Label the bands and music how you would like to, but on a cool fall evening at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, NY, Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, and The Shrine played hard fast soothing rock and roll to a capacity crowd. The mosh pits were plenty, as was the head banging, but there was also some dancing and general appreciation of what was coming from the stage.
The Shrine, a power trio out of Venice Beach, California, played a punk and psychedelic infused half hour of music to 90 percent of the buildings capacity who did not want to miss a moment of music. Their music at times sounds like it could have come off of a Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin record in the 70’s. Josh Landau’s vocals went from hard and gruff to wails and screams on the drop of a dime. His guitar playing was outstanding as well. Courtland Murphy and Jeff Murray kept a steady rhythm behind him on bass and drums respectively the whole set. Their last song let them stretch their wings with a seven minute jam that brought whipped the audience into a frenzy. These guys are definitely not to miss and hold a lot of potential for the future of rock.
Next up were Corrosion of Conformity, who have been doing this since 1982 and show no signs of slowing down. Recently reunited with guitarist and vocalist Pepper Keenan, who was in great form, the band were a nonstop force for a little under an hour. The band dug deep into their catalog like they haven’t recently playing “Long Whip/Big America”. Throughout the venue, including on stage, smiles could be seen with everyone enjoying what was happening. Pepper spoke with the crowd between songs, whether it was describing what the next song was like, introducing the other members, or saying how it felt great to be back and hopefully another record is coming soon from the band. Woody Weatherman’s ferocious guitar playing is always a sight to see, as his bassist Mike Dean’s work. Reed Mullin is an absolute monster on the drums, as he has always been, and continued to put on a clinic of the instrument last night. As the band left the stage very loud COC chants echoed through the venue from the capacity crowd, and continued even as the roadies began to tear the stage down.
Clutch strode on stage a couple of minutes after 10 and proceeded to play an 18-song set of music that went everywhere from hard rock to metal to classic rock to blues to southern rock and everywhere else in between. The foursome, who are about to celebrate their 25th anniversary, sounded as good as they ever have. The power that comes from the stage and oozes over the audience is infectious. Their latest album Psychic Warfare was released earlier this month and the songs seamlessly were inserted into the set next to their older material. Some of the better live moments of the evening actually came from the new material with “Firebirds!” and “Your Love Is Incarceration” sounding great. The crowd was wild the whole set with most singing right back to Neil Fallon and banging their heads and dancing to the music being created by Tim Sult, Dan Maines, and Jean-Paul Gaster. Ending their set with and incredible “D.C. Sound Attack!” and coming back out for a four song encore was icing on the cake.
All three bands are riding a wave of new creativity that is pushing them to be greater than they already were. To have an evening of music like this should be every concertgoer’s dream. This is a tour not to miss out on right now.