We check in with three legends of the Game of Rock N Roll that all share a thread of mystery.
Clutch - September 23rd - Gas Monkey Live - Dallas, TX
If you follow this page or know me personally than you already know I have a long working friendship with this band dating a quarter-century to their first tours. They first showed up on my radar via the bonkers video for A Shogun Named Marcus, the lead track from their 1993 debut, Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and Undeniable Truths, released on major-label subsidiary EastWest after a pair of hardcore-informed indie EPs.
I saw they were coming to town not long after & had to see it for myself. The band’s harsh, staccato riffs & heavy rock from a highly eccentric standpoint stood out to me & I've been onboard every since. Anyone who knows this band will tell you that their is no such thing as a casual fan & isn't that always the best?
The returned this year with the followup to 2015's Psychic Warfare with the recently released Book of Bad Decisions which as about as much of a Clutch sounding title we've heard yet. Breaking their career long rule of never naming an LP after a song, but with a title like that, how can you blame them?
Primed with an arsenal of new A material, as they stroll out to a hero's welcome, that rarified air of a roar brimming with undeniable respect, Singer Neil Fallon begins the proceedings with a perfect pause followed by a spoken "Let's Party" that is both sarcastic & sincere as the very nature of this band.
Fan response to the band’s mid-2000's evolution has been mixed as they have slowly, steadily refined their sound. However their reputation as a tireless, blue-collar touring act has led to an intense devotion by fans who relish the band with an almost spiritual pitch.
Kinda like Motorhead, they are just this unstoppable, reliable machine that you can believe in. Watching Neil bring the songs’ characters to life with a preacher like fervor is as comforting as it is entertaining as it is urgent & menacing.
Had a great time with Neil catching up before the show as he was also very generous to join us for our TrickyKid Radio program & which you can also enjoy the video of here.
Gimme the Keys
Texan Book of the Dead
Escape From the Prison Planet
El Jefe Speaks
How to Shake Hands
In Walks Barbarella
The Mob Goes Wild
D.C. Sound Attack!
Electric Worry / One Eye Dollar
Ozzy Osbourne - September 26th - Dos Equis Pavillion - Dallas, TX
For the past five years or so, Ozzy has performed most frequently with Black Sabbath, the pioneering heavy-metal band he co-founded half a century ago. With that group, he essentially reverted back to being a frontman, one quarter of a crushing bigger picture, and he gave some of his best performances while doing so. Now that he’s resumed his solo career, he still has a great band behind him which includes his longtime sideman, guitarist Zakk Wylde.
The concert officially began with a rousing rendition of Bark at the Moon, and throughout the entire evening he kept up his deaf act, telling the audience he couldn’t hear them and he wanted them louder. These are tried-and-true stage antics, ones he’s been doing for decades, but even as he approaches age 70, he pulls them off with panache — and he manages to do so while singing.
His voice was strong and on pitch, even during some of the songs’ impossibly high parts, and Wylde & Co. seemed to play a bazillion notes each on their instruments. especially during Suicide Solution, when Ozzy needed a break Wylde kept the crowd enthralled by walking deep into the arena, soloing and playing a medley of riffs of mid-career fan faves.
The set list spanned each era of his career, with heavy focus on his first solo offering, Blizzard of Oz, & No More Tears and even if it’s not a goodbye tour, it’s hard to imagine that this wasn’t the last time he’d play in Dallas. Then again just a few days after this show, he injured his hand & had to cancel the remaining dates of this leg. Maybe we will see No More Tours 3? - One can only hope.
Bark at the Moon
I Don’t Know
Fairies Wear Boots
No More Tears
Road to Nowhere
War Pigs (Black Sabbath)
Guitar medley: Miracle Man/Crazy Babies/Desire/Perry Mason
I Don’t Want to Change the World
Shot in the Dark
Mama, I’m Coming Home
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - October 23rd - The Bomb Factory - Dallas, TX
All artists are disappointing live after seeing Prince, but it's perhaps only Nick Cave that I could make a comparison to. This was easily one of the most memorable & enjoyable & freaking mesmerizing shows I've seen in recent memory. It just feels like such an event. I've seen Nick Cave a half of dozen times before & this still felt like the first time
I only really got into Nick Cave on his 2013 LP Push the Sky Away - Naturally I've heard his first band The Birthday Party & seen a few Bad Seeds show dating back to their jaunt on Lollapalooza & was kinfa into their Let Love In LP from that year but Cave remained a recommended artist & someone I'd always been fascinated by but never for whatever reason dug deeper before that.
On their last album, released a year after the accidental death of his son, Arthur, it was the most extraordinary unravelling. Cave said most of the lyrics were finished before that tragedy, but people didn't really pay attention. Intended or not, it was hard to listen to tracks such as "Distant Sky" - "They told us our gods would outlive us / But they lied" - and not think of grief. He sounded like a father still at the funeral and, maybe, it was because I'm a new dad, maybe it's just because it's spectacular from start to finish, so full of tough sadness that it can't be ignored. And neither can he be in live form.
He was so full of force people couldn't stop looking at him even during long songs they didn't know. Nobody even bothered to go to the bar. He was magnetic, mesmerising, as he prowled the stage in a frenzied state seducing the crowd.
From the opening Jesus Alone, there was such gripped synergy that reached a tangible force for his epic run through of From Her To Eternity- a song so intense you almost couldn't wait for it to end if you weren't enjoying where the ride might go next.
From brutal noise to barely there whisper, the volume was erratic and exhilarating, often in the same song, and Cave, who turned 60 last year, leapt about with more energy than a someone a third his age. Cave live is a masterclass in giving a shit, and it's no wonder he's the sort of act people see dozens of time in their life.
By the end, he had hordes of the audience on stage with him. He does this a lot and it sums the whole thing up.So clear is his delivery throughout and there is neat symbolism of having his fans on stage with him. They are with him as he is with them. Unforgettable.
Higgs Boson Blues
Do You Love Me?
From Her to Eternity
Red Right Hand
The Ship Song
Into My Arms
Shoot Me Down
Girl in Amber
The Weeping Song
Push the Sky Away
City of Refuge
Rings of Saturn