Stoner rock/metal titans Clutch and Mastodon are hitting the US roads along with Big Business (or Graveyard on select dates), in what is dubbed “The Missing Link Tour.” The mecca of weird, Portland, Oregon, was graced by the presence of this top-tier bill on April 25th, and the Roseland Theater was the place to be.
Big Business started out the night. The sludge duo took no time in launching directly into their set. Bassist Jarred Warren and drummer Cody Williams were responsible for some of the most tonally heavy moments of the night. Williams’ enthusiastic and animated drumming brought energy to the set, while Warren’s crushing bass lines instilled spine rattles and head bangs.
After Big Business had concluded their, well, business, it was time for Clutch to take to the stage. If one were to have run a quick observation of the crowd, they might find that based off shirt logo ratio Clutch fans made up the lion’s share of attendees. These suspicions would have been verified the moment the Maryland rock legends began their set, as the crowd became an undulating mass of bobbing heads and pumping fists. Clutch’s bluesy, metallic-tinged hard rock just seems to have that effect on people. There’s a soulful core to their primal rocking sound that one can’t help but be swept up in, and that core is named Neil Fallon.
Fallon certainly knows how to entertain a crowd; his impeccably deep, soulful bellows were enhanced by big grins, witty jokes, and theatrical gesticultions. Of course, the rest of the band was on point, collectively delivering record-quality sound and infectious energy to the sold-out Roseland theatre crowd (no doubt in thanks to the band’s lineup remaining consistent since its inception in 1991). The set list consisted of several tracks from the band’s most recent effort, Earth Rocker, as well as a handful of classics. In addition, fans in attendance were also graced with two tracks from their upcoming album, which were met with applause and at least one guy who found them to be a foot-stomplingly good time. It’s good to know we’re getting yet another dose of great music soon from the the band, and hopefully another trip to Portland isn’t far behind.
Finally, Mastodon took stage. Their set was dominated by tracks from Once More Around The Sun and The Hunter, but old standbys like “Blade Catcher” and “Aqua Dementia” made a splash. While Mastodon’s set list certainly played more like a mixtape of the band’s catchier tunes rather than a prog metal trip, the newer material played extremely well live, with the crowd indulging in chorus sing alongs. Say what you will about the changes to Mastodon’s sound in the past few years, catchiness and fun always make for crowd-pleasing performances. That said, the ‘Don still deliver the heavy and perform like champs. Troy Sanders commands his bass with fearsome theatrics; Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher dole out riff and solo perfection; and Brann Dailor’s drumming is a quite a feat to witness live. Sure, the vocal delivery trends towards eccentric when it comes to the band’s live performance, but the complete package is still makes for one of the best heavy metal shows out there.
Check out more live photo’s from Clutch’s set below: