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Snuffaluffagincubus 

The band Clutch is a curious breed. In fact, the band may not even be a breed at all. Ostensibly, the band plays stoner rock, but without the references to pot or evil wizards or Conan the Barbarian. Mixed in with this is a jam-band mentality, as the group often improvises during songs, does the odd, well-placed cover (Jethro Tull, anyone?), and encourages tape trading. Singer Neil Fallon, like most of the rest of the band, would look equally at home working as a sous chef or chopping wood. The band goes in for nondescript T-shirts and short hair, preferring to put all their eccentricities into the music. Fallon, "Hands down the illest ventriloquist this side of the Mississippi River," he brags in the song "Pure Rock Fury," loves good ole American rock music, as he puts it, always with added emphasis. Which is not to say he doesn't occasionally mock bands who go for style over substance ("You look like Snuffaluffagus and australopithecus / Me Cray, you abacus," he tells dreadlocked rap-metal bands -- whether they feel dissed or confused is another question entirely).

The Clutch show figured to be an interesting blend of folks: equal parts shaved-headed mooks, the odd indie rocker-slash-experimental music fan, a few jam band cats, and the odd square who's curious to see a band that uses "australopithecus" in a song. As you might imagine, it works quite like the food chain. Everyone stays out of the way of the drunken, inevitably short, mooks and makes fun of them when they're not around. After visiting the bar midway through the show to escape the blistering Tremont heat, I returned to find a sweaty longhaired mook in my path. We attempted to avoid each other -- I moved to the left, he moved to the left. I moved to the right, he moved to the right. "Want to dance?" I asked. He didn't seem to understand the old joke, and stood right in front of me and sort of gurgled a bit. After a couple of seconds of stare, he stumbled drunkenly out of my path, and I was able to start breathing again. Uh huh. Yeah, that's what I thought, you. . .you australopithecus. -- Tim C. Davis

Last week, one of the most popular bands of the new rock era, Incubus rolled into Cricket Arena for a hot and sweaty show in support of their latest, Morning View. Seating was general admission, which means no chairs on the floor and an enormous mosh pit in front of the stage pulsated throughout the band's hour and 45 minute set. The young guys from Cali put on a great show to a very enthusiastic, near-capacity crowd. I was amazed at the number of people (guys and gals) who seemed to know every word to every song, but then again, probably over half their tunes wind up in heavy rotation on radio and MTV. Although the crowd seemed young, alcohol was in heavy rotation, too. The parking lot was littered with beer cans and bottles which would explain the number of cars with their lights on - that and the abrupt end of alcohol sales in the arena at around 9 o'clock. Like many tours today, this one came with a corporate sponsor that was well represented: the Honda Civic. A couple of demonstration cars were parked at the arena entrance, not too far from an enormous Civic trailer with the band's likeness painted on the side. On the way out, an inebriated couple strolled right past the cars, and after making a brief attempt to use the traffic cones as megaphones to summon a friend who was obviously fed up with the comic duo, they spotted the trailer. "Oh my God, I bet the band lives in here!" shouted the girl as she caressed the side of the rig with her hands. "I don't think they live in there," replied the fella, "but I bet they keep their Corvettes and stuff in there." Whoever said kids don't have a clue?

-- Lynn Farris

Have an event/party/show/freaknik you think would be good for this column? Call 704-944-3631 and leave a message, and, umm, we'll see what we can do.

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