By Alma Reed
Clutch headlined Nashville’s Marathon Music Works on their Book of Bad Decisions tour following the September release of their 12th studio album of the same name. This show rocked and we’re going to tell you about it.
French fusion/groove/rock duo The Inspector Cluzo opened the show. Hailing from Mont-de-Marsan in the French southwest, The Inspector Cluzo is probably the best opening band I’ve seen in a real long time. It’s two guys, Malcolm Lacrouts on guitar/lead vocals and Phil Jourdain on drums/backing vocals. That The Inspector Cluzo does not employ a bassist is clearly a point of pride and this fact is graphically represented in some of their bawdier merch.
Listening to their set, I thought they sounded like a soul-funky Radiohead. Mr. Lacrouts can definitely sing and hold a sustained high note. They are animated and engaging. They look you right in the eye and telepathically convince you to get off your ass and jump around. They played out their last song as Lacrout emphatically threw pieces of Jourdain’s drum kit offstage while Jourdain continued playing on the remaining pieces. Eventually all that was left was the solitary kick drum Jourdain was standing on top of. If nothing else, one point is indisputable: no encore.
Another duo, Seattle’s heavy metal outfit Big Business performed direct support for the evenings headliner. Big Business is Jared Warren on bass and lead vox and Coady Willis on drums. Fun fact: both Warren and Willis are former members of the The Melvins, a rock band whose early work was very influential in the development of grunge and sludge metal. If forced to make a comparison, I would say their sound kinda reminds me of Mastodon - just as a common point of reference. These guys are intense. Willis’s drumming is impressive and Warren’s driving rhythms keep heads banging. Warren also has impeccable taste in footwear (we were wearing the same shoes).
Clutch goes on to a packed and eager house. These guys are damn good. Hell, they better be. They’ve been at it for 28 years. They’re so good they don’t even have to try. And let me be clear. It’s not that they didn’t try, it’s that they don’t HAVE to. They ARE. It just is. Like watching a sunset, or listening to waves lap onto the shore. Just way heavier.
And if you haven’t yet been to Marathon Music Works in Nashville, just go. Built in 1889, it was originally a factory that made industrial engines and boilers. Standing inside you can easily imagine a time when large vats of molten iron were poured and shaped by turn of the 19th century roughneck metal workers (cue stock black-and-white video of the Industrial Revolution from your high school American history class). Where metal was made, now it is played.