Clutch/Corrosion of Conformity | 10.16.15

live clutchThe triple Bill of Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, and the Shrine brought the noise, heat, and spirit of ’70s stadium rock.




Pop’s Nightclub, Sauget, Ill.

1,600 shoehorned; sweaty fans came, rocked, partied, and witnessed the power of two seasoned heavy bands and one newcomer.

Venice Beach trio The Shrine kicked off the show, creating a sound and fury that recalls the best moments of Blue Cheer, Motörhead, and Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. The denim and t-shirt–wearing army of concertgoers gave them a pretty enthusiastic welcome. These boys were a welcome addition to the night’s triple bill.

Sandwiched in between the opener and closer were Southern sludge metal vets Corrosion of Conformity. With vocalist and front man Pepper Keenan back in the fold, they proved yet again why the band has been around and thriving since 1982. They’ve paid their dues and then some. COC hit the stage hard and put the pedal to the metal. There were no ballads or filler with these guys, just molten lava riffs, thundering bass, and pounding drums. Lead guitarist Woody Weatherman tossed off tasty solos and added some more decibels to the proceedings. COC reminds us of a time when bands could fill stadiums, even without the help of a hit single. COC’s fans are hardcore and were elated when Keenan finished their set and stepped outside for a smoke break. Bikers, metal heads, and rocker chicks all paid homage and asked for autographs and photos.

Highlights of COC’s set included the dense, Sabbath-y “Albatross” from their 1994 stoner rock masterpiece Deliverance, and the Southern, metallic stomp of “Wiseblood” from their fifth album of the same title. COC proved that their brand of retro, stoner rock sludge isn’t subject to trends or the whims of radio.

Next up, were the featured heroes of the night: Maryland’s road-tested, fan-approved rock quartet Clutch. Clutch has built a solid following through relentless touring and winning over punks, alternative purists, rockers, and headbangers every night. With their latest release, Psychic Warfare, climbing the charts without the help of radio or MTV, it’s obvious that Clutch has built their legion of fans through hard work and delivering sweaty, no-holds-barred, high-octane raw rock spectacles. Vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon and band threw themselves into to their work, with guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines, and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster providing the musical bedrock that had the audience up on their feet from start-to-finish.

As Clutch launched into “X-Ray Visions” from their latest release, the crowd surged forward and up against the security barrier. “X-Ray Visions” treads the ground of ’70s giants like Deep Purple, Dio, and Zeppelin. Other highlights included “The Elephant Riders,” the perfect mix of screaming vocals, a funky groove, tight riffs, and epic, trippy lyrics, and the psychedelic scorch of “Earth Rocker.” I counted 15 songs in their set, plus 3 more tunes during the encore.

Their encore included blistering versions of “The Regulator” and “D.C. Sound Attack!” The show’s closer, “The Mob Goes Wild,” best sums up the Pop’s army of manic Clutch fans. Clutch, COC, and The Shrine delivered a blistering, satisfying rock triple-play that delivered value for the dollar.

If you didn’t make the show, don’t despair: Clutch are road dogs and will hit the market again soon. | Doug Tull

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