a Fine Butlin experience

The amount of raw talent that was flowing from The Boat last night was definitely something that had to be witnessed first hand. As I walked out of the blistering cold and into a small, dimly lit, nautical themed venue I was welcomed by great atmosphere, a small crowd of people and some of the most entertaining yet intriguing music I have experienced live. First to take stage was a gentleman by the name of Jordan Fine. As he first graced the stage to do what I thought was a sound check, I couldn’t help but be a little confused. First, where is the rest of his band to do their sound check and two, why is he taking so god damn long to sound check and tune one guitar? Then as I had my A HA moment and realized that A)this guy is a solo act and B)this isn’t a sound check, he has already begun his set. What a sly one, starting his set without a word.
From song one Jordan displayed a true sense of musicianship while on stage. With a double guitar strapped on and the floor in front of him littered with different guitar peddles, Jordan began by recording and looping a finger picked guitar track. Once that track was completed he then continued by adding layers upon layers of sounds, creating melodies and harmonies with the previous tracks. Not only was he using his guitar, but also had a mic set up that allowed him to create and loop a series of noises, made by his mouth that imitated the sound of having a percussionist. Each composition was a display of just how much talent is needed to assemble such music. Precise timing and an excellent ear for tuning and harmonies is essential for the type of solo experimental avant garde music that was being produced and Mr. Fine (and boy is he fine HA) proved that he has all those qualities. At times throughout his set Jordan would offer us some impromptu guitar tuning over top of his loops, or would extend the songs because he would have to re-record some of his loops, but honestly that makes the show more interesting and real. Being a one man solo band things can’t always be 100% but the Fine man was able to get as close as he could! The one down side of Jordan’s performance was the lack of stage presence, although he did converse with the audience at times and his charisma showed through.. I just don’t feel as though there was enough 'zazz. But to be fair, Jordan was playing the rolls of percussionist, lead, rhythm and bass guitar as well as lead and backup vocals, so I will let it slide this time.
Next to take the stage was a neo jazz/soft rockish quartet known as The Mike Butlin Band. Led by Mike Butlin, who, from the first step on the stage had the energy and stamina that got the entire crowd at the venue on their feet. This fourtet displayed an amazing mix of jazzy beats and bass lines meshed with the Stevie Ray Vaughn style guitar licks and topped off with accents provided by a trumpet and keyboard. On top of jazzy jam style music, Mike added some of the strongest vocals I have hear come out of a local Toronto band. I have to commend these guys for the amount of ease they played each song; it was almost as though they could have played their entire set in their sleep. I could see the enjoyment of the music in each of the members, which rubbed of onto the crowd as they lost their shit on the dance floor. Not only were they able to offer up some amazing up tempo jazzy rock music, but also were able to take it down a notch, as Mike took a seat in front of the keyboard and showed us exactly what it means to be a musician. Tickling the keys and emoting through each word he spoke, Mike showed the softer side of himself as a singer/songwriter. The performance that was laid down by The Mike Butlin Band is almost incomparable to anything I have seen at local Toronto show.
Let me just say that walking into The Boat yesterday evening I could not have even imagined that I would have experienced something so oddly fascinating yet highly delightful! If any of you fuckers have a chance to see either Jordan Fine or The Mike Butlin Band perform, do your ears a favour and go check them out. I can guarantee you are in for an experience that one can only describe as enchanting. Don’t believe me ... Go see for yourself!

It's Chris James BITCH!