Last Tuesday a certain someone announced a surprise show just a week away. No, not Prince.
Butch Walker took the stage at Smith’s Olde Bar on Tuesday for a surprise sold out show to 300 lucky fans. Walker was joined by local Sara Rachele, and had a visit from Josh Rifkind of 500 Songs for Kids and 500 Kids patient Micah.
Overall the stripped down set was more upbeat than we’ve gotten around his most recent album, Afraid of Ghosts, which had a heavier tone than the proceeding albums. Without a backing band, and just a few guitars, a kick drum, and a piano, Walker played a sampling of old favorites like “Mixtape,” “Pretty Melody,” and “She Likes Hair Bands.” We also got a preview of forthcoming album Stay Gold, including the title track, “Irish Exit,” and one I’m going to call “Wilder in the Heart” since we didn’t hear a title, which he had also been teasing on Instagam. Walker, who has a reputation for excelling at stage banter, thanked the crowd for not using the new songs as an excuse to go to the bathroom or get a drink, pointing out that Atlanta stays and listens.
Because this was a Butch Walker show, the fans play a bigger role in the show than most performers, so audience participation is a given. Fans do all of the harmonies, asides, and handclaps. even For old favorite “Best Thing You Never Head” the audience took the lead and sang every word while walker sat on an amp at the back of the stage, strumming his guitar. For “Freak of the Week” he pulled longtime fan Michael on stage to sing, who took the opportunity to publicly thank Walker for changing his life 12 years ago.
Walker promised “Stay Gold” would be out this summer along with a full tour.