Gig Review

Gavin Butler
Neil Starr
Birmingham, HMV Institute
20th April 2012

Gavin Butler             Neil Starr         


Photo Of Neil Starr © Copyright James DalyWell it's Friday in Birmingham and for most that means the start of a busy weekend full of drinking, and the streets outside of the venue definitely show the over excess already. But tonight I'm in for something different I'm in for a night of acoustic music by two artists who are normally known for rocking out and bringing the noise. I'm not sure what to expect but when I arrive at the venue, I find that instead of it being both on the stage at the same time mixing up the songs, but they're doing individual solo slots.

Neil Starr is first up to entertain this room of about 40 people. He starts off as he means to go on with nice slow acoustic numbers about things that have changed his life whether it be girls and love, being on the road or more girls. The first song he plays is so soft and so quiet you can hear a pin drop, I've never been to a gig with a room as quiet as this, I know there playing in the HMV library but it really does has a feeling that if you talk, someone will shush you. He mixes up the set with some Attack! Attack! and Dopamine songs as well as his own from the album that goes with this tour Echoes and Ghosts which is split half Neil and half Gavin. There's not allot I can comment on other than it sounds lovely, it's one man and a guitar so it's easy to tune and get levels correct so it sounds as good as it would on cd. One thing that Neil does well is engaging the audience between songs as he tells us how Gavin said “let’s write a dark album and then he goes and makes a song about sunshine and rainbows, which Photo Of Gavin Butler © Copyright James Dalyis just typical of him, fuck the blackout” this is obviously said sarcastically for laughs. He also tells how he and Gavin are like an old married couple, touring the country together and drinking in gay bars. He brings the set to a close by doing a cover of End Of The Road by Boys To Men. Which gets the entire crowd joining in; even Gavin joins him on stage unannounced which makes him burst out in laughter.

Gavin Butler does pretty much what Neil did; play nice slow acoustic songs that sound great live. This just shows how good of a singer Gavin is, as sometimes he's left in the shadows by Shaun Smith in The Blackout but here he shines. He does his songs off the Ghosts and Echo’s album along with some covers including Oasis song and theme for the royal family, Half The World Away, The Blackout’s Save Our Selves (The Warning), which is hauntingly beautiful and a version you’re not going to hear anywhere else, all the crowd sings along too making it something wonderful and massive due to the quietness and closeness of the whole evening.

Unfortunately he doesn't do as well as Neil keeping the crowd entertained between songs as he tunes his guitar, but he tries by adding to the gay club story, telling us all how Neil met a nice woman with a massive adams apple then changes the words to one of his songs to tranny to poke fun at Neil which makes the crowd laugh. Neil joins him at the end of the set fPhoto Of Gavin Butler And Neil Starr © Copyright James Dalyor a dopamine cover which is normally the end of the show but the People Poet joins them on stage for a great cover of Foo Fighters My Hero which ends the night in style.

To be fair this tour was never going to sell out massive clubs, it's about two guys doing something different, something they enjoy as a bit of fun on the side, and although the songs are slow and not really something you'd want to listen to in public, it's worth a watch as the two guys have so much character and talent it really makes up for the plainness of the affair. So go and watch them and if not go out and buy their album and have a listen and chill out after a hard Friday night of partying.

Gavin Butler 4/5
Neil Starr 4/5

Review By James Daly

 Gavin Butler

Gavin Butler

 Neil Starr

Neil starr

 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?