Live Review: The Butterfly Effect + Wayside at Enmore Theatre, Sydney – 3 February 2024

Review and photos by Krista Melsom

The Butterfly Effect

Photo Gallery here…

Backstory, my favourite song on Begins Here is Overwhelmed and I had NEVER seen it live. Back in the early 2000s, whenever I bumped into a band member, which happened quite often, I would consistently ask for them to perform it live. The guys could frequently be found at Brisbane bars that showed support for the local music scene. Considering how often I attended their shows in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast, one can only imagine how many encounters I had with them. The response was always along the lines of ‘not tonight’, but always delivered in the most polite way, no matter which band member I interacted with, even though I was sure they were getting sick of this girl asking to play Overwhelmed. Can you imagine my excitement when the Begins Here tour was announced, with the album to be played in full. This was it, 20 years of waiting and I would finally get to see the song which resonated with me then and still to this day. Stick around to find out how the night unfolded. 

The atmosphere at the Enmore Theatre was nostalgic, and it really felt like a family reunion of sorts. The venue filled quickly early on, a testament to the excitement and anticipation for the night’s proceedings. The chatter of the crowd was reminiscing on their first time seeing The Butterfly Effect live and how influential the album Begins Here was in their lives. We were all connected by our love for this band and the music they had created. 

As I embarked on my own trip down memory lane, I saw some familiar faces from my past on the barrier. I vividly remember seeing this couple at every single The Butterfly Effect gig I had attended since the early 2000s. They were always there for doors open and always on the barrier, simply known to me as ‘that Butterfly Effect couple’. Now they are known to me as Nick and Mel. We had a lovely chat about the early days and they mentioned they were attending every single show on the tour with the exception of Hobart. They were able to accomplish this because their children had grown up and moved out of home and thus had the time and money. 

I had never really thought much about my life after kids left home. I always thought I would slow down and do some light travel. Now I know I will be following my favourite bands on tour and living my best life. My thoughts of this wonderful life were then cut short with the dimming of the house lights as the opening act, Melbourne alt-rockers, Wayside, took the stage.

The duo formed after best mates Thomas Davenport (vocals) and Josh Ehmer (guitar) joined forces after playing in several different bands in Melbourne for many years. Ehmer’s powerful and intense guitar melodies perfectly complemented Davenport’s ethereal vocals. With the band delivering a set full of atmospheric and moving intros, followed by dynamic choruses, it was clear to see why they were chosen for this tour. The band was visibly humbled and gracious to be on this tour, with Davenport thanking the crowd after every single song, and thanking both the crowd and headliner for the experience prior to departing the stage. 

After the stage was prepped for the main act, a short montage of clips encapsulating the year 2003 was displayed on a large vertical LED screen. The room then fell into complete darkness, the crowd erupting in anticipation. A single spotlight adorned guitarist, Kurt, as he began to play those hauntingly beautiful notes that open Begins Here. The moment we had been waiting 20 years for was here. As more lights began to illuminate the stage, out emerged bassist, Glenn, drummer, Ben as well as cellist, Kate and keyboardist, Ian – a welcome surprise whose inclusion to the band would amplify the album’s atmospheric sound. Finally, a lone silhouette emerged against the screen uttering the words ‘Push me over the edges…’

A small pause from vocalist, Clint Boge before he repeated these 5 words and then the night well and truly kicked off. As the band launched into Perception Twin, the stage erupted in an explosion of light. Bright backlights filled the room creating stark silhouettes, which reminded me of the lighting set up of a Nine Inch Nails show. The stage set up also appeared to have drawn inspiration from a well known influence for the band, Tool, with Clint’s silhouetted frame standing on a riser at the back of the stage, echoing Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan’s stage position. 

Even though the set list came as no surprise, the band still managed to shake things up. The tempo for the bridge in One Second of Insanity was slowed down to perfection, Crave kicked off with an extended intro followed by a beautiful acoustic version of Beautiful Mine with just Clint and Kate on cello and the rest of the band joining to wrap up the song, belting out the song’s intense riffs.

Without Wings was, for me, undoubtedly the highlight of the night. The inclusion of cello and keys elevated this song to another level – it was flawless, euphoric, epic, a demonstration of pure perfection. Even drummer Ben Hall sat and watched in complete awe as cellist Kate brought the song to a close. I was so overcome, that I completely forgot Overwhelmed was up next. 

Finally, the moment I had waited 20 years for arrived and it…was not what I had expected. Kurt donned an acoustic guitar and Clint joined him. Initially, I was a bit upset, as one of the things I really love about the album version is the raw energy that comes from the combination of Clint’s commanding vocals on top of the intense guitar riffs. However, as the song progressed, so did my appreciation. This stripped-down version allowed the lyrics and the feelings behind them to be the centre of attention. I guess I will continue my 20 year wait to hear the version I had hoped for.  

As the album concluded, the band took a breather backstage. The band didn’t leave the crowd waiting long before appearing back on stage. Clint took a moment to remember those we have lost in the past two decades – ‘For everyone thinking about someone who is not here tonight, this is for you’. This was followed by a heartfelt rendition of Gone. The encore continued on with Window and The Watcher and Take It Away. Vocalist Clint joined the crowd for the latter and cheekily noted that he ‘Liked the sly grab down in the pit’ on returning to the stage. The night ended with Reach, with the crowd managing to overpower Clint’s vocals. 

This show was everything I wanted and more – it was pure perfection. Thank you so much to the band and crew for their meticulous efforts in creating what, in my opinion, was the best gig I have ever witnessed.