Clutch are on the European leg of their 2018 tour promoting their twelfth studio album “Book of Bad Decisions”. The show in Tvornica Kulture was sold out almost a whole month prior to the gig. Clutch have already visited Zagreb in 2016 with another sold out show so the hype was real.
Tvornica Kulture has been renovated recently as I’ve been told and since it’s been actually downsized 600-ish attendees were pretty much crammed in the venue during the whole show. Another thing that was a bit of a letdown from the get-go was the modest volume of the PA. I’m pretty sure that the venue’s PA is perfectly fine but the question is if it could spread the sound evenly across the whole space, including the back of the place where yours truly was, right next to the band’s own sound technician and light engineer, usually a place where the sound should be the most satisfactory. Not that the sound was bad; quite the opposite. It was very clean and neat, pleasant even. But it lacked the punch of a rock n’ roll show, you know? Clutch are a blues band more than anything and I’m perfectly aware that no one should be expecting Motörhead or AC/DC kind of arena rock here. But, if there’s no pump in the air (or in the guts) and people can talk normally during the show one starts to wonder if the band should rather be playing pub or club shows with 300 people tops capacity and get the right whiff from there. Hedonistic things aside, Clutch played flawlessly.
Neil Fallon is a great frontman and a great singer. He knows how to work the crowd throwing occasional puns („I had to wrestle a cow to get this“ referring to a cowbell) and he is a sight to behold whenever he’s holding the mic preaching to the audience.
Whenever Neil switches to rhythm guitar for some songs the band becomes a bit of static since the other three band members are pretty much in demand of playing their instruments without the extra movements.
The setlist was in favor of the new album, playing seven tracks off “Book of Bad Decisions”. „From Beale Street To Oblivion“ being my favorite Clutch album, I was glad the band played „Electric Worry“ at the end of the regular set. Older fans had their fix in „Spacegrass“ (off eponymous 1995 sophomore album) and „The Mob Goes Wild“ (off 2004 „Blast Tyrant“). “Book of Bad Decisions” is a good album for sure but one cannot help but to wish for „Power Player“, „The Regulator“ or „Burning Beard“ too. There are songs in a band’s discography that simply define that band so it’s a pity that band drops those hits in favor of new songs the band’s promoting at the moment. Then again, it’s the band’s party and the guys have surely played those tracks to death in their past so it’s their call, in the end, to strive for that balance when creating their setlists.
Sixteen songs in plus the encore, Marylanders played eighteen songs in total in little less than 80 minutes. The show was enjoyable but kinda flawed, although more down to the venue’s specifics than to the band themselves. Next stops are Pratteln, Switzerland, Munich and Stuttgart in Germany, Paris and Brussels in Europe; plus a handful of shows in the UK before returning to the States.
So if you’re looking for a blues-influenced hard rock stoner fix and want your booty-shakin’ and beard burnin’ go catch Clutch
before the Xmas frenzy.
(more photos below)
Clutch 2018 remaining tour dates:
12/12 – Konzertfabrik Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland
12/13 – Werk, Backstage, Munich, Germany
12/14 – LKA-Longhorn, Stuttgart, Germany
12/15 – Élysée Montmartre, Paris, France
12/16 – Brussels, Belgium
12/18 – O2 Academy Bristol, Bristol, UK
12/19 – O2 Academy Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
12/20 – Manchester Academy, Manchester, UK
12/21 – O2 Academy Brixton, London, UK
12/22 – O2 Academy Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
12/27 – Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD, US
12/28 – Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ, US
12/29 – Aura, Portland, ME, US
12/31 – Cleveland Masonic and Performance Arts Center – Auditorium, Cleveland, OH, US
Tvornica Kulture setlist:
- Weird Times
- How to Shake Hands
- The Mob Goes Wild
- Ghoul Wrangler
- Earth Rocker
- Vision Quest
- Gimme the Keys
- Crucial Velocity
- A Quick Death in Texas
- Noble Savage
- H.B. Is in Control
- D.C. Sound Attack!
- Electric Worry
- X-Ray Visions
- In Walks Barbarella
- The Face