Recently I attended a show at Expo Five put on by Children of Bodom, Clutch, and Black Label Society and brought to town by local promoter Terry Harper. These were all bands that I had heard of extensively, and in the case of Clutch and BLS, listen to quite often.
It was just a few weeks ago that I was last at Expo Five seeing The Deftones put on a show, and though they had a fat crowd, the crowd that showed up for this event was far greater. I'd say at least twice as many fans were there. I realized that these bands had loyal followings, but had no idea that they'd pack the place down like so.
I've seen Clutch play a dozen or more shows here locally and knew kinda what to expect from those guys, but had never before checked out the other two bands live. Children of Bodom opened it up and immediately the crowd got pumped. These guys are from Finland and though I knew they had a following, I didn't realize just how big of one they had. And what fans weren't already believers, soon became them. They did their thing, did it well, and objectively accomplished what great opening bands do, and that is, they primed the crowd for the talent to follow. I've got a new found respect for those guys.
As far as Clutch, I'd say roughly half the crowd were their fans, and like I said, I've seen these guys live a dozen times or so, but in my opinion, it was not their best show that I've seen. I think partially because they weren't the headliner, but maybe I'm wrong, and I'm not downplaying their performance. I'm simply stating that every single other time I've seen them in the past was better. I realize time constraints could have played a factor, but as a hardcore fan of theirs, I was personally disappointed not hearing all of my favorites. That being said, they were still great.
I've also got to say that BLS put on a damn good show. From the opening moments of their set when Zakk Wylde was playing the national anthem on his guitar to the next when the band kicked in their first cut the crowd went wild. They played forever it seemed but it felt as if it went by so fast, and like how the often dropped but never growing old saying goes...time flies when you're having fun. They put on a hell of a performance, kept the crowd engaged the entire time, and went out in style. This was one of the more memorable shows that I've ever seen, and not only for the great music that I heard or the buzz that I caught. It was also because of the pair of makeshift brass knuckles that I found. How good does it get?
Photo courtesy of Black Label Society