Last month, I found myself back in the 40 Watt, a venue I don't think I'd been in since high school. The 40 Watt was originally opened in 1978 by Curtis Crowe who often joked the club was lit by a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Since, the space has become a staple for Athens bands as well as more well known acts. In high school, I saw The Whigs, The Modern Skirts, Fun., Band of Skulls, and Motion City Soundtrack play here, just to name a few. Needless to say, I was very excited to be back there to add Butch Walker to this roster of acts.
Butch opened the show, just him and a keyboard, playing "Joan" and a couple of his heavier songs. I was taken aback by this, that is sad material to start the night with. But I quickly saw what he was doing. By the time his band joined him on stage for "Mixtape," he had the whole crowd in the palm of his hand. It stayed this way all night, people daring themselves to look away long enough to go to the bar. Granted, half of the crowd was before the social networking generation, but I felt like there was a minimal amount of cell phone use that night. He played a wonderful high energy "Synthesizers" with pieces of "Come on Eileen" through out. He covered bits of other songs including "Teenage Wasteland" and "The Ocean," joking that his younger band had never heard them before. At the end of the night, he came into the crowd. Everyone gathered around him waiting to see what he would do next. The show ended with an amazing energy, everyone in the room experiencing a major endorphin release. All-in-all it was an amazing show. Now that I've seen Butch Walker once, I can't wait to see him perform again. There's something about a group of people belting out songs like "Mixtape" and "She Likes Hair Bands" that warms my heart. It is something everyone must experiences.
Originally written October 17, 2013