“Could’ve been a swan on a glassy lake. Could’ve been a gull in a clipper’s wake. Could’ve been a ladybug on a wind-chime, But she was born a Dragonfly.” A stage stroll and head-nod from Scorpio, and that’s all it took for Maryland’s, Clutch to get their jam on at Portland, Oregon’s Roseland Theater on Tuesday, Croptober 9th. Currently on tour in support of their 12th studio album release, “Book of Bad Decisions”, via Weathermaker Music, the band swarmed Stump-town with Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown along with direct support from Sevendust. And they kicked ass too! With Clutch known more for their music, catchy lyrics, organic mold, and a beard than flashy stage antics or firecrackers, the guys came prepared with a sixteen track set-list which I’m sure stacks up with some of the best of them.
Born from a heavy blend of Heavy Metal, Rock, Stoner Rock, Blues, and pick your genre label of choice, Clutch knows who they are and have ridden that formula since their days from the early nineties experimenting with heavy rock and blues as an underlying core to branch from. I’ve partaken in plenty of Clutch shows through the years and they never disappoint, ever, and this night would be no different. In fact I noticed the band seemed to have a renewed energy and extra-step in their game for this tour and it stood out mightily. After a blistering “The Dragonfly” opening track energizing the room with a engaging classic, Clutch hit hard with “El Hefe”, “Ghoul Wranglers” off the new album, Noble Savage, and always a fan favorite, “The Mob Goes Wild”. I’ve personally been hoping for and waiting months to sing aloud, “Put Jimi Hendrix on a twenty dollar bill, and Bill Hicks on a five note”, and Clutch delivered the call with, “How To Shake Hands“. Lucky me. You have to understand, this is a band that changes the set-list every show so if you’re calling for a specific tune and get it, you’re having a good night.
Mostly a band of few words and few colors but score high on weaponized funk, positive vibes, and humbleness, Scorpio delivered a quick, “Thank ya kindly everybody” and the show continued on groove with tracks like, “Regulators”, “Cypress Grove”, brand new title track, “Book Of Bad Decisions”, “In Walks Barbarella”, “Earth Rocker” and “H. B. is in Control”. Underneath the back-lights assuming their normal positions, Gemini on drums, Pieces on bass, and Aries on guitar controlled the stage as purposeful and precise as a well-oiled classic automobile in a walk through classic car show. Aries even thought to sport his Oregon St. Beavers colored shoes to enhance the night’s peddle action. The band sounded great, with Scorpio slinging the guitar at least five or six times on different tracks throughout the night.
Another label that could be instilled in the Clutch equation these days is, jam band! Clutch can improvise on any given track with the best of them. We saw evidence a couple times during the set with Cypress Grove, and D.C. Sound Attack! The addition of the cow-bell always takes the songs and the crowd to a whole other level. The spontaneous factor Clutch brings in many ways, especially in their live sets is another example fans tune in and regard Clutch as one of the consistent and forefront bands in the business. Finishing strong, the band scored through “A Shogun Named Marcus”, “Electric Worry”, and yes if you haven’t gathered by my Zodiac signs fun with band names, Portland got hit with “X-Ray Visions” as the final encore. The kid in the front row riding his dads shoulders got the set-list. Another memorable show and night! Something tells me if you get the chance to see Clutch this tour you better move on it, because with the expected success from “Book Of Bad Decisions”, every International festival out there will be inviting them in 2019. One more thought, at the end of the day, don’t label, just enjoy the music. Clutch On!
Portland, Oregon, Croptober 9th, 2018 – Setlist: