We'll start this off with a confession because I believe that honesty is the best policy. I love Clutch, they are without a doubt one of the best bands on the scene and have been for at least the past decade so the headline to this is somewhat "clickbaity" to say the least.
I first saw Clutch way back in 2005 when they were touring with Corrosion of Conformity. This was my first gig after running away to the big bad city to be with the woman who would go onto be my wife and was also the night I met one of my closest friends, said friend worked with my wife at the time and she figured out we were both raving about the same thing and basically set us up on a playdate.
I had been into CoC since I heard Man or Ash on a tape that came free with Kerrang! This tape (Supersonic Volume 1) was a much-needed lifeline for a wee lad growing up in a dead-end town and also introduced me to Cathedral, Kerbdog and Moby (way before he decided that he would write the music for all the adverts ever) And this gig was my first chance to see CoC so I was ridiculously excited about it. While I didn't actually own anything by Clutch at the time, I had heard nothing but good things about them so convinced my new found friend and all of his mates to get to the gig early so we could catch them. I have to reiterate that this was the first time I had met any of them if Clutch sucked any potential friendship would have been ruined.
"luckily" Clutch blew CoC off the stage in a way I hadn't seen since Kilgore opened for Fear Factory back in 98. They were phenomenal, I can remember texting the few people who were still talking to me back in the sticks that I had just seen the best live band ever. As a result of that night, I have seen Clutch at every available opportunity since and now own everything they have released. On the other side of the coin I have only seen CoC once since then and if we're being honest Orange Goblin blew them off stage BUT I am massively biased towards Orange Goblin and the sound for CoC was fuck awful (as is sadly standard at the O2 Institute)
So I love Clutch, that much is clear so just what was the problem they are faced with nowadays? Well let's look at the setlist they rattled out the other night (22/12 @ O2 Academy Birmingham)
- Weird Times
- Texan Book of the Dead
- Power Player
- Ghoul Wrangler
- Spirit of 76
- Open Up the Border
- How to Shake Hands
- A Good Fire
- H.B is in Control
- Decapitation Blues
- Vision Quest
- Hot Bottom Feeder
- In Walks Barbarella
- The Regulator
- Electric Worry
- X-Ray Visions
They were as brilliant as ever, we really enjoyed the support bands - The Inspector Cluzo and The Picture Books, the sound was ace from where we were. all in all, it was a cracking night but...
Where was Earth Rocker? Prophets of Doom? Sucker for the Witch? Noble Savage? Gone Cold? DC Sound Attack? Pure Rock Fury? Cypress Grove? The Mob Goes Wild? Once More into the Breach? Gimme the Keys?
I said on the way in that they have reached the point in their career now that there is always going to be at least one track they don't play that you want them to and we were joking about what it would be. I wasn't prepared for the list to be this long. With the back catalogue, they have amassed now an hour plus encore just isn't long enough.
So the problem with Clutch is that they are just too dang good at what they do.