I went to see John Butler Trio with Don this past week. He won tickets on Jam Base, so he invited me to go. Neither of us had seen him before and really hadn't heard any of his music either. So, we were basically going in blind. Don said he had heard some good things on some of the jam band mailing lists, so there was at least some potential.
Psychedelic Breakfast were the openers. I know we missed some of their set, but I'm not sure of how much. These guys were pretty good. They seemed a little more straight ahead rock with some jam elements rather than an all out jam band. My biggest issue with this band was that the guitar player overplayed A LOT. He played like he was in an old school heavy metal band while soloing instead of just grooving to the music. Other than that, they were pretty good.
John Butler Trio came out with some stand-up bass, slide guitar, and drums to start the set off. Seemed a little slow and mellow, so I got a little worried. I was definitely not going to stay for two hours if it was going to stay at this level. Luckily, it did not. They picked up real quick. Some nice songs, excellent singing, and some good jamming (though after hearing the CD, some of it seems a bit rehearsed). John is rather political, so he had some banter between sets about some of the meanings of his songs, and who/what they pointed at. I definitely enjoyed the show and ended up grabbing Three, the first full length disc from this trio. This disc delivers. It was definitely as good as the show was.
I think John may be on his way to joining an elite group which includes people like Dave Matthews and Bob Dylan. The group is called Noone Can Understand What I Say Between Songs. He isn't there yet, but at a couple of points, I had to really listen to him.