Some shows just give you more bang for your buck and that was the case last Monday night when Clutch, Mastodon and Corrosion of Conformity played the rialto. While none of the bands have enjoyed long term, mainstream success, all three are legitimate headliners with terrific core followings.
Ironically enough, opener C.O.C. has probably had the most mainstream success, but have the most varied history. The band has morphed a lot over the years, but returned with their best known line-up featuring Pepper Keenan on vocals and the bulk of their set was played from their later, southern rock influenced albums. The crowd was into it from the start, but really got into the final three songs, “Vote With a Bullet”, “Albatross” and an extended, spaced out version of “Clean My Wounds.”
There were early mic troubles for co-vocalist Brett Hinds, but that did not slow down Mastodon. The hard to peg band from Georgia usually gets billed as progressive metal and they certainly showed off their chops. The heaviest band on the bill, they also had the most energetic stage show and arena worthy lighting and lasers.
Last time through Arizona they seemed to avoid playing the more melodic songs of their last two albums, but this time out they did not shy away from the sing along choruses of “The Motherload” or “Ember City.”
While primary vocalist/bassist Troy Sanders does not talk much with the crowd, he is the most animated of an already energetic band. Looking like the cross between a possessed wizard and a back woods preacher, he was in constant motion, whether it was aping the moves of a 80’s hair band, staring at people in the crowd or marching in place like the drum major of the Manson family.
Clutch’s on-stage energy comes from manic front man Neil Fallon, who often times channels his inner tent revivalist preacher.
The set list was a bit curious as they dipped to older albums on three occasions, and while they spent the rest of the night was spent on their latest records, they skipped some personal favorites that seem perfect for the live setting (D.C. Sound Attack and Noble Savage specifically) but the fans did not seem to care much.
The 1-2 punch of “X-Ray Visions” and “Firebirds” off the latest “Psychic Warfare” got the show started and fans did not miss a beat, singing along to “Crucial Velocity” and “Cyborg Betty” off of 2013’s “Earth Rocker.”
New track “Sucker for the Witch” had the live impact that it hinted to on record. They showed they could slow things down on the dreamy “Spacegrass” and the somber “Our Lady of Electric Light.”
The band ha been playing either “Regulator” or “Electric Worry” as art of the encore, but not both, despite both being among their biggest songs in the mainstream. “Regulator” was featured in an episode of Walking Dead, while “Electric Worry” was the soundtrack to a video game commercial a few years back. This night they chose the bluesy “Regulator”, a haunting song of jealousy and revenge, much to the chagrin of the three drunk fans next to me who were “amped up” to sing along with arguably the band’s catchiest chorus.
“The Mob Goes Wild” was the second song off the band’s “Blast Tyrant” record and after the slower “Regulator” it got the crowd back rocking out. With a full moon and Halloween on the horizon, the band ended the night with the fitting “The Wolf Man Kindly Requests…”