Today there were many ‘firsts’ for me. First time seeing the troll underneath the bridge in Seattle, first time seeing a show at the WaMu theater and first time seeing Clutch live. From the outside looking at the entrance to this venue, I didn’t know what to expect. I could not imagine a big enough stage to fit three headline worthy bands inside a building that’s shared with the Seattle Seahawks. Stepping inside I made my way around through twists and turns and found myself inside what felt like a big convention center space with a stage flanked by huge heavy blue curtains. Directly across the stage is a set of bleachers where I find the center front row and finally take my seat. As I looked around I noticed the other people watching, This place is huge and full of not only fans of each band but of diverse families. Fathers and mothers bringing their kids to witness amazing metal. Long Live metal! And of course, metal shows in the Pacific Northwest aren’t the same unless some concert goer is dressed as a banana. Yes, Banana guy was there.
First band up was Corrosion of Conformity (C.O.C.) who have been around since 1982 and are from North Carolina. First thing you notice is the mighty Pepper Keenan is back on vocals after a little hiatus while he worked with his other notorious band, Down. They started off their set with a bit of the instrumental “Bottom Feeder (El que come abajo)” off the album Wiseblood that was released in 1996. Flawlessly they make their way into “Paranoid Opioid” from In the Arms of God. This was also my first time seeing C.O.C. and I loved how some songs like “Broken Man” had that dirty groove guitar sound. It is not surprising that most of the songs from their set list came off of the ever popular Deliverance album that was released in 1994. Everyone back in the day had this album in their collection. C.O.C.’s set started off really strong but somewhere in the middle of it, they got on the wrong page. For the song “Seven Days” it sounded like they were out of sync. I talked with a few people after the show who have seen C.O.C. before and they confirmed what I heard and said that this was not C.O.C.’s best performance. But have no fear! Pepper says they are working on a new album that should be out next year. So maybe with this new album and the band having more time together, by the next show we see of C.O.C. they will blow the roof off the building!
Now for a band I was excited to see because I have heard so many great things from my close friends about how amazing this band is and what a fantastic show they put on that I had to see the almighty Clutch with my own eyes. You never forget your first time. Clutch has been around since 1991 and is made up of Neil Fallon on vocals, Tim Sult on guitar, Dan Maines on bass, and Jean-Paul Gaster on drums/percussion. If you are not familiar with Clutch, the style of music they deliver is difficult to pinpoint with just one sound. Clutch is the perfect flow and mixture of alternative rock, blues, groove and of course metal. First thing I noticed is the respect and joy each member exudes on stage. This is a band of brothers! Neil didn’t stand directly in front of Jean-Paul, he shared the stage, and Tim and Dan just played their talents shining so pure, you can’t help but smile and tap your feet to the music. Clutch played quite a few songs off their most recent album Psychic Warfare such as the blusey, bad ass song “A Quick Death in Texas” that is fun to sing along to as well as my personal favorite “Son of Virginia” which transports you to the deep and dirty south and is also from the album Psychic Warfare,
Clutch played the fun, faster paced “Sucker for the Witch” and “X-Ray Vision” which had Neil exploding with energy running around stage and moving in such a way that every word coming out of him seemed to pulse through his very being. There was not that much talking from Neil in between songs except for the one time he told us “don’t make me come down there and love you. I spread that around.” As if we didn’t love them already. They could not have picked a better three songs to end the set. With “Pulaski Skyway” off the 2005 Robot Hive/Exodus album that includes a killer guitar solo, followed by the ‘unapologetic lifer for Rock and Roll’ punk mosh pit generator song “Noble Savage” off Psychic Warfare. Lastly, the iconic Clutch song “Electric Worry” to which everyone inside the WaMu theater was singing loudly. If you were not jumping up and down and having a good time during Clutch, you must have been sleeping. Final words from Neil as Clutch exited the stage, “Thank you again Seattle. Rock and Roll!” I can’t wait to see them again.
Local radio station DJs from Seattle’s 99.9KISW Metal Show came on stage to pump up the crowd and introduce the all powerful Lamb of God! Hailing from the Old Dominion state of Virginia, Lamb of God has been around since 1994 and consists of John Campbell on bass, Chris Adler on drums, Mark Morton on lead guitar, Willie Adler on rhythm guitar and Randy Blythe on vocals. With fake candles surrounding the stage and a couple huge screens, the members of Lamb of God take the stage and open with the first track off the 2006 Sacrament album “Walk with Me in Hell” as the screens behind the band flashed images of military and war. Followed by the earlier LOG song “Ruin” that has all the elements that we love from the 2003 album As the Palaces Burnwhich shares the title with a documentary that was released in February 2014. Randy takes a moment give a warm welcoming to the crowd and asks for a ‘Ric Flair woooo’ from the audience that we are all to happy to yell out.
Continuing on with a darker song off the new album VII:Strum Und Drang “512” I can see the audience decide to help a fellow concert goer that is in a wheelchair to crowd surf. You can see the band’s excitement to see a group of people working together to give this particular person an awesome experience. Perfect for the Memorial Day weekend, Randy takes to the mic to say this next song is dedicated to those in the armed forces and urges us to sing along, “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For” which the screens honor those in the military by showing pictures of those serving our great country.
Following “Blacken the Cursed Sun” from Sacrament, Randy dedicates the next song to local boys Bobby and Rod Black with a song they requested off the new album called “Anthropoid” which is of course just as heavy as any LOG song. At one point, a Chicago White Sox’s hat ended up on stage which made Randy sort of laugh asking who our team was. Before Randy could finish that question, the Seattle audience unanimously started chanting “SEAHAWKS!” to which Randy replies he doesn’t know much about sports, he is a skater. Ha! Randy then respectively gives a shout out to Corrosion of Conformity and Clutch and to us, the audience before Lamb of God finishes their set with the undeniably heavy, headbanging anthems of “Laid to Rest” and “Redneck” to which the crowd goes crazy for the last songs and the energy created a huge circle pit. Tonight was not just any concert, it was a concert with three headliners ! Can’t get much better than that.