Though the ticket says TAD in big letters and Clutch in small ones, for this show Clutch went on last which was a bit of a drag since it meant I had to sit through a TAD set that I didn't have much love for to get to the main attraction.
My best friend and eventual roommate in college, Chris, was a walking encyclopedia of Metal. He had old school metal hair. He wore a wallet on a chain. He almost always looked like he could have just walked off the set of a Morbid Angel video shoot. For the first two years that I knew him, the only times I ever saw him in anything other than a metal band t-shirt were the times he was wearing something with a Florida State or Green Bay Packers logo. His room was covered in posters and his bed was flanked by a wall of CDs, (most of them metal,) that were never more than an arm's reach away. We spent a lot of time together making trips to used record stores, playing Street Fighter II on the SNES, and watching his methodically documented collections of the Simpsons, Seinfeld, and Ren and Stimpy that he had recorded to VHS long before television DVD sets were even an idea.
At some point during my first year of college, Chris had been up watching Headbangers' Ball and he'd lucked upon the video for Clutch's "A Shogun Named Marcus." While I couldn't get with his obsession over all things Metal, there were a few bands he was able to turn me on to, and Clutch was one of them. We both agreed pretty early that Clutch was awesome, and Chris went so far as to write their fan mail address a letter, to which he got a personalized letter back from the band encouraging him to masturbate!
Our first trip to see Clutch took us to Orlando to a tiny club with seemingly no air conditioning. At the time, my hair was long (though not as long as his) and I got frequently mistaken at events like this for the being the drummer of Carcass. I don't remember if we saw Clutch in Gainesville next, or if this ticket actually represents our second Clutch adventure (once again in Orlando,) but over the years we made a number of road trips to catch the one band we sort of both discovered together.
This Clutch set wasn't particularly memorable for me, but I do recall that they were already playing "Spacegrass" which was the song that would eventually launch them out of those tiny clubs and into slightly bigger ones. Clutch is still a band I'll happy fork money over to see. They've managed to evolve over the years and to somehow keep that loyal, cult-like following happy. I would have thought that when they jettisoned the heavy, angry tracks for jammy, funky ones (with horns!) that they would have lost a lot of their audience, but oddly they've managed to keep people like me coming back. I've probably seen Clutch more than any other band outside of Meat Beat Manifesto, but strangely, this is one of my only Clutch tickets. Many thanks to Chris for scanning it!