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.

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