The Butterfly Effect at 21st Century Frankston 2018…
March 26, 2018

It was a busy day of events in Melbourne. The Download Festival was making its debut at the Showgrounds, and as much as Daniel Ricciardo might have enjoyed seeing some heavy music, he would probably have struggled to find an excuse to get out of the Grand Prix. Meanwhile, in Frankston, 21st Century was sold out had filled up early.

The Butterfly Effect, with Rival Fire and Osaka Punch,
Pier Live, Melbourne, March 24, 2018…

A large section of the audience seemed to have come out to see opener Osaka Punch, apparently alerady intoxicated and lining the front of the stage. Above them, on stage, the band appeared to have matched their audience’s intoxication, and were bounding around with what seemed like little thought. Silly antics ensued, but, when the band focused for some instrumental songs, they shone. Their closing instrumental, in particularly, literally stopped me in my tracks when I was about to give up on the performance. It would be good to see the band’s carry the dense, varied sound of that instrumental closer through a whole set.

Main support Rival Fire perhaps did not excited those who had come early for Osaka Punch, but played an impressive set. Launching into pop-rock that fit between the opener and headliner well, the frontman sounded at times like Ian Kenny and at others like Mike Sinoda, and along with the rest of the band, put a positive energy into their performance, leaping around the stage, gold chains swinging wildly.

Some people might have found it tacky, but Rival Fire played a self-referential introduction song that was a highlight of their set. The group’s best moments where those where the singer ducked away to play an instrument or series of instruments to loop samples into the tunes. The closer, Bad Man was catchy in a way that wouldn’t feel out of place at a Bon Jovi show.

Anticipation grew in the darkness after Rival Fire’s set ended, and people migrated from 21st Century’s bars down to get a closer view under the sometimes-rotating dancefloor. Tales were shared of previous experiences with The Butterfly Effect, and many joked about feeling much older. No one seemed to be mentioning those shows played with the new singer, though I didn’t remember if any had actually taken place. The last time The Butterfly Effect had played the venues on this tour, we’d still been in awe of the Final Conversation of Kings album, and the shows had been thick with the piped sounds of strings and orchestration. What would we be in for six years later?

Emerging from the thick smoke that had covered the stage, the band emerged from their long hiatus, appearing almost monochromatic with only backlighting, we were taken right back to the first album, opening with Perception Twin before going into even older, heavier territory. When the band had split, it was amidst reports of hostility and conflicting reasonings. Tonight, however, every member of the Butterfly Effect looked to be relishing the chance to interact with one another and their audience.

Clint Boge standing at the front of the stage.After the heavy opening, the move to songs from the more progressive later albums let the band really shine, Clint Boge sliding into the flamboyance he became known for, posing like Christ and leaning over the crowd beneath the stage. The gradual rise of Aisles Of White was a highlight of the night, with main set closer Worlds On Fire taking on raw a new life without the album’s production. Although the encore consists of only one song, an extended, rearranged rendition of Reach gives fans of all aspects of the band a high to leave on.

After such a stellar performance, we were left wondering how The Butterfly Effect had managed to go so long without performing. Watching them pour so much energy into their performance, sounding pitch-perfect yet lively, playing so naturally one could imagine the group suffering without their art. Hopefully, as promised on stage, this is more than a one-off nostalgia tour.


Room Without A View…
July 5, 2010

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!’