Yesterday was a highly anticipated day for me not only because it was my 18th birthday but also because it was the day I would finally see CLUTCH, one of my favorite bands who had eluded me twice on previous tours. Unfortunately (make that extremely unfortunately) they were one of the opening bands on this jaunt for pseudo-prog rock artist COHEED AND CAMBRIA. Though originally I thought this was billed as a co-headlining tour, it turned out to be nothing of the sort, as CLUTCH got 45 minutes to play without use of the whole stage. Nevertheless I was pumped to see one of the greatest American rock bands ever, and I don't mean that to sound heavy-handed at all because it's just flat out true.
I took my little brother to this show because like me he's also a big CLUTCH fan and I thought for a change it'd be cool to go just me and him. We got to the Warfield Theater a little earlier than we had planned to, especially since we lucked out and found parking almost immediately which is a rarity in downtown San Francisco. Once inside my worst expectations were confirmed; this was gonna be probably the worst crowd I've ever experienced. Emo's, emo's, emo's, nerds, and more emo's. The way people look necessarily doesn't matter much to me, but when they act in according fashion then it pisses me off, because nobody likes a bunch of clueless 13 year old acne-laden bitches talking about how "omg we're gonna be sooo fucked up for Coheed yeah oh my god what is a Clutch lololol". Ugly stupid little kids who think they're totally rad just crawling everywhere. But this and the like was unfortunately to be expected, so after quickly perusing the merch stand (very meek, pretty disappointed that I didn't walk out of there with any awesome CLUTCH shit) my bro and I went down to the floor just in time for the start of the first band THE FALL OF TROY.
I wanted to like these guys. They have some awesome parts to their music. And I bet if I had closed my eyes for the duration of their set I might've actually somewhat enjoyed myself. But I'll be damned if their singer/guitarist isn't the biggest douchebag I've ever seen on stage in my life. Totally ruined it for me. Have your balls even dropped you girl-jeans-wearing egotistical fag? This dude acts like he's God's gift to the music world. I love it when artists show emotion and get into the show on stage, hell watching Janick flail around is awesome because its his character in counterpart to the rest of the boys, but you know what? I don't give a fuck and a half how good you can play with one hand, or if you can spit 5 feet in the air and catch it in your mouth (then hurl it into the crowd) without missing a note, or if you can play standing on the monitors or on the bass drum or with your guitar wherever the fuck you wanna put it. Yeah you're talented, stop wanking off and play, and while you're at it stop acting like such a pompous bitch. This rockstar bullshit and major ego-driven attitude pisses me off like no other. Ever watch Tony Iommi? Adrian Smith? These are the real rockstars shithead, maybe you could learn a thing or two from them. His banter between songs sealed the deal, and this band just totally lost my support. They were one of those kinda on the edge bands for me, where the live show can make 'em or break 'em in terms of my support/interest, and whereas a band like LIGHT THIS CITY proved their case to me a couple months back, FALL OF TROY lost it for me last night. It wasn't so much the music that was the issue, cuz wasn't terrible save for some of the screamo breakdown parts with those annoying chords played on the high strings, but they just totally have the wrong way of going about things on stage. Their set, plus the crowd, plus the dickhead 'steroid security' (they just totally beat the shit out of one guy who tried to climb on stage and then dragged him outside past right next to where my bro and I were standing, they were complete assholes and the guy they were beating wasn't even being aggressive at all) all combined to put me into a pretty hostile mood for CLUTCH.
As I made my way up to the front dead center for CLUTCH I had to of course mow through a slew of emos, who were not very pleased with my intrusion on their precious spot. There was a group of about 5 of them once I got up really close to the rail who tried hard to push me out, but being the weak losers they were it obviously didn't work, and I'm not a big guy despite being tall so it was all pretty humorous to me. I asked if they came for COHEED or CLUTCH and of course they all laughed when I told 'em I paid to see CLUTCH and was leaving after their set. They were still reluctant to give up their spot even as they continued to talk shit about CLUTCH. My favorites were the two kids sporting the typical emo haircuts with those big loop earrings and of course fingernails painted black, I made sure to give em hell during CLUTCH's set. All this just made me feel so thankful for the tiny metal shows where everybody is awesome and these kinda people aren't there, I definitely take it for granted sometimes. Finally though the time for a real fucking band to come on had arrived, as the lights went down and the boys walked out on stage and proceeded to take care of business.
CLUTCH have had the bad fortune of being stuck opening for a lot of bands they don't match well with in the past (MAIDEN, MARILYN MANSON, DEFTONES, now COHEED) but despite this they continue to win people over time and again with their performances, which has helped them persevere as a touring band all these years. The only time these guys are off the road is to lay down a new record, which becomes immediately evident when they play. You couldn't ask for a tighter band, nor a looser one, because CLUTCH can jam out with the best of 'em. I didn't recognize the song they opened with (later found out it was apparently "Hoodoo Operator", it sounded good though) but when they started into one of my personal favorites "The Mob Goes Wild" I totally lost it and did my part in starting the pit action down front
Such a kickass tune, and they followed it up with more of the same excellency all night. I was just in heaven the whole set long. I wasn't aware that Neil also played guitar, he does a damn good job of it too, aside from nailing his vocals the whole time. People have been complaining about the harmonica player but I think it sounded cool when he was in the mix. What more can be said of Jean Paul Gaster behind the kit, the man is brilliant, totally inspirational performance from him. When you walk away from a show feeling inspired to play yourself it's a great feeling, and CLUTCH certainly elicited that feeling from me. As for the crowd reaction the nerds were mostly just annoyed by me going apeshit the entire time, but there were a couple jock types behind me who were into as well, and some hella fine chick who was with 'em too which was tight. As the show went on I got the picture that this wouldn't be like other setlists on this tour where they would play almost exclusively songs off From Beale Street To Oblivion
, so I figured after they stomped through "The Elephant Riders" that it was getting closed to the end and that we'd get maybe one more off Beale
before they closed with the obligatory "Electric Worry/One Eye Dollar" combo. I was hoping against hope that it would be "White's Ferry", and after a brief pause my prayers were answered. Possibly my #1 CLUTCH song, "White's Ferry" was just amazing live, the highlight of the night that made all the other shit irrelevant. They did a sweet ass jam off the outro part that was utterly blissful, and they also got to jam out in the extended "Cypress Grove." Setlist:
1.) Profits Of Doom
2.) The Mob Goes Wild
3.) The Devil & Me
4.) Hoodoo Operator
5.) Red Horse Rainbow
6.) The Elephant Riders
7.) White's Ferry (extended)
8.) Cypress Grove (extended)
9.) Electric Worry
10.) One-Eye Dollar
45 minutes is not anywhere near enough for a band like CLUTCH, but it was nevertheless completely satisfying and I still came away feeling like I got what I bargained for. In typical CLUTCH fashion the setlist had some major surprises especially compared to other ones they had been playing on the tour, namely the inclusion of "Hoodoo", "Rainbow", and "Elephants" and the lack of "You Can't Stop Progress" and "Power Player." CLUTCH have no poor tunes in their entire catalog to the extent that I am familiar with, so I could go on for pages about what else I would've liked to see but I was more than thrilled with their song selection, especially because I had no idea what was gonna come next (except of course for the closer). CLUTCH reminded me what I love about music, and if possible made me an even bigger fan than I was before the show. Can't wait to see them in a proper setting, as I'm sure this gig will pale in comparison.