This was an off-date from the Motorhead tour. Wow, this was a hell of an adventure! I did a little mini-roadtrip with a friend to SLO from San Jose for this concert, and it was worth it for sure. This was my first time driving so far away from home (my folks thought I was in San Francisco) without parents, and so I was a little nervous that it would all fall apart. It didn't however, and my friend and I had a blast. We got to SLO and bolted straight to the venue, a little place called SLO Brewing Company. It reminded me a lot of Slim's (inconveniently placed support beam and all).
I've forgotten the name of the first band completely. It may have started with an "O." They played Sleep-style doom metal but with growled vocals. The vocalist/guitarist was even rocking a Holy Mountain album shirt. They did have some cool riffs, but the cookie monstering killed it for me. They then did a cover of Into the Void that would have been great if not again for the vocals. The guitarist seemed heavily Matt Pike influenced, from the Les Paul-Orange Amp combo to his tone and solo phrasing. Dude couldn't quite nail that signature vibrato though. I think that we're gonna be seeing the very first generation of guys ripping off Josh Homme and Matt Pike very soon if not now.
Valient Thorr were up next and delivered the goods like they do every time. I talked with Valient Himself before and after their set like I did at the Missing Link last May. He's a super nice guy off-stage and raving awesome lunatic on-stage. For the record, he's the only guy I've ever seen that could make half the audience sit down in a mid-guitar solo pow-wow. You had to have been there to know what I'm talking about, but know that it was SO COOL! The band ripped and shredded their way through a slightly reduced set, but they were so much fun nonetheless. I hope to God these guys get the success they deserve, they put too much effort into their performances not to.
This was my first time seeing Clutch, and they blew the roof off. The set was not at all what I expected (nothing from Robot Hive/Exodus!!) but was great nonetheless. Neil's voice was perfect, JP rocked a monster ride cymbal groove every few minutes and Tim showed why restraint can truly make a player shine. A damn great show by a damn great band. The set was strangely very heavy on self-titled material. I think it was because it was their first time in SLO as indicated by Neil. Highlights were John Wilkes Booth, Regulator, Pure Rock Fury, The Devil and Me, Texan Book of the Dead and Escape From the Prison Planet. The Regulator with the dueling guitars of Neil and Tim was amazingly heavy and mind-blowing. Yes, I just described half of their set as "highlights." It was THAT good. I was slightly saddened that we didn't get the usual 2 hour show they give as headliners, but they packed so much awesome into 90 minutes (even with an encore wait that seemed to go on forever) that the 7 hours of driving was worth it.
1. Slow Hole to China
2. Pure Rock Fury
3. 50,000 Unstoppable Watts
4. Struck Down
5. Cypress Grove
6. I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth
8. The Regulator
9. King of Arizona
10. Child of the City
11. Texan Book of the Dead
12. The Devil and Me
13. Big News I
14. Escape From the Prison Planet
15. Animal Farm
16. Electric Worry/One Eye Dollar
I am so psyched for seeing them again on Wednesday with Motorhead, and maybe we'll get some Robot Hive/Exodus songs
P.S. On the way out the door I ran into Valient Himself at the merch booth, and congratulated him on the great performance. He replied with silence and by sticking his hand out for a high five which I righteously reciprocated. Dude is one bad-ass mother fucker.