What can I say about a band who has with stood the test of time and are still considered on of the best “ Stoner Rock “ bands to date? I’m not really sure where the label Stoner Rock came, from, especially for a band that mixes rock and a little funk with fictional story telling lyrics, but nonetheless Clutch is still at the top of their game!
I was a little late coming to terms on whether I liked the band or not. Growing up, a number of my friends were big fans of the almost southern rock style group, but I really didn’t take notice, until a few years ago when I was offered to cover their show as a consolation to being turned down for Motorhead. This was around the time when the band released their 11th studio album, “Psychic Warfare”. I respectfully turned down the offer due to prior obligations. A few days later the 11 song album pop’d up in my Google Play New Releases and I decided to give the album a listen. I was immediately impressed by the clever fictional story telling lyrics and catchy guitar riffs. The album has been in heavy rotation on my playlist since that day.
Fast forward 3 years later and I get a notification that Clutch is brining their “ Psychic Warfare “ tour to Ft. Lauderdale with opening acts Devin Townsend Project, and The Obsessed. I immediately contacted the powers that be to cover the show.
While waiting for my media pass, there were 2 things I took note of about the fans that eagerly awaited the doors to open at the known Ft. Lauderdale venue Revolution Live. The first was the diversity, Old, young, punk, metal, you name the label and they were standing in line. The second was the loyalty of their fan base. I over heard conversations about the number of times people have seen the band since the 90’s and how every time is better than the last. I also overheard conversations about favorite albums and the history of the band. 15 minutes later we were all hurdled in to the South Florida Rock Club and awaited for our long awaited night to begin.
The Obsessed took the stage and I heard someone from the crowd yelling, “Welcome to South Florida”. I don’t really want to disrespect a band who has been around for almost 40 years, so I will blame the soundboard! All I really heard from their set is muffled mumbling and screaming over southern style guitar riffs. I thought it was my position in the pit, so after the first 2 songs I made my way to the back of the venue and to my dismay it was the same mumble/screaming at a lower decibel. I hope that I can see them again in the future to give them a proper review. So for now I will leave it at their Set List!
Brother Blue Steel
Be the Night
To Protect and to Serve
The Devin Townsend Project was another interesting band on a totally different level. Lighted
guitars that resembled something from the Star Wars Cantina, technical riffs that were a mix
between death metal and the soundtrack to a big budget sci-fi movie, topped off with singing that reminded me of some weird New Age/Opera Album with some screaming to give it a metal edge. The
band seemed out of place on this bill, but the crowd responded well. This helped solidify my
initial observation of the diversity of the attendees. Musically, I was impressed by the technical
composition and how this band brought everything together. Their 8 song set took up every
bit of the hour allotted to them and their fans cried for more. Although, I am not a fan of their
music, I do respect Devin for the work he has done throughout the years, working with artists
like Steve Vai and Jason Newstead, but what really impressed me was his disgust for the music
industry and drive to push his own musical vision.
March of the Poozers
Sick of It All’s, “ In the Underground”, was blaring over the speakers and the once spacious floor
began to fill up. Although, it didn’t seem as crowded as previous shows I attended at Revolution
which were unbearable, it was still a struggle to get to the pit area. The house music
faded and the banner in the back of the stage raised up with Clutches logo. The crowd
erupted with screams of excitement to an almost deafening level. The band made their way to
the stage with a funky/hip hop song playing over the speakers. Neil, Tim, Dan, and Jean-Paul took
the stage and began playing the 2nd song, “ Fire Birds”, from the bands most recent album,
“Psychic Warfare”. In between the 2nd (Decapitation Blues) and 3rd song (Passive Restraints),
the singer Neil, told a story about the last time they played this club was in 1995 and they were told they would never play the club again. The band took the crowd on a history roller coaster ride which included some their earlier tracks such as, “ Passive Restraints” and “Escape from the Prison Planet”. Clutch debuted a new track titled, “Bad Decision”, which stood true to the bands fictional story telling and souther rock style. The highlight of the evening for me was when the band played,
“The Regulator”, aside from being featured in the hit show, “The Walking Dead”, I love this tracks slow acoustic beginng and western style sound. The group treated the crowd to one more new track titled, “Bubonic Blues”. which left me steeped in anticipation for their new album. The remainder of their 17 song set included 2 songs from their recent album, “Noble Savage” and “X-Ray Vision” as well as a track from their mid 2000’s album, “From Beale Street to Oblivion”. Clutch finished their set with a two songs that I distinctly remember from the early 90’s, “Big News I” and “The House That Peter Built”.
In the 90's, I was not open to any other music genre besides Punk and Hardcore, but after listening to these tracks again, they remind me of a mix between NY Hardcore legends, “Sheer Terror”, and “Black Sabbath”.
Escape From the Prison Planet
A Quick Death in Texas
The Mob Goes Wild
10.Sucker for the Witch
16.Big News I
17.The House That Peterbilt
Normally after a few hours of loud rock music, I like to drive home in silence, however, after seeing Clutches hour and fifteen minute set, all I wanted was more! I am just sad that I came to this band so late in the game and now feel I have to backtrack over 23 years and catch up on all the great music that I have missed!