Venue: Brick by Brick
City: San Diego, CA
Set length: Roughly 1.5hrs
This was my third time seeing the Clutch, Year Long Disaster, and Backyard Tire Fire gig. Being a huge Clutch fan, I decided I would catch all three shows in the southern California area during this tour. The other two bands added to a great music experience for these shows.
So, let’s get right into it… I am really bummed about the way these photos turned out but the odds were not in my favor this evening. Have you ever been to Clutch shows? I have seen them somewhere between 20-30 times and I have truly lost count at this point, but my experience has been that each city/venue gets a slightly different crowd. A lot of this depends on who Clutch is playing with and whether or not they are headlining. Some areas attract more dudes who just want to get up front and “fuck shit up” in the pit while others are really into the music and are captivated by every word and note. If you’ve ever been to Brick by Brick, then you’ll know that there isn’t a ton of up-front room, and unless you want to fight the crowds during a sold-out show, you are now pushed down the side or onto the back part of the bar, leaving very little room to see the band on stage – let alone get decent photos. I would say this evening’s show was sold out, if not oversold as there were LOTS of dudes pushing their way around up front. I’ve been in my fair share of pits and had many up-against-the-barricade moments but sometimes a few meatheads can simply ruin the music if you aren’t in the mood to slam around. To me, Clutch is no longer a slam-around band; perhaps they were a little more in their earlier days but those albums stopped in the mid-90’s so I just don’t get the urge to do that with them anymore. If this were a The Bronx show then I’d embrace it, or perhaps a band like Pantera, Hatebreed, Devildriver, or Heaven Shall Burn would warrant it. Slamming to Clutch these days is much like slamming to Tool – it just doesn’t make sense and the feeling they produce with their music is not one that gives me that feeling anymore. But, who am I to tell anyone what they should feel when they hear music, right? To each their own. So, rather than fight my way through the up-front chaos, I decided to hang back, watch the show from afar, simply enjoy the music, and try my luck at photographing from a distance through the walls of people and bar obstacles.
From where I was positioned, I could only get glimpses of Neil, while the rest of the band was nowhere to be seen. I saw Tim in the shadows a few times but Dan and Jean-Paul were completely blocked by the bar. The area back there was also shoulder-to-shoulder with people so moving around wasn’t much of an option.
Also, for whatever reason, I decided to bring one lens with me; my 70-300, which has a variable aperture so a lot of the shots were at f/5.6. This doesn’t work too well in venues that are not well-lit. So, at the end of the day, Clutch put on another great show but my photos are kinda crap – I’ll share them anyway.