Clutch @ Brooklyn Steel (5/15/2017)

Artist: Clutch
Venue: Brooklyn Steel (Brooklyn, NY)
Opener: Lucero, The Sword
Date: 5/15/2017
Label: Weathermaker Records

I guess that it’s been a month or so since the new venue in East Williamsburg (aka Bushwick) called BROOKLYN STEEL had opened and I have been scanning their calendar since The Cult show for another chance to try and be one of the media flies on the wall to report on a show and give you my personal lay of the land. The chance for this would come with an appearance by the great band Clutch who were doing what appeared to be a quick run with support from the bands The Sword and Lucero. I think this show would mark my sixth or seventh time seeing Clutch in action but I had never seen The Sword and Lucero were new to me entirely so there would be some education with the event. Here we go.

The Sword: As I’ve mentioned already, I had never seen The Sword before despite having heard them for a few years already. Sadly my travel time to the new space would find me coming in on the tail end of the third song (which would mean minimal images from their set) and an abbreviated chance to absorb their crushing vibe. For those who are in the unaware, the band is signed to the Razor and Tie family of artists and are currently supporting and celebrating the release of their live album “Greetings From…..” – I loved the backdrop for their stage setup since it reminded me of the Bruce Springsteen album “Greetings From Asbury Park”

Lucero: Next up was the band Lucero who I had no idea about at all and was hoping to come away with more of a gauge on their vibe and presentation. I didn’t know a single song as result and all of my listing of the numbers would come later on from and a better listen to their body of work care of Spotify; I liked their sound for sure but it was a whole lot more mellow and laid back than I had expected. That’s not bad to absorb at all but with the overpowering heat that was going on in the main venue space at this time I didn’t need to slow myself down as much as hydrate and I wasn’t meaning with alcohol since I was doing a personal non-drinking month. These guys were good though and as I talked to patrons between sets I found a strong amount of them were there for Lucero alone which is always interesting to find being the case. I didn’t notice many people leaving post set which was a good thing. Clutch was up next.

Lucero Set: Can’t You Hear Them Howl, Chain Link Fence, Slow Dancing, Downtown (Intro), On My Way Downtown, Nights Like These, Tonight Ain’t Gonna Be Good, Here at the Starlite, I Can Get Us Out Of Here, The War, The Last Pale Light in the West, The Last Song

Clutch: The band hit the stage a little later than I would have liked to find them doing which was about 10:30pm. Like I said this was a new venue for me and a healthy walk from the nearest trains but I digress. By this time the fans were ravenous and the band hit the boards with their smooth sound to great amounts of applause. They know how to bring it to you right from the start and would give us “The House That Peterbilt” and “The Mob Goes Wild” as the opening and second tune. Singer Fallon was EVERYWHERE which tended to make for a hectic run for the media type folks such as myself but considering how dark this space was I didn’t even think he saw anyone down in the pit. I say it like this because sometimes the lead singers pay heavy attention to their media presence for the best possible faces and actions before our three songs are done. Not tonight and this guy was on the move.

As you can tell from the setlist posted at the close of our narrative, the band managed to cover a healthy body of their work but like any artist with a popular newish album on the stands paid a heavier focus to that. Of the full seventeen songs performed this evening, a total of “5” came from the 2015 recording “Psychic Warfare”. I didn’t mind this at all since I know a band has to rally their legions behind new work more than keeping the super old stuff in play completely. Some fans get mad at this but I am aware on why it’s done. I was busy rocking out after the photo taking time because the groove laid down by the musicians in the group (Tim, Dan and Jean-Paul) is so crunching and solid that you cannot help yourself. As a fan who was always more casual than the rest I couldn’t tell you if some of the set was considered “deep cuts” or not but when I saw a regular concert buddy afterward and asked what he thought about it he was literally beside himself with joy. That is never a bad thing to hear from someone who was very much a diehard.

Closing up I have got to admit that it was a solid night from beginning to end and that is never a bad thing. I did run into some technical difficulties with the camera which tended to turn a great time into a whole lot of “uh oh” so I know what my morning mission plan is. Oh yeah so what do I think of the new Brooklyn Steel venue. Okay well, it’s a quick train ride on the “L” line but then you have at least a “15” minute walk to the place which can be confusing if you don’t know the area much like I didn’t. Fortunately, Google Maps worked well for me and I just glanced at it to see the direction to go until I arrived. Inside the place there is a massive side bar outside of the concert space that was clocking serious numbers from this drinking crowd. It seems to be an old industrial building so mammoth fans were set up above and I assume they were from the life this space had before it became a concert venue since there was air conditioning on. There is an upstairs level but I didn’t go up there since I arrived later than planned and it was all enjoy the music time. Inside the concert space also looks large by my visual but I didn’t see it with the lights on. I will guess that its about the size of Irving Plaza on the main floor if not a little larger. The stage seemed long but not too deep. Yes there is a photo pit for the media types and it was spacious “enough” in there to have some mobility. I don’t know what Metal bands would come here but it will be interesting to see how they fare here. As far as concert pregaming I didn’t see anything super close to the venue and will need to examine that aspect at another time. Time to go, cheers until we meet again.

Set List:
1. The House That Peterbilt
2. The Mob Goes Wild
3. The Face
4. Sucker for the Witch
5. Earth Rocker
6. Crucial Velocity
7. Son of Virginia
8. Firebirds!
9. Escape From the Prison Planet
10. Spacegrass
11. A Quick Death in Texas
12. The Elephant Riders
13. Passive Restraints
14. Noble Savage
15. The Wolf Man Kindly Requests…
16. Electric Worry
17. X-Ray Visions

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