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November 11, 2010

John Butler Trio on being Australia's Dave Matthews Band

johnbutler.jpgIn Australia, the roots band John Butler Trio are as massively popular as Dave Matthews Band is here.  In the country that actually gave birth to Dave though, he might be lost among the glut of imitators.

But founder John Butler, who has already opened for Dave Matthews several times, said their three albums should hold an appeal beyond fans of the popular jam band.

“We just want to play to anybody who wants to listen,” said leader John Butler. “We don’t really have personal borders when it comes to music.” 

On Sunday, Butler, drummer Nicky Bomba and bassist Byron Luiters will perform at Rams Head Live to promote their new album, “April Uprising.”

The band, which specializes in upbeat songs that straddle reggae and alt rock, has been together since 1998 in one form or another, and have two platinum albums to their name in their native Australia.

They’ve been touring America since the early 2000s, where they have found support in headliners like Matthews and John Mayer. Before coming to Baltimore, they’ll even open four shows for for Matthews.

Though they have found limited commercial success here — their highest selling single is 2004’s “Sunrise Over Sea,” which sold 128,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan —they’ve been highly popular on the American festival circuit.

Butler said crowds here are easier than back home.

“Americans are pretty enthusiastic right from the get go,” he said. “Australians take a little bit more warming up, but Americans are always ready to go.”

The trio played Lollapalooza last year, and Austin City Limits twice in the past. In June, they played Bonnaroo to promote their new album.

Butler started working on “April Uprising” in April of last year and finished it three months later. He said he had lofty ambitions for the track "Revolution," which went through four different choruses before settling on a composition he described as “anthemic and personal.”

“That song succinctly sums up the world as I see it today,” he said. “There’s a lot of going down in the planet at the moment and I thought I’d capture those moments in one fell swoop.”

If you go: John Butler Trio performs Sunday at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. Call 410-244-1131 or go to

Photo: Big Hassle Media

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Posted by Erik Maza at 8:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Music News


I was waiting for John Prine to start his set at the New Orleans Jazz Fest a couple years ago and caught these guys live. I had no idea who they were at the time, but they put on a hell of a show.

I thought Dave Matthews was from South Africa...

Dave is from South Africa not America.

John Butler was Born in LA. Moved to Australia when he was 10, Dave was bron in SA, moved to US when he was 2....

Good read! I'm one of those Americans he's talking about in his quote. I've seen him at a few festivals including Rothbury 2009 and at a few smaller places where they were the headliner.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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