Lucifer–March 21, 2019–Reggies

Image result for lucifer band live shot

Lucifer has been an elusive band for me.  I’ve had to miss the last 3 times I was supposed to see them, once before at Reggies; once before at Thalia Hall opening for High on Fire; and most tragically at the 2017 Psycho Las Vegas show (never be a lawyer).  So despite the fact that it was a school night (but seriously, fuck you Uncle Acid, a goddamn Tuesday next week?) and the first night of the NCAA Tournament, I sucked it up and got my ass down to Reggies.  Good thing I did.

I’m not sure what I was expecting.  I know Johanna Sadonis has put out nothing but quality records in The Oath and Lucifer in the last 5 years.  And I knew Nicke Andersson was going to wear a weird Turbonegro-ish outfit behind the kit.  But as a live animal, Lucifer is not yet a known quantity.  I’m here to tell you that it won’t be long before that is turned the fuck around, because this band just fucking took it to the audience.  Routinely I would hear around me when a song ended, “Wow!”  and “Damn!” as the crowd seemed genuinely shocked at just how rad the whole thing was.

Unapologetically retro and campy, the band with Sadonis at the helm came out intent on doing one thing.  No bullshit between the songs, no let up in the pace, just one 70s hard rock jam after another.  I was a little concerned that the band might appear a little kitschy onstage (indeed, one of the openers, Black Road, fell prey to the attractive, vampy woman/unwashed dude cliche).  But Lucifer felt like a unit that had fuckin fun playing these songs together, and it just so happened Johanna looks like she does.  It was palpable from jump.  I still find myself using that trite “female-fronted” qualifier for bands like Lucifer, but this performance emphasized why that is bullshit.  Doesn’t matter what the gender is.  Does the person give a fuck?  Are they authentic?  Are they talented? Are they doing something interesting?  Johanna checked all those boxes tonight in a fantastic way, and nothing else matters.

Highlights for me were my favorite songs on each of the records, “Purple Pyramid” from the first and especially “Reaper on Your Heals” from Lucifer II, which closed the main set and featured an excellent extended jam in the outro.  Then, just to drive their point home, these fuckers played “Bomber” in their encore.  They were also smoking and drinking non-stop on stage, and engaged in Downing/Tipton synchronized rocking routinely.  If you weren’t having fun, that shit is on you.

Early candidate for a Top 10 show of the year in a spot I wasn’t expecting it.  And I didn’t even get drunk…well…that drunk.  Who wants to be sober at work on a Friday anyways?

Clutch–March 13, 2019–Concord

A Clutch show is always defined by the setlist.  Even now that we are locked in at 17 songs on the head per night, you are still likely to get a good mix across the nearly 30 years.  And if the roulette ball happens to land on that one you wanted, say a rando appearance of Immortal or Oregon or Pulaski Skyway or John Wilkes Booth, then the whole show can be made just in that moment.

Or they might play 9 new songs, and you’re left just the slightest bit…fucking furious?  Nah, just pissed.

I told myself I’d stop bitching about setlists in show reviews, but this night was really defined by it.  There is no way getting around it.  Fallon came out from jump and said he got fuckin wrecked the night before(“drank all the beers last night”).  As a goddamn rock star, such is his right.  Had he never said anything, I wouldn’t have known based on his performance or voice.  But the lack of daring and creativity in the set choices betrayed a hastily-thrown-together evening of whatever was freshest in his head.  As such, we got long strings of new ones which murdered any momentum the show tried to build.  This was most evident when Cypress Grove and Spacegrass peaked out and the crowd tried to get into it—the move right back to the weaker Book of Bad Decisions material stopped everyone dead in their tracks.

The worst Clutch show is still a great rock show and a good time though, and I’m probably being a little harsh because for whatever reason this one lacked even the good modern staples like The Face, D.C. Sound Attack and Firebirds!  I also can’t help feel like I tempted fate by all my crab cake bits, because sure enough, 3 songs in and we get the recipe.  Barf.

I’ll be back next time though, and every time after that.  Just look at what they did in ’16 at House of Blues, and you’ll know why.