes were.  lol.

The night was incredible and unforgettable.  The setlist was amazing.

After the show, as I waited to to see if Butch would come out (In his autobiography is entitled, "Drinking with Strangers") I managed to get one of his used guitar pics from a tech and a concert poster from a bouncer.  The band came out and had a few beers with the crowd but Butch was said to be under the weather. Even so, It was a night to remember.  Definitely a top 10 show.  When he comes to NJ again...or anywhere close...I.AM.THERE!  I will leave you with the link to his latest disc,  Peachtree Battle EP.  It was majorly influenced by his father suffering with health issues.  Surprisingly, it is still upbeat.

See you at the next show!



  1. Great first post! Keep 'em coming. I've heard his name for years but never checked him out.Think I probably should now.

    1. Thank you Scott! I just want to do these justice.

      Definitely check him out. Start with Spade. It is really good stuff. Power Pop and Alt-Country all combined


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