There’s nothing more exciting than the first time you visit a venue. Getting the feel of the place, finding the best vantage point, and appreciating a new place to see live music.Having opened little more than a month ago, Bowery Presents’ latest venue is a beautiful new place to see shows in the NYC metro area, and while The Cult played there last week, perhaps the first really heavy show took place there this past Monday, as Clutch, Lucero and The Sword gave a mostly-full venue a cure for the Mondays. We were there, as was metal Insider contributying photographer Melinda Oswandel.
The Sword started things off. Having toured with Clutch before, they were familiar to many fans, and with a new live album to promote, started things off with a solid 45 minutes of mostly new music. They went over well, but didn’t play anything from their first album, Age of Winters. Considering that the average Clutch fan is probably a little on the older side, you’d think they might want to throw in “Freya” for the casual fan that maybe played Guitar Hero a decade, but they’re probably sick of playing it.
Lucero was an interesting choice for the middle band. Somewhere between punk and alt-country, the band have been around for almost twenty years, but we heard more than one person asking who they were and why they were playing after The Sword and not before them. Given Clutch’s detour into the less aggressive and more bluesy side around the Strange Cousins From the West/From Beale Street to Oblivion era complements Lucero’s catalogue, and there were obviously some fans of the band at the show. They grew on the crowd, and by the end of their set, won over a decent amount of people. There’s always a method to Clutch’s madness when picking openers, and it appears to have worked once again.
Concensus among Clutch fans is that their sophomore 1996 self-titled album is their best. And while the band tend to celebrate the more recent albums in their catalog, with eleven albums to pull from, they always mix it up. Their 17-song setlist on Monday was one of the best and most diverse that they’ve played. Kicking off with self-titled’s “The House That Peterbilt” and then going into Blast Tyrant‘s “The Mob Goes Wild,” they revisited the self titled later in the set for a double shot of “Escape From the Prison Planet” into “Spacegrass.” They also busted out “Passive Restraints” and the title track to “Elephant Riders.” Neil Fallon continues to have the persona of a preacher that’s about to start speaking in tongues (which he does in the chorus to “Earth Rocker.” The band confidently stay in the groove like a machine, and with a Primus tour coming up this Summer, as this tour draws to a close on Saturday at the Earth Rocker Fest, they’re in a position where they’ll be able to make quite a few new fans.