The T-Shirt Inventory Project 2020 has been a lot of fun. There are still other shirts lying around here that didn’t catch a wave. I wouldn’t call them a wave, exactly. Let’s call them a tide. An ebb tide. Here are a few shirts that did not appear in the eight waves that came before.
And just in case you are interested, here are direct links to each wave so you can check out the shirts that rolled ashore.
With live in-person music events on an indefinite hiatus, streaming events are becoming more common. Clutch has been holding short livestreams for a few weeks nowfrom their rehearsal space, the Doom Saloon. Yesterday they cranked it up a notch by holding a three-hour concert event through the LiveFrom Events platform with Saul, Blacktop Mojo, and Crowbar as openers. It was not the same as being there in person, of course, but it was a lot fun.
The started about 25 minutes late, just like a regular concert. Before each band, some promotional material was run, interviews or merchandise links or release announcements, that sort of thing. And then the bands each played from their respective remote places.
Saul was first up. Their music is melodic and guitar-driven, reminiscent of Breaking Benjamin. A quartet from Iowa, Saul has been gaining momentum in the last couple years. They clocked a solid 30 minute set to break open the afternoon, playing their hits and closing with “Brother,” their best known song. The production was topnotch on their end – Saul was the only band using more than one camera, and they even had a light show.
The feed headed south to Fort Worth Sound Studios in Texas for the next show. Blacktop Mojo creates a heavy sound that is a blend of bluesy southern rock and grungy riffs. The band has a new EP coming out Friday called Static, and they played a couple songs from it. You can look forward to raucous live sets from these five when we can all get back together again. As a bonus, you can count on some fancy footwork from the lead singer Matt James. They closed their set with “Come Get Your Coat,” from their recent album Under The Sun, and it was a great send off.
Before the next band took to stage, the promoter ran several ads. Not surprising, and after all, at a show or especially a festival we are always bombarded with vendors selling things. It didn’t run too long and it gave me a chance to grab another beer.
The penultimate band was New Orleans’ renowned veteran skull crushers Crowbar. Broadcasting from what looked like an underground bunker, founder and frontman Kirk Windstein was in fine form. The band brought some sludge and doom to the show, with the occasional nod to a classic Motörhead style. The first two bands were new to me, but I have seen Crowbar a number of times and so I was really looking forward to this performance. The band definitely delivered the monster riffs and the menacing vocals we were all hoping for.
The headliner was next, and leading up to Clutch’s performance, the “Willie Nelson” video was played. Then we heard the familiar lead-in that always means Clutch is about to hit the stage: “If I ever get my hands on a dollar again, I’m gonna squeeze on it until the eagle grin.” Ah, the memories.
Playing from the Doom Saloon itself, this performance looked very much like the shorter livestreams Clutch has been broadcasting except this was a full set, 14 songs. Here is the list:
“Who Wants to Rock?”
“Pure Rock Fury”
“The Incomparable Mr. Flannery”
“Unto The Breach”
“The House That Peterbilt”
“A Shotgun Named Marcus”
“In Walks Barbarella”
It was so great to see Clutch perform their usual mix of fan favorites and rarities. Well, to be fair, for fans all the songs are favorites. They sounded and looked great. I hope there will be more of these coming up – they certainly do seem to be well received by fans thirsty for live music. Neil Fallon mentioned that the livestream was being broadcast at Chilkoot Charlie’s in Anchorage, Alaska. That’s some reach for you right there. Koot’s! I really miss that place … but I digress. Other bands have announced similar streaming concerts, and a lot of musicians have been doing what they can to reach listeners over the past three months. There will probably be even more innovations the longer this all drags on, but those people who say live in person is music is gone for good are wrong. As soon as it works, we are all going to be out there again. Until then, we’ll keep supporting music as much as we can.
Part of the proceeds from this livestreaming event will go to the Angel Flight West charity (see the link below). And there is a limited Minotaur t-shirt you can buy for only a day or two more (link also below). What is special about it besides its cool design is that some of the proceeds from the shirt sales will go to the Clutch crew who have been idled by the current situation.
Finally, check out the platform, LiveFrom Events. A recording of the entire show is available to watch for a couple days in case you missed it – or if you bought the livestream access, you can watch the show again. Overall this event went really well. There was delay at the beginning, and the chat feature locked up for me most of the time, but I was watching and listening to the music anyway so that wasn’t a problem as far as I am concerned. I would definitely watch another LiveFrom event.
Another kickin’ livestream from Clutch today, this time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their album Clutch, and to make an announcement.
As usual, they played three songs during the livestream, which ran a little less than fifteen minutes this time. Appropriately, all three songs were from the Clutch album: “Big News I,” “Big News II,” and “Animal Farm.” I got to it all late and had to watch a recording (you can watch it too from the link below). An hour after the broadcast, 20,000+ views had been had. They are still getting a solid response from the fans for these short livestreams.
So what’s the big news? On May 27th there will be a livestream with Clutch and three other bands: Crowbar, Blacktop Mojo, and Saul. The live concert is called Live from the Doom Saloon, Volume 1, and part of the proceeds will go to charity, including to Angel Flight. There is a $9 cover charge, and the virtual doors fling open at 3:50PM Eastern time at the link below. So get a few beers lined up and tune in for some great music on the 27th. I will definitely be there.
It’s Thursday at three in the afternoon and Clutch pops up suddenly with another live stream, this time unannounced. I don’t usually like surprises but this was a good one.
They played three songs again with no repeats from the first two streams: “Sucker for the Witch” from Psychic Warfare, “Passive Restraints” from that EP, and “Smoke Banshee” from Pure Rock Fury. That last one is a teaser for a new studio recording of the song that shows up tomorrow on Spotify.
There were 3,563 people watching as the livestream ended, a considerably smaller number than the other streams, but that was obviously because Sneak Attack was entirely unannounced. Well, not entirely – they mentioned last time that they might do this. Two hours after this one ended, more than 20,000 people had viewed it. So far, as of now, the first one has 132,000 views and the second one has 107,000 views. People are liking it, I’d say.
Another great show. Subscribe to Clutch’s YouTube channel, and opt in for notifications if you want to know when these streams are happening.
It is Clutch Week at the T-Shirt Inventory Project. It is a complete coincidence that Clutch started doing livestream performances from their rehearsal space, The Doom Saloon, this week as well. I hope you are watching those on YouTube and I hope you are wearing Clutch shirts while you do it.
Clutch gave us another 16-minute livestream today from the Doom Saloon. I loved it and so did the 8,909 other people who watched live, I bet.
The three songs this Thursday afternoon were “Noble Savage,” “The Face,” and “Earth Rocker.” They are streaming these live performances through a standard laptop camera for the video, but the audio is improved and not the just the laptop mic. Neil Fallon said that they are planning on getting more cameras and making further upgrades as they work through this early experimental stage but that streaming equipment is hard to come by just now because of the understandably high demand.
The big news from today’s live stream comes in three parts. First, they are going to keep doing these and they are working on the schedule. It is best to subscribe on YouTube and click the notifications icon to find out when new ones are happening. Second, they might do some of these completely unannounced – this one was announced yesterday on social media. And third, they have tentatively planned to keep doing streams (live shows, etc.) even after the in-person shows start up again. After all, once they figure out how best to do it, there’s no real reason not to continue on with them once the world comes back.
Clutch gave their fans a sixteen minute livestream on their YouTube channel today in what they described as an experiment, promising more to come.
Live from their rehearsal studio The Doom Saloon, Neil, JP, Tim, and Dan played three songs live: “50,000 Unstoppable Watts,” “El Jefe Speaks,” and “Willie Nelson.” Check out the terrible screen grabs to get an idea of setting. It is weird, of course, to see these live performances in front of a virtual audience, but it is great to see Clutch under pretty much any circumstances. The sound was great for a livestream over YouTube. By the time it ended, there were 5,580 people who had stopped by, and many more have checked it out since then.
Until the live in-person music comes back, we’ll look forward to the next stream. See the link below if you missed it live – it was recorded, of course, and you can watch it and re-watch it at your leisure.
We started posting photos of t-shirts a couple weeks ago on social media, you know, to smash the boredom down a little since there is no live music right now. Why not post them here, too? Witness, then, Wave One.
Clutch spent a lot of time performing live in 2019 on the Book of Bad Decisions tour, but that was nothing new for them – they are well known as the always-on-the-road band. In March, they made their way across the middle of the country on their way to a European tour in June. Back in the US in July, Clutch hosted their own festival for the third year running, Earth Rocker, at Shiley Acres in West Virginia. Numerous dates followed in July, including Heavy Montreal, and August, including Psycho Las Vegas. More touring in September and October, including a monster set before a sold out crowd at Aftershock in Sacramento. And then there was another stretch in Europe in December. After all of this, how does Clutch wrap up the year?
With three big shows in a row, on the 29th at the 9:30 Club in DC, the 30th at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, and on New Year’s Eve at Union Transfer in Philadelphia. In these final three performances of 2019, Clutch played completely different sets at each venue, 54 songs total, and on New Year’s Eve, they performed their classic album Blast Tyrant in its entirety. This should be the example of Finishing Strong from now on. What an amazing year.
The band played more than 80 dates in 2019. I didn’t catch them all, but I did see them at six different shows, and each one was a full-tilt rock and roll experience. You can’t go wrong with Clutch, and live is best way to hear them. One thing that is really different about the band compared to others is their constantly changing set list. When many bands go on tour, they rehearse a fixed set and play the same songs at every date. Clutch plays a different set every time.
In interviews, the band has said that they take turns choosing which songs to play. How can they keep that much music in their heads? To make sure I wasn’t blacking out and misremembering this, I looked up set lists for three of the festival appearances Clutch made this year.
Psycho Las Vegas
The Mob Goes Wild
The Mob Goes Wild
Profits Of Doom
How To Shake Hands
The Mob Goes Wild
How To Shake Hands
H. B. Is In Control
In Walks Barbarella
In Walks Barbarella
In Walks Barbarella
A Quick Death In Texas
Spirit of ’76
Gimme The Keys
A Quick Death In Texas
One Eye Dollar
D.C. Sound Attack!
There are only three songs that were played in all three sets, and the crowds love every song they play. It is not merely that they are incredible musicians and can remember all these different songs. In order to be able to shuffle the deck every night and never disappoint their fans, they have to have dozens of memorable songs that people want to hear.
Even after more than twenty five years together, the iconic band from Maryland still produces new music that is embraced by fans. Neil Fallon, Tim Sult, Dan Maines, and Jean-Paul Gaster have been together since the first Clutch recordings, and each new album carries the rock and roll message forward. On any given night, there will be new songs mixed in with older tunes including, and occasionally a cover tune. Every once in a while, they’ll play songs going all the way back to their first couple of albums (“Spacegrass” is from their second full-length album released in 1995 and they played it at Psycho Las Vegas this year). You never know going in what exactly you are going to hear. All you know for sure is you’re going to like it.
2019 was a great year for Clutch. Their Book of Bad Decisions tour continued, they toured Europe a couple times, hit the festival circuit, and made a number of club and theater appearances. They are certainly not slowing down – a case is easily made, in fact, that they are picking up steam. Not much is known about their 2020 schedule yet (not publicly anyway), so let me take a guess. I bet they’ll be on tour all year.