I was Clutching at straws when it came to getting a ticket
I very, very nearly dropped a Jackson and found myself unable to see Clutch at The Barfly on Friday the 6th of April. I’d heard a ‘sold out’ scare earlier in the week, and although that turned out to be a false alarm I really should have seen the writing on the wall and arranged a ticket. When did Clutch go and get themselves famous, though? Madness. I turned up and found it sold out, but fortunately arrived at a jammy time when a bunch of young lads milling about outside had one to get rid of at face value. Thanks and praises to Jah/God/Allah/James Thompson/whoever-have-you.
Taint opened, a band I’d never seen before despite them having been around forever and having hovered on the edge of my radar for most of forever (I remember ‘em putting out a mini-album on Household Name back when it was still a decent label, that’s how far back we’re talking). I was expecting something really sludgy, but they only seemed to be like that during occasional bits of songs; for the most part they sounded like more of a mid-paced end of Black Flag sort of affair, with some balls-out all-out rock (possibly ala older Clutch, although I may well be subconsciously being influenced by the headliners there) and some Helmet-ish repetitive riffy parts. It all came together perfectly and they sounded pretty destructive; I get the feeling they’d blow the roof off the place in a sensibly sized (i.e. a lot smaller than The Barfly) venue.
The bit of a conversation I overheard by some people standing me seemed to indicate that they thought Taint were actually Clutch. I didn’t have the heart to interrupt.
The Sword were through derivative and out the other side, achieving heights of unoriginality dense enough for them to dilate time and leave you wandering whether chronology works entirely the way you always used to think it did (or maybe will go on to think it does in the soon-to-happen past) and whether they actually did come before Sabbath’s more upbeat songs. They were quite fun, though, believe it or not. I don’t think I’d ever want to listen to them at home when I can just stick ‘Children Of The Grave’ on instead (ooh, now there’s a thought…), but I did enjoy them this once.
Finally, Clutch – the eighth time I’ve seen them (my most-seen foreign band by a fair ol’ distance) and yet another group about whom I’ve gone on far too many times before to leave me anything to say now. This was a typically great set from them. Best Rock Band Going, loads and loads of groove, Neil Fallon is an amazing frontman, all the usual hoo-har I usually go on about. It’s all true. They’ve been around for long enough now, if you haven’t bothered thus far then you probably won’t at all. Your loss.
Then again, though, if they’ve now got enough people behind them to sell out The Barfly maybe more folk are starting to discover them of late. I’m still surprised by that. Have they been in an advert or something?