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Primus/Clutch


Date: 8/8/17
Venue: Marquee Theater, Tempe AZ
Report By: Jack Mangan

 


Clutch.
For almost three decades, Clutch have been delivering excellent, non-complex, irreverent, bluesy Rock n' Roll that hits hard enough to be called Metal. I've appreciated their sound as far back as "A Shogun Named Marcus," but somehow, only caught them live for the first time in 2017, in the opening slot of a co-headlining gig with the mighty Primus. And goddamn. I’ve never seen the Marquee Theater in Tempe AZ as crowded as it was for this show, and in spite of the cramped, sweaty quarters, the crowd was INTO IT.
When the short-haired, unflamboyant, middle-aged members of Clutch take the stage, it looks like a couple of dads left their kids' Little League game and wandered off to the wrong place - - but I'll say it again: goddamn. They hit the ground with tires spinning and peeling out, electrifying the crowd with fuzzy, wah-wah-drenched groove. Singer Neil Fallon's guttural holler resounds with the muscular power of a well-tuned V8 engine. Their energy is hard and fierce, but positive, with a hint of funk. They bring the high octane good time without turning things shallow This is Clutch; this ain’t no frat party or dance club.
While they didn’t play my two favorites from their catalog: “Shogun. . .” and “The Soapmakers,” their set still kicked ass, with a steady stream of rockers, with the highlights being “X-Ray Visions,” “Firebirds!,” and “The Elephant Riders.”


Primus.
Les Claypool was much more subdued than Clutch, and donned in a hat and coke-bottle glasses, his presence was also a bit more low-key than the last time I’d seen him. However, his fingers were as deft as ever, playing the bass with more effortless skill than almost anyone else ever has in the history of the instrument. He also offered up amiable between-song banter, asking if there were any Bon Jovi fans in the house. Lalonde maintains his 90s-reminiscent wall-of-hair, eyes mostly on his guitar, while he delivers his trademark, perfectly-out-of-scale leads. The visual accompaniments on the large screen behind drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander were appropriately strange, to match the band, including the plastic cowboy music video for “Wynonna’s Big Brown Beaver.”
Primus are a weird, weird, wonderful band. Of all the oddball, quirky artists that have been and ever will be, there will never be another Primus; Les Claypool is a national treasure. The crowd was fully engaged and devoted to the material, applauding wildly at the appearance of the Frizzle Fry album cover for a performance of the title cut. If you’ve never had the opportunity to witness this unique act, then make sure you catch them, while they’re still at their prime. No pun intended.


Primus Setlist:
American Life
Moron TV
Fisticuffs
Wynona's Big Brown Beaver
Frizzle Fry
Candy Man
Mr. Krinkle
Jilly's on Smack
Welcome to This World
Mrs. Blaileen
On the Tweek Again
My Name Is Mud
The Toys Go Winding Down
Pudding Time
The Seven
Groundhog's Day
Sgt. Baker
Too Many Puppies

Clutch Setlist:
The House That Peterbilt
X-Ray Visions
Profits of Doom
Promoter (Of Earthbound Causes)
Slow Hole to China
Big News I
Escape From the Prison Planet
Spacegrass
Cyborg Bette
Firebirds!
Decapitation Blues
Crucial Velocity
Burning Beard
The Elephant Riders
Vision Quest
Gravel Road

 
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