w/ Suzanne Santo
and Wind & Wave
September 6, 2016
Photos and re-cap by Whitney Lerch
Everyone that ventured out to Mr. Smalls on Tuesday, September 6th to see Butch Walker, certainly left the show better for having been there. From start to finish, the entire night of music was simply incredible. Sounds that touched your soul. Sounds that made you less lonely. Sounds that help you find yourself. Sounds that made you feel. It was one of the best shows I’ve been to in quite a while…possibly ever.
I have to admit, I arrived at Mr. Smalls that night, to hear Butch Walker. Suzanne Santo and The Wind + The Wave, who opened for him, were new to me. If you don’t know them, please do right by yourself and look them both up…now.
Suzanne Santo, who is one half of HoneyHoney and a Cleveland native (though she was quick to announce she came to Pittsburgh in peace) has been joining Butch on the road not only as a member of his tour band, but she’s also opening his shows with a solo set, to support her solo record that is coming out soon and was produced by none other than Butch Walker. Her voice will cut directly through to your soul. At the merch table, you could grab a digital download card that includes 4 songs from her upcoming record. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t run out of those cards before the end of the tour.
After a short break, the powerful performances continued with Patty Lynn and Dwight Baker, who are The Wind + The Wave. Hailing from Austin, Texas, where it seems nearly everyone is a singer/songwriter/performer, they stand out with incredible power and energy. With an indie-folk crossed with country rock vibe, they command the stage in a way that makes it difficult to believe they have been making music together for a mere 2 years. Patty’s spirited stage presence and daunting vocals, combined with the deep lyrics that reach the bowels of human relationship turmoil made it feel like their entire set, the songs and the passion were designed for me. Personally. It was unreal. You can grab their newest single, “Happiness Is Not A Place,” also produced by Butch Walker and released on August 26th 2016 on iTunes…you really should grab it!
Out next was the man himself, Mr. Butch Walker. He immediately went into the tour’s namesake, Stay Gold and instantly drew in the crowd. His energy is unmatched and combined with the palpable air of angst in his persona, painfully honest song-writing and flawless vocals. He puts on a show that makes you yearn for it to go on and on. It’s as though he chronicles your life, your struggles, your joys and your fears on that stage. He moved through his set, with a mix of current and classic Butch tunes, including “East Coast Girl,” “Descending,” “She Likes Hair Bands,” “Synthesizers” and more. And as if that wasn’t enough, he brought Jakob Dylan, of the Wallflowers, out on stage who played several songs with Butch, including the Wallflowers hit One Headlight. The crowd could hardly handle their excitement with Jakob’s guest appearance and you could tell Butch was loving every second of their shared time on stage. As I said earlier, this show was simply incredible, start to finish.
It’s been a long time since I’ve left a venue with such an overwhelming and renewed appreciation for life, in all it’s glory. For the ups and the downs. For the good days and the bad. And most importantly, for what music can do for the soul. Butch closed out his set with “Record Store,” off his newest album Stay Gold. A nostalgic little number about how time changes circumstance, what could have been and the love that once was. The love that started where they met, at the record store. “When you tell me things are perfect, your hand starts to tremble when you lie”. I can’t imagine a line that is more truthful, for each an every one of us, at some point in our lives. For me, that song was the perfect end to an inspiring night. An ending that was real. If you’ve not heard Butch, make sure that changes. He’ll make you feel all the feelings.
Wind and Wave