Clutch collects the singles they have been releasing over the past several months in Weathermaker Vault Series, Volume 1.
The idea behind doing this at all is to release fan favorites and songs that the band has played live a lot over the years because they have evolved as time has passed. These new studio versions are closer to the way you hear the songs when you see Clutch in concert, and several of the songs are covers that were not released on studio albums. In some cases, they differences on the re-records are small, but in others the comparison between the original recordings and the new ones show that the differences really stand out.
The album has ten songs on it, nine of which has already been released as digital singles: 1. Passive Restraints, 2. Electric Worry, 3. Run, John Barleycorn, Run, 4. Evil, 5. Fortunate Son, 6. Algo Ha Cambiado, 7. Spacegrass, 8. Precious and Grace, 9. Smoke Banshee, and 10. Willie Nelson.
On “Passive Restraints,” Randy Blythe of Lamb of God joins the band and creates an amazing synergy. “Electric Worry” has a slightly more stripped down sound here (and no harmonica) like, again, it is on concert – always one of my favorites. “Run, John Barleycorn, Run” was only previously available on a split from some years back. “Evil” and “Fortunate Son” are fantastic covers of those legendary songs, and “Algo Ha Cambiado” is a briefer version than the one that appears on Strange Cousins from the West. “Spacegrass” gets an extended treatment, and “Precious and Grace” is a ZZ Top cover. “Smoke Banshee,” another one of my personal favorites (that is a long list when we are talking about Clutch songs), never sounded better, and on “Willie Nelson,” we find out he “only smokes killer weed.”
Should you buy this? Of course. If you are a Clutch fan, you want all these songs together, even if the singles are floating out there separately somewhere. If you are a collector, you will want to look for the vinyl (or even the CD) as it’ll be a hot sold out item almost immediately. And if you like music, this is great music. C’mon. It’s Clutch.
The full album drops on Friday, November 27th. You can order the CD all over, at Amazon and whatnot, and the digital in the usual places. There is a vinyl version at the Clutch merch site (link below) that should be available soon to order. Highly recommended.
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.
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.