Showing posts with label Chicago House of Blues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago House of Blues. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review: CLUTCH Psychic Warfare Tour and House of Blues Chicago LIVE Show Shots

“Psychic Warfare” tour. Fall 2015
10/14/15 Chicago, IL House Of Blues

The curtain rises and the crowd erupts in whistles and eager applause as Neil Fallon, the wild eyed anti-preacher, takes the stage with the band. 

The first notes of X-Ray Visions resound and the crowd goes completely wild. We're talking an actual mosh pit... at a Clutch show?! Unlike many metal bands with guttural growlers on the mic and unintelligible lyrics, Clutch lyrics are literate, literary and actually audible. Mythical, Biblical, political and original phrases bump up against each other in an utterly compelling mash up of wickedly witty wordplay. Unencumbered by a lead guitar, Fallon's free to rock his infamous gestures and work the crowd energy like a pro. And why not? Clutch has been touring under the radar for 25 years.

We had the pleasure of catching them this fall at House of Blues, Chicago, supporting their brand new release “Psychic Warfare”. The band was unbelievably "on" that night. We've seen them live for over two decades and I don't think I've ever heard them sound so good!

Tim Sult was absolutely smokin' on guitar and Neil Fallon has found even greater reserves of power in his already impressive vocals.

Jean-Paul Gaster and Dan Maines were tight with the rhythm and bass.

You've heard of "The Hottest Band in the Land... KISS" 
and "The Only Band That Matters... The Clash." 
Now meet "The Best Metal Band With Cow Bell... CLUTCH!!"

Check out ChiIL Live Shows' full set of pit photos 
in the slideshow here:
Photo credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Psychic Warfare was newly released when they hit Chicago, and still unfamiliar to many in the crowd. Generally new material's a bit of a hard sell, as fans want to hear their old familiar favorites. This show was an exception. The new material is so stellar the crowd lapped it up and begged for more. Yet, if there's a band fame won't implode, it's Clutch. They're too down to earth and they've been touring pros too long to let a little thing like a #1 album fundamentally change who they are and what they're all about.

By the way... speaking of old favorites. It was SO great to hear Dragonfly! I generally don't wear band shirts to their concerts on principle, but I'd worn my Dragonfly Clutch tee all day before I changed for the show. And literally right before Clutch launched into Dragonfly at the show, I ran into Omar, the tattoo artist who did an awesome dragonfly on my foot, right around the same era as the first Elephant Riders album release in 1998. Kismet indeed.

Like the myth of Sisyphus, Clutch has been rolling their rock up the metal mountain for a quarter of a century with little acclaim, only to have it roll back down again every day. They refused to sell out or change for any label, even if that meant fame and fortune were elusive. Then their label went under and they began the laborious, lengthy task of slogging through the courts to regain the rights to their early releases. 

Finally Clutch's tenacity is paying off. They own all their own material again and are releasing new albums and rereleasing early works on Weathermaker Music, the band’s self owned label. They love what they do, and play what they love, whether anyone else likes it or not, and that integrity and passion shines through. Clutch's sound, sometimes called stoner metal or lumped in with prog rock, is unique and defies easy genrefication. Yet their appeal across metal, rock, funk and even jam markets is skyrocketing. 

We discovered Clutch in the early 90's and have eagerly anticipated each new album release, and frequented their live shows ever since. So their recent success is bittersweet. On one hand we're elated to see them getting the critical acclaim and larger audience they've deserved for years. Yet, the days of seeing Clutch in small venues like Chicago's Cubby Bear bar or Logan Auditorium, where we caught them with Subhumans and World Inferno Friendship Society may be a thing of the past. Sure, larger venues and arena shows have their own energy and they are a rush, but that intimate, hole in the wall vibe, and connection between band and fans is hard to beat and will be missed.

Shadows of Rail Riders/ View from the Pit 

It was amusing at the Chicago show, the fans around us were utterly convinced that Neil has true prophetic powers. 

But instead of ogling the musicians like groupies who want to sleep with the band or BE the band, the consensus seemed to be that they all wanted to have Clutch over for a cocktail party, because they thought the guys would be intriguing to talk with! 

That's the power of Clutch's riffs and tangents. They're catchy enough for crowds to belt out their lyrics, and their riffs can really get a room going. Yet they're cerebral and bizarre enough to keep people guessing. 

Check out ChiIL Live Shows' photo features for The Shrine and Corrosion of Conformity who were direct support for Clutch on the Psychic Warfare Tour.

Pepper Keenan, C of C

We'll be taking a road trip down to Cincinnati in a few weeks, where we have press credentials to shoot Led Zeppelin 2 at Bogarts December 27th, where we shot both CLUTCH and LZ2 last December. Deja Vu, all over again!

CLUTCH will be playing there four days later, so we've bought tickets for their New Year's Eve show and can't wait to catch them again. Bogarts is an intimate venue, so I guess, despite their chart topping new release, the band's not too huge yet to go small sometimes, even for New Year's Eve. Check out their winter tour details below. And catch them if you can. Clutch IS the real deal!



Clutch has announced their annual “Holiday” tour dates for December with Crobot and Valkyrie supporting the tour. Tickets on sale NOW all dates. Stay tuned to the official Clutch Facebook, for fan club pre sale and all ticket links.

Clutch Winter Tour Dates:
Sun/Dec-27 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Mon/Dec-28 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Tue/Dec-29 New York, NY @ Terminal 5
Wed/Dec-30 Cleveland, OH @ Agora
Thu/Dec-31 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s 
(*ROCK N ROLL ROAD TRIP: ChiIL Live Shows will be there... will YOU?! Can't wait to spend NYE with CLUTCH.)

Neil Fallon - Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult - Guitar
Dan Maines - Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster - Drums/Percussion

It was our great pleasure to catch Neil Fallon for a video interview at The Vogue in Indianapolis shortly before their acclaimed Earth Rocker release. Check it out here. We've had over 18,000 views.


Clutch scored some high chart positions with its new release "Psychic Warfare”, landing on 6 Billboard charts. Weathermaker Music, the band’s self owned label, sold over 25,000 copies of the new album in the first week of release. The album came in at #11 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, the toughest chart to crack. "Psychic Warfare” is the highest debut charting album for Clutch and Weathermaker Music to date.

The album landed at #1 on Billboard’s Rock and Hard Rock charts respectively. The full list, including International charting is below:

#11 Billboard Top 200
#7 Top New Albums
#2 Independent Label
#1 Rock
#1 Hard Music
#5 Digital

#20 Top 200
#5 Independent Albums
#23 Aria Album Charts
#46 Top 100 Album Charts
#18 Top 100
#4 Hard Rock Metal

“Psychic Warfare” was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die) and consists of 12 new tracks. The album cover was designed by renowned photographer Dan Winters.

“Psychic Warfare” track listing:
01 The Affidavit 
02 X-Ray Visions 
03 Firebirds 
04 A Quick Death in Texas 
05 Sucker For The Witch
06 Your Love is Incarceration
07 Doom Saloon 
08 Our Lady of Electric Light 
09 Noble Savage Clutch 
10 Behold the Colossus 
11 Decapitation Blues 
12 Son Of Virginia

For more information, check out the band’s website:

More Favorite Show Shots:

Whose Shoes? 
I find it fascinating to see where musicians are grounded, connected to the stage. What type of footwear they choose and how they stand speaks volumes. Not the brands per say, but the style and personality... 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Photo Recap: Led Zeppelin 2 LIVE at Bogart's in Cincinnati #metal #BogartsShows

It was our great pleasure to catch Chicago's own LZ2 again LIVE, down in Cincinnati. There's still time to get your tickets and see them at The House of Blues Chicago for New Years Eve! (21+). Click the link above to lock in your tickets and for full show details.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, LZ2 is our favorite Zep cover band, hands down. They're incredibly talented musicians in their own right, with their own original material, and when they put on their Led Zeppelin personas, it's truly a time machine experience! While other tribute bands just recreate the studio versions of top hits, LZ2 goes above and beyond to rock live improv versions of the classics and more obscure favorites. Highly recommended.

In concert, LZ2 delivers authentic renditions of classic Zeppelin material, as well as recreating the live improvisation & onstage dynamics that earned Led Zeppelin their legendary status for performing. LZ2 has performed across the US and draw rave reviews for a "spot-on" Zeppelin show, playing both deep cuts and classic tracks from the entire studio, live and bootleg catalog, and occasionally entire Led Zeppelin studio albums and performances from specific dates. LED ZEPPELIN 2 brings forward the Led Zeppelin experience to a new generation while satisfying diehard Zep fans with a raw, fresh approach.

Don't miss Led Zeppelin 2 (featuring Bruce Lamont of Yakuza and Paul Kamp formerly of Busker Soundcheck) and special guests The Steepwater Band 

While we were out of town for the holidays we set up press/photo credentials to shoot several excellent bands. The house was packed for LZ2 on 12/26 and we were treated to a high energy show featuring smokin' solos, dual neck guitar, mandolin, theramin, harmonica, tambourine and screaming vocals.

Check out our full set of Pit Photos in the Slide Show here and favorites embedded below.

The Cincinnati show was particularly fun as the audience really took to heart the "all ages welcome" ticket policy and there were numerous kids of literally all ages there with their Zep lovin' parents and older sibs. 

This was a first rock concert EVER for Makenzie, age 7 (above). Other rail riders we chatted up while waiting in the photo pit were 9 and 11 years old respectively. The 11 year old was already an experienced concert goer, ready to see LZ2 for the 2nd time!

Want more? Check out the band's main site right here.

"As good a Zep as Zep ever did back in the day."
- Jim DeRogatis of NPR's Sound Opinions

LED ZEPPELIN 2: The Live Experience recreates the sights, sounds, and pure rock & roll euphoria of a prime Led Zeppelin concert. Resplendent in satin and denim, LZ2 delivers the intense, raw energy and dynamics of songs such as Whole Lotta Love, Stairway to Heaven, Kashmir, Dazed and Confused and many more from the entire catalog of Zeppelin studio, live and bootleg recordings. 

"These guys sound f'ing exactly like Led Zeppelin!"
- Kirk Hammett of Metallica

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in the case of Led Zeppelin 2, it's one of the best." - The Chicago Sun-Times

LED ZEPPELIN 2: The Live Experience, from Chicago, IL is comprised of musician/songwriters from the best of Chicago's indie/alternative/metal music scenes. From cutting their individual teeth in the top rock clubs of Chicago, often sharing stages with major international acts, LZ2 promptly gained national attention in 2010 and has sold out major rock music venues across the USA.

"Led Zeppelin 2 is a tribute band devoted to replicating the live shows of the legendary hard-rock dinosaurs...for a generation of fans too young to have ever experienced the genuine article." - The New Yorker

More of our Favorite Show Shots:

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