It was a nice September evening as I approached The Factory in Deep Ellum to see what kind of magic Clutch and friends brought for us this night. As I rounded the corner to the box office, I immediately see the line of people making their way inside going down the sidewalk getting tickets checked for their entrance. Seeing all the people making their way into the venue you could see such a wide array of fans coming from all different walks of life making their way into the factory to enjoy and visual and auditory treat tonight.
As people are making their way to the front of the pit to ride the rail for tonight’s show you see the fans all talking and settling in their spits for the opening act. The lights go out and suddenly you see a man walking out with a cowboy hat on with the brim flipped up and a feather keeping it pinned back and carrying a banjo. The man walks up to the microphone and introduces himself as the one and only JD Pinkus and he was there to kick things off for the night. He steps up and started talking with the crowd and then he started speaking through a synthesizer that changed his voice. As he was welcoming all of us the crowd erupted with cheer. He played the banjo with the style of a lead guitar player with some solos and some really funky and robotic sounds that you wouldn’t think could come out of a banjo. He played his short set to kick things off while standing in almost total darkness on the stage beside the large screens playing old movies and shows while he played through his set.
Next up on this entertaining night of rock and roll was 90’s hard-hitting groove metal masters Helmet! As soon as the members of the band came out and got set on the stage, they came right out of the gate rocking and getting the crowd going. They sang through several of their songs that spanned their extensive collections of singles and albums that they have released in their career. One part of their undeniable riff-heavy set was when they unearthed the first chords for one of their most recognizable songs Unsung! This got the crowd’s full attention and they all erupted with cheers and yelling all while some circle pits, and moshing broke out in the group. They followed that up with some more of their heavy-hitting songs and kept this proverbial train ride of rock and roll on the tracks and moving forward. The fans were moving all around while they played through their set with the heavy-hitting drums, driving bass grooves and phenomenal guitar solos, and captivating riffs. Songs like Milquetoast and Wilma’s rainbow are great examples of the sounds you will enjoy listening to them. They closed out their set and thanked the fans for a magical rocking night, unplugged, and walked off the stage into the darkness.
Quickly following helmet was the next band on the bill that night Quicksand! As the lights went out and the band walked onto the stage and got set for tonight’s set the crowd yelled and cheered. The singer walked up to the microphone with his guitar and abruptly jumped into the first song Inversion. The bank immediately began jumping and thrashing around on stage moving all over the place. How they were playing and being insanely active was mind-blowing and they never missed a beat or lyric throughout the whole set. Another crowd favorite was when they kicked off into Thorn in My Side and they very actively set the stage on fire with all of the stage antics they were throwing around. Quicksand moved the bar up a little more on what we could expect for the night continuing to show in our visual and auditory experience for those of us in attendance. They continued rocking us into the night and closed out their set with a crunchy riff heavy and crashing drum song Delusional! The singer stepped up and thanked the crowd and told us we had been great tonight and they erupted with cheer and applause as they waved to everyone and walked off one by one.
Finally, the part of the night many of us have been waiting for where pure Rock Fury masters Clutch is set to take the stage and bring our sensational night of rock and roll to a close! The lights go out and the entrance music plays over the speakers and the fans sing along with the music. As the lights come up slightly the band makes their way onto the stage and gets in place as Neil walks around microphone in hand ready to start. As the entrance music fades off and Neil walks up to the front of the stage as the drummer teases a few licks of the opening song and he says alright Dallas and the crowd erupts with cheer. You hear the drumming hitting his sticks together and they kick off into fast-paced A Shogun named Marcus and the face-melting songs begin. They continue working their way through many of their hit songs that they have had with and widely spanning career over many years. With a quick break in between songs Neil interacts with the crowd and tells them we are not from Texas, but we have a couple of songs about Texas and everyone erupted with ovations. He said you could call this the Texas Trilogy of Terror. They started these songs off with one called Texan Book of the Dead and quickly followed up that one with another in the trilogy called A Quick Death in Texas. By this time Neil had the whole place in the palm of his hand with all his stage antics and interactions with the crowd. He took another pause and said we are about to wrap up this trilogy of Terror and there is only one way to do that, and it would be with a little Red Headed Stranger the legend Willie Nelson. Then they stepped off into the final song of the Texas Terror Trilogy song appropriately named Willie Nelson and they just about blew the roof off the venue with yelling and whistling as they played. A few songs later they played us one of the new ones off their latest album Sunrise on Slaughter Beach titled Slaughter Beach and the crowd was locked into every note and word they played and sang. As they drew this song to a close Neil was at the edge of the stage looking out as security was running in to break up a fight in the pit. Neil stated that rarely happens when we play some new music. He then said I will wait until this little meet and greet session is worked out before we continue playing. Neil then said, “I am not going to play Rock and Roll referee we’ve been doing this too damn long and this is not your first rodeo behave like adults!” He followed that up with a quick joke to lighten the mood and made sure everyone else was good. He then made another statement that resonated with all the crowd not involved in the little dust-up that happened. He said, “let’s not let societal stresses invade this church and this is a safe place for everybody, I don’t care how bad your day was” and the crowd cheered. He had regained and refocused the fans to the stage and for the rest of the night, Neil and the rest of the band had everyone’s undivided attention. The guitar player hit the opening riffs for Cypress Grove followed by the rest of the band and the fans began singing and moving around in the pit again making sure to soak up every note they produced. As they made it to the latter part of the setlist you could see the fans moshing and dancing around enjoying every minute of the show.
This was such an incredible show to experience and will not soon be forgotten by anyone that was in attendance. I have always been a fan of Clutch and I believe that seeing them live just made me that much more of a fan. The way all these bands performed tonight was top-notch and such an incredible performance by all. I will constantly be looking at the tour dates of the band and making sure I catch them the next time they roll through town. I would highly recommend checking out this tour if you get a chance and they are stopping off in a town near you.
Clutch Setlist for The Factory at Deep Ellum:
- A Shogun Named Marcus
- Animal Farm
- Passive Restraints
- Walking in the Great Shining Path of Monster Trucks
- Nosferatu Madre
- Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)
- Texan Book of the Dead
- A Quick Death in Texas
- Willie Nelson
- The Soapmakers
- Slaughter Beach
- Cypress Grove
- Three Golden Horns
- Escape From the Prison Planet
- Noble Savage
- The Face
Words and Photos by Craig Youngblood