The Butterfly Effect,
Pier Live, July 3, 2010
Since the Butterfly Effect have always been, in my experience, an excellent live band, there is little reason to discuss too many details of their performance on Saturday night. The band played a pitch-perfect set for their headlining show consisting of an appropriately more varied set than the last time I saw them playing, at last year’s Big Day Out on the back of the Final Conversation Of Kings album. They opened with their very first single Crave, and later finished the first part of the set with b-side A.D. More melodic songs like Final Conversation broke up the set nicely.
Much more worthy or analysis is the venue. Since the closure of Peninsula Lounge in the beginning of 2009 there have been slim pickings for bands looking for a venue to play in the greater Frankston area, however if the frequently updated banner outside Pier Live in Frankston’s heart is anything to go by, it seems to be the place to watch, having played host to a number of local favourites including Parkway Drive and 28 Days, and even Donna A’s birthday gig.
So far I haven’t been able to make it to any of these shows, meaning that the Butterfly Effect gig would be my first visit to the venue since filing in for the infamous underage nights during high school in the club’s former guise as 21st Century. I was excited on the picturesque drive in to see spotlights circling enticingly Bat Signal-like in the sky above the club. Once I’d found a parking space and walked closer, though, it became evident that the beams were emanating from Pier’s inexplicably popular neighbour, Davey’s, where the winding queue was so monumental that local take-away vendors were taking food and drink orders from the assembled throng.
Luckily the line for Pier was non-existant, the ‘Sold Out’ sign having been hung before my arrival. My ID was scanned on entry to remind me of my surroundings, and I climbed the stairs to find the club’s interior largely unchanged with the club’s rebranding. Although presently inactive, I was pleased to see 21st Century’s signature elevated revolving dance floor still in tact. A pleasing addition was a temporary second bar – where the DJ booth had formerly stood – offering bottled beverages, happily cutting down on the significant wait at the main bar. I was less impressed with the drink prices, though.
The adoption of two adjacent stages, like sometimes seen at the Corner, seemed like a great way to make the night progress smoothly while the enjoyable first support band, New Skinn, played. The feature became redundant, however, when touring support, the popular but disappointing Calling All Cars played on the main stage anyway, leaving a lengthy change over time during which the audience were left to listen to the first few tracks of Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American on repeat.
I was lucky enough (and perhaps experienced enough) to be able to glide with a minimum of fuss from the main bar (where service had been unforgivably slow) through the thick sea of bodies to the front of the stage without spilling a drop of my trademark pair of spirit mixers and a sealed back-up bottle of water. A look over my shoulder confirmed that others would not be so lucky. While a venue like this caters to a large and varied crowd – the dance floor beneath the stage is at least as big as the Corner’s and the elevated areas are perfect for the more timid to get an unobstructed view – the ‘L’-shaped layout of the space is problematic. On a night like this when a big name has sold to capacity, there are bound to be people struggling to see around corners or past the bar.
It seems that this is an aspect of the night which wore thin with some. A couple of moments before the encore, I heard intermittent, high-pitched shouting moving slowly towards me.
‘Can I go past?’ the voice demanded. ‘Excuse me!’
I felt the effects of shoved bodies as waves of movement reached my back.
‘Excuse me!’ the same voice repeated, closer now. ‘I need to get to the front.’
Then the voice was right next to me.
‘I need to get to the front. It’s my birthday. Hey! Hey! Hey, you! Do you hear me? Hey!’
I slowly turned to face a slight blonde girl wearing a leopard print top entirely unsuited to the winter weather.
‘Did you hear me?’ she shouted. ‘It’s my birthday.’
She cursed loudly when I said, without feeling, that it was nice that it was her birthday and turned back to the stage in anticipation of an energetic encore.
I suddenly felt pointy elbows jammed into my spine. I assumed the well-practiced, braced defence against such an onslaught, and adjusted my stance slightly to the point that I knew would mean the elbows caused not the intended pain and nuisance, but a soothing remedy for the back pain I have experienced since Soundwave 2009. It wasn’t long before my assailant gave in and started explaining to the guy next to me the importance of her being at the very front of the stage. It was during this discussion that the band emerged from behind the black curtain. In the ensuing applause, I saw a bony arm swing, and the other guy ducked away from the punch. It was followed by a stream of the girl slapping at the guy’s face as he back-pedaled as much as he could in the thick crowd. She seemed infuriated at the fact that her initial attack had missed, and even more so when a contract security staff started dragging her away through, ironically, the space in front of the stage where she had wanted to be.
As an electronic introduction to what would prove to be an extended rendition of Worlds On Fire was triggered by one of guitarist Kurt Goedhart’s effects pedals, the girl kicked and screamed as she was dragged away.
‘This is unfair! He assaulted me, and you kick me out! It’s my fucking birthday!’