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John Butler Trio

With Special Guest

Nattali Rize

 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Athletic Club of Bend

Doors 5:30PM | Show Time 6:30PM

$38 General admission tickets - available online and at Newport Avenue Market.

$86 Dinner tickets  - available at the Athletic Club of Bend. Dinner ticket price includes GA access. Dinner to be served by Bistro 28.

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Songs


Bio

The Man in the Mirror

The contradictions in John Butler are evident, and, despite his magnificently successful career (with number one albums in Australia and sell-out tours) his is a troubled soul. One of the most successful recording artists Australia has ever produced and a musician whose reputation has begun to rock the waters of both Europe and America, Butler is nevertheless a man on the edge, poised like a beautiful suicide. Where will he go next? Up or down? Despite the tensions within the man and his music the new album makes his future trajectory abundantly clear.

An independent role model, founder of Australia’s Jarrah Records, family man and proud skateboard aficionado, JB, in spite of his matey public persona, remains an enigma. He is from everywhere and nowhere, an Australian/American, Everyman/Nowhere Man, and his music mixes rootedness and rootlessness, pain and celebration in a way that is utterly beguiling. He is the consummate rebel-refugee whose songs chart disenchantment with the corporate world and show a yearning for truth along with an ongoing struggle for a sense of locus. The songs’ off-centre grooves have always been their charm, and yet now there is a sense, in the new album at least, of resolution and peace after years of being against the world and what it offered. Maybe the man on the brink will not jump after all?

The Past

Born in California and of mixed Australian, Greek and Bulgarian ancestry, Butler began his musical career in classic if tentative style. The narrative arc is well-known Down Under. An art-school dropout, he was ‘discovered’ busking in 1996, bystanders marvelling at ‘the sweat flying off his brow’ and ‘the holy madness in his eyes’. The tape of these early compositional soundscapes Searching for Heritage gave an inkling of where Butler was going, reaching as it did both forwards and backwards in time, conversant with all genres and yet somehow defining its own. The sound had, and still has, elements of folk, funk, reggae and rock all drizzled through the 90s Seattle sensibility. Behind all that there was a wistful Celtic ambience surreally counterpointed by a Jamaican roots/rudeboy vibe. What could have been a mess somehow made perfect sense, with the bluegrass fingerpicking, hip hop beats and psychedelic wig-outs proving not uneasy bedfellows but perfect complements.

Now

On Flesh & Blood it goes even further, yet with a restraint that bespeaks a deepening maturity. There are dirty Stevie Wonder-style boogies, ghostly refrains that could come from Simon and Garfunkel, sonic poltergeists which seem, at times, to resemble lost rock classics. In the hands of a lesser man this would be mere thievery dressed up as ‘eclecticism’. But Butler is a maestro - he takes his influences and transcends them. He creates a sound that is as ancient as aboriginal bone-art and yet as modern as your Twitter feed. He has been hailed as one of the world’s greatest guitarists, a musician’s musician, one whose sound offers not three chords and the truth but a thousand. His prestidigitation is astounding. An old song like “Ocean,” for example, has chalked up 30 million Youtube hits, and not just with guitar freaks studying his technique. The new album has songs that are less expansive and more ‘reined in’, but the playing is all the more impressive for being more tightly corralled. Less sometimes really is more.

Flesh & Blood may be his best yet. In parts it is simply overwhelming. The album has captured that elusive thing: soul. Butler has spoken in interviews of his songs being like ‘wild horses, wild beasts’ and you can see what he means. Songs, he says, come from the ‘ether’, from a savage hinterland: they must be caught without breaking their spirit. A ‘song-capturer’, Butler’s job has been not to tame those horses but to present their wildness. His myth of composition evokes the timeless expanse of both the Aussie Outback and the American West, and he and his fellow band members have been at pains to honour the songs as independent things that belong to no one, least of all themselves.

Arising from a series of agenda-free jams in Butler’s studio ‘The Compound’ in Fremantle, (Australia) the album took a mere 20 days to record and, though beautifully structured in sonic terms, there is a rawness and honesty to the album that reflects the brevity of its laying down. The songs have a wide-open, semi-improvised feel. The crisp and beautifully spare production of Jan Skubiszewski accentuates the sense of limitless space: the drums (courtesy of the aptly named Nicky Bomba) kick with dub explosions, while the bass (‘Lord’ Byron Luiters) goes on inspired transient walkabouts. Butler’s voice, free of the ‘anger’ that has dogged him for so long, now soars with both melancholy and plangent purity. “Wings are Wide” evokes rainforests: it is drenched in dizzying guitar loops in which the listener is enmeshed and lifted timelessly elsewhere. “Spring to Come” could be a classic, Butler’s acrylic fingernails plucking more of their extraordinary patterns. “Blame it on Me” is a cocky peacock-strut juxtaposed with dark references to apocalyptic ‘heavy times’. “Young and Wild” has the simple beauty of a song - a down home-country feel offset by the gorgeous shadowing of female vocalist Ainslie Wills. “How You Sleep at Night” is a hypnotically anthemic piece featuring the ferocious drumming of new man Grant Gerathy; Bomba having jumped ship (albeit amicably) to front his own Melbourne Ska Orchestra. The synth-anchored “You’re Free” sounds like its title: it is as if the composer, haunted by righteous ire, has taken flight, escaping earthly confines but not flying too close to the sun. New single “Only One” shows a new maturity in pop craftsmanship. The quiet/loud dynamic is beautifully exploited yet again. A simple three note refrain and rolling storm-cloud drums establishes a minor key mood: a place of ‘castles built out of sand’ and ‘something haunting’ the protagonist. But then the chorus erupts with steel drum euphoria transporting the listener to what sounds like Africa — a third world of ecstatic being. That is the JB trick par excellence: the shift from fireside ballad to communal dance, from private to public, from doubt to assertion.

Home Again

With Flesh & Blood, Butler has come full circle. Searching for Heritage led ultimately to April Uprising, an album that delved into Butler’s family history, one in which ethnic Bulgarians (Butler’s kin) rose up in 1876 against the tyrannical Ottoman Empire that had suppressed them. John’s own name derives from his paternal grandfather, a forestry worker who died fighting a bushfire in Nannup, Oz. From these historical titbits we glean some inkling of the artist. He is a man fighting for justice, a man fighting fires — those of love gone bad, of corporate greed, or simply of his own angry soul. As Butler has confessed in a recent interview, “I thought my anger was my strongest asset and that’s what made me powerful, but it was actually my weakest link. My vulnerability, my honesty and patience and trust are my strongest attributes.” The album bears this out. As Butler has matured the anger has been sublimated in poetry, and his voice, on the tender love songs especially, has become his outstanding instrument.

Flesh & Blood is a testament to his talent, and to a man who has finally found himself. On some songs he sounds simply reborn. “I wanted the songs to be a lot more guttural and fleshier,” says a newly humble JB. “I wanted to smell it and feel it a bit more. And I wanted my voice, now and always, to be more convincing.” If it’s authenticity he was seeking he has surely found it.

If he has been a ‘man on the edge’ he is certainly not going to jump and end it all. He now has the wisdom and the courage to take a step back - and enjoy the view.

John Butler is no pie-in-the-sky hippy. He has dirt beneath his feet: red dirt. He is well-known Down Under for his environmental and political commitment. His white Rasta look once suggested a teleported Bob Marley - but that has gone. The more recent barbered image makes him look like a handsome American from the Civil War era. His stare is hypnotic. Who will draw first, you or him? He is not, however, all gun and no trousers. He has put his money where his mouth is, fronting a campaign that helped stop a vast gas plant from despoiling the natural beauty of the Kimberley area in NW Australia. He has also set up a charitable trust that has enabled many aspiring artists to find an outlet. He is a man who cares about the world he is in and one who has tried, in his own way, to set in right.

For more on John Butler Trio, click here.

Nattali Rize

The future is now. With a deep Reggae Influence Nattali Rize brings heavy beats & conscious rebel lyrics to a progressive electronic, roots, reggae, dub foundation. But this is more than genre labels; The music, message & intention trancends all that, forget the borders and waters that divide us, the movement is to ignite the great remembrance of who we are, our collective power, what we can be, to break the mental conditioning and find full freedom in this lifetime.

“Nattali is a bright light in the world with a vision that extends beyond the stage.”– Michael Franti (Spearhead)

The term ‘social change’ is not quite enough for Nattali, her thinking is more along the lines of “full systemic overhaul!” with Rebel Frequency Nattali declares “We’re here to deliver a different frequency to what is being transmitted by the current world system and culture of consumerism and mental slavery.”

Nattali Rize is recognised globally for her unwavering commitment to using her voice and music for the global shift toward Full Freedom and the movement of Truth and Justice over the systemic exploitation of the people and our planet. The exciting evolution of the multi-dimensional artist sees the dynamic front woman leading out fresh with a new heavy five-piece international live band from Jamaica and Australia. This is a global mash up of raw energy and vibe that together has been rocking stages since the band first burst onto the scene in 2015.

“One of the nation’s most refreshing voices” – Rolling Stone.

After relocating in 2014 to Kingston, Jamaica, Nattali Rize launched her live project out of Jamaica into the US, EU and beyond with a strong run of captivating festival performances and national club shows. Now with tours alongside the likes of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Katchafire, Third World, J-Boog, Julian Marley, Tribal Seeds and more under her belt, the worldwide movement is ever rizing!

“INFECTIOUS!”– NPR

2017 sees the release of her debut album – Rebel Frequency. Modern technology and a tireless world travel schedule, has broken down artistic barriers, allowing the album to be put together between the cultural hubs of Kingston, Jamaica and Australia. Ask her where she comes from, she’ll tell you “All Directions”, with no fixed address, Nattali is now based where the music takes her, Nattali Rize claims not to belong to any nation state, but to the ever-evolving community of awakening consciousness. The global mission – to uplift and unify consciousness & Rize together.

“Our intention with our music is to ignite that memory in ourselves of our individual and collective power to live life to the fullest and recognise our selves and each other as evolving beings of light. A reality of Full Freedom is a possibility on this earth and in these times. We use music to sound frequencies infused with this idea, and to resonate at a higher level than what is currently being permeated across current world culture. People are powerful; we want them to reclaim that power and no longer be servants to a system that has never, and will never, serve them to their fullest potential. As such, our frequency in this system is a rebel …  Rebel Music, Rebel Frequencies we deal with!” – Nattali Rize.

For more on Nattali Rize, visit natalierize.com.