A busy week for live shows 

Previews of Prince, Clutch, Tiffany
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Previews of Prince, Clutch, Tiffany

Conseco Fieldhouse Monday, April 12

Longtime Prince fans have lived through at least three “retirements” from the diminutive purple-clad genius from Minneapolis. Right after Purple Rain hit, he said he’d never play again live. During his Warner Bros. wars in the ’90s, he said the same thing. This time, though, he’s apparently being straightforward when he says he’ll never play his best-loved hits again.

After opening with a new song, the Purple One reaches into his hits bag and plays close to 20 soul classics, including “Let’s Go Crazy,” “I Would Die 4 U,” “When Doves Cry,” “DMSR” and many more. Of course, Prince being Prince, there’s bound to be a lot of unpredictability. Depending on his mood on any given night, he plays a longer or shorter set. He’ll refuse to play songs he’s been playing all tour long. The show-ending acoustic set may or may not happen, again depending on his mood.

Still, if you’ve never seen Prince live in concert, this may be your last chance. Having spent much of the last decade creating intricate music many of his casual fans find inaccessible and unlistenable, Prince is about to head into the avant-garde box again. Love him or hate him, there’s nobody out there quite like him. —Steve Hammer

The Patio Saturday, April 10

Clutch’s new video probably won’t get played on MTV. “There’s too much T&A” singer Neil Fallon laughs. “But it’s us playing in a bar and some jackass comes in and gets his ass kicked.” “Jackass” may or may not have been a pun but it’s skateboarder and prankster Bam Margera who’s behind the camera. “I don’t know, maybe it’ll get played on Viva La Bam.”

In 12 years, Clutch has released six studio albums, several EPs and collections available only on their site (www.pro-rock.com), countless one-offs and compilation tracks and shared the stage with Pantera, Deftones, System of a Down and Sepultura amongst others. The latest album, Blast Tyrant’s Atlas of the Invisible World Including Illustrations of Strange Beasts and Phantasms, or Blast Tyrant for short, comes with more than the hype of a celebrity-directed video. First, the band entered the world of digital recording using a program called Logic. “It was great; we’ll never go back to analog,” Fallon says. Another innovation is the use of (gasp!) an acoustic guitar on a couple tracks.

“An Evening with Clutch” sure will look good on a marquee and when the band plays the Patio, concertgoers will get just that. “We’ll have two one-hour sets with a keyboard player à la Deep Purple.”

Instrumental band The Bakerton Group will open the show. “Bakerton Group is Tim, J.P. and Dan,” Fallon says, referring to Clutch’s guitar player, drummer and bassist, respectively.

Such a show will have hardcore fans bringing extra tapes and batteries since Clutch encourages taping and trading of live shows. For a band that has played nearly 2,000 gigs, it was only last year they released their first live album, Live at the Googolplex. “We’ll probably release more live albums. The general public isn’t all that privy to tape trading.”

Clutch can be described as many things: dirty, funky or jammy with touches of metal and punk. But of the many styles Clutch plays, Fallon denounces the term stoner rock. “There’s a lot of kick-ass bands that get lumped into that category. I just think the term suggests that the music is secondary to drugs, like you have to be a burnout to enjoy it.” —Mel Duncan

Birdy’s Thursday, April 8

You never know who’s going to have staying power and familiarity. Think of it this way: It’s 17 years since her debut and even with one name that hasn’t been tweaked yet (I’m looking at YOU, Deborah Gibson), Tiffany is still a familiar face and name to any music fan over 25. (VERY familiar, for those who checked out the Playboy spread that accompanied her last album in 2001.)

Familiar enough, at any rate, to warrant a Birdy’s appearance this Thursday at 8 p.m. (tickets start at $13), even though conventional wisdom of the time indicated that her light, fluffy pop had a shelf life of about a month and a half.

But now it’s a decade and a half later, Tiffany is a mom and Avril Lavigne, someone who wasn’t even born when “I Think We’re Alone Now” was a hit, is cribbing from her playbook with her current shopping mall tour. I guess it’s true; pop culture really is a snake eating its own tail. And now that we’ve seen the likes of Britney and Christina, we know what it’s like when the companies really manufacture something out of whole cloth, so Tiffany’s work seems even more weighty in context. Check back in 2020 and we’ll see if Avril is still going as strong, but I doubt it. —Paul F. P. Pogue

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