(w/ Kingsnake, MonstrO and Kyng)
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Chameleon Club
223 N. Water Street
I saw Clutch for the first time this year. It was on a Wednesday; an overnighter outtatowner. Clutch is a band notorious for playing small shows at clubs and once again, I was to grow even fonder of the intimate atmosphere of the small venue. While they had a strict no camera rule, they put on one hell of a show and sounded amazing. They catered to the masses, and the masses were a motley crew of variety you wouldn’t believe. The show was intimate, heated, and rockin’; the jovial moshpit almost sucked me in like a twister.
I came with my ex-boyfriend J and my sister’s ex-boyfriend H. I had joked that it was “The Night of the Exes” at one point. I made the drive to Lancaster down with J, and we met up with H when we got there. We are all good friends. H brought a friend, who actually is the one we have to thank for this ordeal, as he was the one who contacted H about the show, who then contacted me, who then told J he was going with me. Yadda yadda. Background. Understand? It was me and three guys in company at the show.
|"Take only what you need to survive!"|
It was a chilly day and we had arrived early. We killed some time talking in the parking garage, located just across the street from The Chameleon Club. We had checked out the line outside, and it wasn’t going anywhere until the doors opened, so why bother. After the doors opened we waited like cattle in a spiral through the bottom level of the place until passing through doors finally that led to another line where we waited to get frisked and searched and that whole deal. They weren’t even letting people take medications in. This club was serious. Meanwhile, we were being told repeatedly by loud employees that there is a no video/camera policy that came from Clutch themselves. If we were seen even holding our phone up, we were going to be kicked out. Geez. Okay, okay. I came to watch the show anyway, not record it. It still made you nervous to even have your phone out texting or whatnot.
We finally make it through the lines and searches and climb the stairs into the club. The main room of the place has a bar, an open floor, and a stage. All you need. In the far back beyond the bar there is an area where merchandise was being sold. The bar sits in the back area of the room. There is an open floor area maybe 30 or 40 feet squared; not incredibly large. The place is small and really nice. There is another level above with another bar, bathrooms and a balcony that extends out alongside the stage area. The underage kids were all crammed into the far end of the balcony on this level. Poor bastards, their little noses bleeding down on us, had the best view in the place.
The crowd was made of a great mix of people. A trip to the women’s room revealed a lot about the diversity of the fans. I had met a woman that had seen them 20 plus times!! And I was a Clutch Virgin! This was a special night. People of all ages; I talked to a woman about Stevie Nicks that had seen her back in 1970-something. I talked to a younger girl that was going to see Taylor Swift later that month. Someone in the restroom also reported that one of the opening acts was supposedly a Pantera side project? Whether this was true or not remains to be known. I also found out that the bathrooms downstairs are way better than the ones on the level above. It’s amazing the things one can find out by taking a pee.
There were three acts on before Clutch took the stage. The first one I remember distinctly was called Kingsnake. I know this because it took me awhile to “track” their name down. They sounded almost like a Clutch cover band, very bluesy and obviously Clutch influenced, and even the lead singer sported a good beard and a powerful voice. I marveled at how much he got into his performance, eyes closed at most times, not looking at the crowd at all, but rather seemingly in his own place. He mentioned the name of the band at least three times, neither time did we catch what he was saying. “Kickstand!” someone declared. I kept saying, “No, no, it has a “pink” sound…Pink something?” We were all kinds of confused. The lead singer from Kingsnake even came through the crowd and I shook his hand and spoke to him as he came through. I asked hi the name of their band and it was one of those can’t possibly ask them to repeat it again, just smile and nod, things. He repeated it 3 times and I couldn’t catch it. Too loud. Was that a pink sound? Still confused. The three guys I had gone with were jumping in and out of the modest mosh pit that had started forming in the center of the room. The atmosphere was very positive and everyone seemed to be looking out and enjoying themselves.
The second act was called MonstrO. “The voice doesn’t match the beard,” I remember saying. The bassist singer had a George Harrison-esque face bush kicking. The guitarist had a long head of dreadlocks that he was throwing about throughout the show. Again, his voice didn’t quite fit the looks, but overall it was a good sound. Their voices were on the higher side of rock or metal, I suppose. The third band was called Kyng and they were decent. I honestly don’t remember too much other than some really decent guitar from these guys, being I was getting a good buzz on at this point and getting impatient to see Clutch. I did end up buying their CD for ten bucks before we left.
So far the atmosphere had been jovial and the humble pit had been pleasant. My ex-boyfriend kept checking back with me. In responding physiologically to the music, his body movements eventually became too aggressive to be in our area, so he moved into the pit. I took ground next to a girl and her boyfriend, in front of the “Wall of Timid Men” as I called them. The pit was on the right of me. I spent a good amount of the time pushing guys back and standing my ground. Everything was pretty low key throughout the opening acts. J and I were standing there as Clutch first took the stage, and it was ironic, almost immediately a man was down directly in front of us. A couple of people, as I said they were jovial, rushed to help him up and he began screaming in pain. We just backed up and let them get him up and out. Apparently his leg was buggered up. What are the odds? Poor guy. During the very first seconds of Clutch too!
Clutch was a very intense show. Neil Fallon had a maddened/deranged almost Charles Manson-like stare most of the performance. He seemed very into the show while somewhat detached at the same time. Who knows, maybe he was high. You could tell that they were aged definitely at this point, but man could they still rock. The drummer was cracking us up, he was so aggressive and into it and casually middle aged looking about it. I do remember their version of Space Grass was a little quicker than normal, but the audience still got majorly into the song. The pit got incredibly excited during this one, and I was not able to keep from jumping and stomping and finger point sing shouting myself, in front of the Wall of Timid Men.
The Wall of Timid Men, as I was calling them, was a line of taller and/or bigger sized gentlemen that were choosing not to participate in the moshpit and rather annoyed by it. They had positioned themselves behind a body of bopping girls. They probably had the smartest position in the club. They had a good view, and they got to hold us up when we were pushed back into them by the moshing men. The WOTM was actually very helpful when this would happen and I am very thankful they were there to help me from getting knocked backwards and falling over a couple of times.
2. Child of the City
|Blast Tyrant on vinyl!|
4. Burning Beard
5. House That Peterbilt
6. Mob Goes Wild
7. Profits of Doom
9. Escape From the Prison Planet
12. Animal Farm
13. Texan Book of the Dead
14. King of Arizona
15. Electric Worry/One Eyed Dollar
16. I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth
17. The Elephant Riders
They played a good amount of what you would want to hear, although like any band with a decent catalog, you can only fit so much into a show. It was interesting to hear the current songs they have been working on recently. It’s so hard to try to remember the setlist of a show and drink and bop at the same time. I made a list in my Moleskin after the concert, but could only remember what I could remember. For an excellent review of the show, check out the blog Root Down in the Shadow's review of the concert.
Overall, this was one of the best rock concerts I have been to. Mainly, I suppose, because I really love the groovy sounds of Clutch and it was so great to experience that in such an intimate setting so close to the band. I scored a copy of Blast Tyrant's re-release on vinyl. I love vinyl and I love Clutch! It’s great to dance around to and get pumped up. I have been in a big Clutch kick this year, and I listened to them with my daughter a ton. We would rock out to Tight Light That, but her favorite song is Animal Farm. When they played it, I got so excited and the first thing I thought of was my baby girl!! Seems an odd band for a toddler, but the girl knows how to rock, and has excellent taste in music, I might add.
Me To You,
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