Sun, 12-31-17 Columbus, OH at Express Live
February 8th, 2017 – Clutch has just announced a string of headline tour dates for May. Supporting the tour will be Lucero and The Sword. The band is also pleased to announce their first annual Earth Rocker Festival at Shiley Acres in Inwood, WV on May 20th. Full line-up to be announced soon. Pre-sale tickets will start at 10am ET today, public stale starts 10am ET on Friday.Ticket info available here: https://ticket.artistare
na.com/events/24585.“We did a whole bunch of touring in 2016” states the band’s front man Neil Fallon. “Right now, we’re cooling our heels and starting to kick around some riffs for the next record. We hope to be recording the LP come the end of the year. Where and with whom is yet TBD. At the moment though, we’re really just at the beginning phase of writing and we already have a surplus of ideas.”“In other news, this Spring we will be hosting the first annual Earth Rocker Festival. It’ll take place in Shiley Acres, West Virginia. We played at Shiley Acres last year and it was a real blast. Our intent is to have a really diverse bill. If all goes as planned, Earth Rocker Festival will continue as an annual event, hopefully growing in scope over the years.”Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch. The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent, No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts. On Record Store Day this past April 16th Clutch released a limited edition numbered etched vinyl 12 inch that included two previously unreleased tracks from the Psychic Warfare sessions: “Mad Sidewinder” and “Outland Special Clearance“. Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).Clutch, Lucero and The Sword May Tour Dates:05-10-17 in Asheville, NC at Highland Brewing Company05-12-17 in Louisville, KY at Palace Theatre05-13-17 in Grand Rapids, MI at 20 Monroe Live05-15-17 in Brooklyn, NY at Brooklyn Steel05-16-17 in Providence, RI at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel05-17-17 in Port Chester, NY at The Capitol Theatre05-19-17 in Norfolk, VA at The NorVa05-20-17 in Inwood, WV at “Earth Rocker Festival” at Shiley AcresCLUTCH:Neil Fallon – Vocals/GuitarTim Sult – GuitarDan Maines – BassJean-Paul Gaster – Drums/PercussionFor more information, check out the band’s website:Official: www.pro-rock.com
Who killed it live this year? Keep reading!
#15 – Death from Above 1979 at the Chicago House of Blues October 13th
Yeah, the whole show was this crazy. It was a rough pit, but worth a couple spins through it to feed off the energy DFA1979 were throwing at us.
#14 – Buzzcocks at the Vic Theatre in Chicago September 22nd
Speaking of rough mosh pits, I helped break up a fight in this one. I’d been waiting a long time to see Buzzcocks, and it was well worth it.
#13 – Clutch at Pierre’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana June 10th
“Hottest show of the tour. No question,” said Clutch lead singer Neal Fallon. It was indeed damn hot in there, and Clutch seemed to use the heat like a furnace to create some sort of alchemical spell.
#12 – Golden Dawn Arkestra at Levitation Austin May 1st
My wife and I were front and center for the funkiest show we saw all year. The crowd was bonkers by the end of their set. “I almost left,” said one woman as we were leaving the show. “I’m glad I stayed.” Shame on you if you missed it.
#11 – Ceu at the City Winery in Chicago June 24th
This was a beautiful show in an intimate venue, and Brazilian bossa nova / eletro siren Ceu had the whole room in the palm of her hand by the end of it. I couldn’t stop grinning through the whole performance.
Who’s in the top 10? Come back tomorrow to see!
Keep your mind open.
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Clutch’s (Neil Fallon – Guitar and vocals, Jean-Paul Gaster – drums, Dan Maines – bass, Tim Sult – guitar) 2005 album Robot Hive / Exodus was the rock record you needed in 2005, and is still the rock record you need right now.
“The Incomparable Mr. Flannery” is pretty much a salute to their metalhead fans, as Fallon gives shout-outs to Dokken, Boston, Kansas, REO Speedwagon, and George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers.
“Burning Beard” was the big single for the album. It’s about a man losing his mind as CNN, “the power of the Holy Ghost,” and the “same three dogs looking back” at him conspire to drive him nuts (although he was probably already there). Sult shreds particularly hard on this track, giving us some of his wildest guitar work on any Clutch record.
“Gullah” seems to be about a man coming to terms with his impending doom. “Ain’t no doubt Jesus sees us acting foolishly on American Bandstand,” Fallon sings. “Ain’t no doubt Vishnu missed you, then Kali kissed you. Better get busy. Days get shorter, air get colder…” Heavy stuff with slightly reverbed space-rock guitar and a wicked beat.
The robot hive mentioned in the album’s title is entered in “Mice and Gods.” It mentions “silver women on the OMNI magazine” and calls to “engineer the future now. Damn tomorrow, future now!” The guitar work on runs between the border of stoner rock and prog rock, which is to say it’s quite good.
“Pulaski Skyway” seems particularly relevant in 2016 as it mentions “real estate moguls, Chump Towers.” Maines and Gaster team up for a killer groove on it, as Fallon pleads that we must find salvation in trying times or lose our minds to the robot hive building up around us. “Never Be Moved” is, by its title alone, another exploration of religion. “Woe be the architect in his slumber, for the Watcher never sleeps,” Fallon sings, and almost raps the second verse. The use of organ (by guest Mick Schauer) in the song is also a nice touch, giving it a southern Baptist church call-and-response feel.
“10001110101” reminds us that we are in a robot hive, but we can have an exodus from it if we choose. “The shackles of automata will shatter like their bones,” Fallon sings, and who else but Clutch could pull off a song with a title and chorus in binary? “Circus Maximus” once again reveals the band’s love of monsters and oddities, mentioning manticores, Cthulu, dopplegangers, and even a “seven-legged sow.”
“10,000 Witnesses” is another call to escape the drudgery of the robotic world we’ve created by looking inward and outward for the spiritual. “Land of the Pleasant Living” has clever lyrics about Russian cosmonauts wondering what life is like below them in the U.S.
“Gravel Road” is floor-stomping, sweaty, honkytonk country blues…if that honkytonk was lit on fire by a dropped match and spilled bourbon. I love it when Clutch embraces their love of blues and rockabilly, and the whole band cooks on this track. “Who’s Been Talking?” is another salute to their blues influences, in particular Howlin’ Wolf, and they do him justice.
To make this album even better, they included a DVD of them performing most of the songs from Robot Hive / Exodus in Sayreville, New Jersey on July 13, 2005. You can’t miss.
Keep your mind open.
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- Hung On the Rocks
- Our Only Master
- The Bats (Are Hungry Tonight)
- What Manner of Bliss?
- …And Madness
- Orb of Empire
- Church of the Tooth
- The Gate
- Crawling Chaos!
I will see Clutch at any opportunity, so I wouldn’t pass up the chance to see them a little over an hour’s drive from my house and in my old punk rock stomping grounds of Fort Wayne, Indiana. We got to the Pierre’s entertainment complex in time to hear the last two songs of Valkyrie’s set. They reminded me a bit of Sleep – heavy stoner riffs and Black Sabbath-like vocals.
Legendary metal rockers Corrosion of Conformity were up next. My wife asked, “This is going to be a blast of metal, isn’t it? With a name like Corrosion of Conformity, I imagine it’s going to be pretty loud.”
She was right, of course. They dropped more metal in the place than a crane at a scrapyard. “Who’s Got the Fire?”, “Broken Man,” “Albatross,” “Seven Days,” “My Grain,” and “The Door” were all big hits with the crowd. It was no surprise that the band played “Vote with a Bullet” in an election year show, and even less of a surprise that the crowd went nuts for it.
A tall man in a trucker cap and sleeves shirt stood next to me with his right arm raised to throw devil horns for almost the entire COC set. He was the type of guy who’d worked all week at a truck parts factory in the summer heat knowing it would all be worth it because he was going to see Corrosion of Conformity that weekend. It was a metal set for a metal crowd, and that guy next to me was Midwest metal all the way. I’m sure he was pleased as punch when COC announced they’d have a new album in 2017.
Clutch, as is customary whenever I’ve seen them, opened with two fast rockers. “X-Ray Visions” and “Firebids,” both off Psychic Warfare. They had the crowd in their hands within the first verse of “X-Ray Visions.” I heard my first Jean-Paul Gaster drum solo that led into a powerful rendition of “Immortal.” “A Shogun Named Marcus” was an unexpected surprise from their first record before they jumped forward more than two decades to blast out “Sucker for the Witch” and then slow down for “Son of Virginia” off the new record.
“Pulaski Skyway” was another bit hit with the crowd thanks to its “Andy Warhol / CBGB’s” chant and jab at Donald Trump (“Chump Towers”). “Behold the Colossus” is a fine example of Clutch’s epic Dungeons and Dragons rock, and it was a fine combination that night with “Cypress Grove” and its lyrics about a cult of mysterious women. Where else but a Clutch show will you see hundreds of metalhead dudes pumping their fists and singing / chanting about women in wide brim hats? Plus, Tim Sult’s guitar solo on “Cypress Grove” was outstanding.
“Your Love Is Like Incarceration” led into another surprise (for me, at least) – “Strange Cousins from the West.” I hadn’t heard that live since I first saw Clutch in 2009 at a street fair in Chicago when they were promoting that record.
A great part of the set was when Neil Fallon acknowledged Corrosion of Conformity’s influence on the band and brought out COC front man Pepper Keenan to jam with them on “Spacegrass.” The crowd went nuts to the point of chanting “C-O-C” like they did at the end of COC’s set.
“Noble Savage” was a strong way to end their main set, with the crowd chanting “Unapologetic lifer for rock and roll.” Their encore included “The House that Peterbuilt,” “Electric Worry” (a favorite of my wife), and “One Eye Dollar.”
“We started this tour in Florida,” Neil Fallon said at one point during the show. “Then we went to Mississippi, then to Arizona, and this is by far the hottest show of the tour. No contest.”
The crowd cheered for this, and the band showed no signs of fatigue. Neil Fallon even made sure to ask us if we had a second wind at one point and that getting tired was “unacceptable.” It had been in the low 90’s with tropical rainforest-like humidity in Fort Wayne all day, and the inside of Pierre’s (with its minimal air conditioning) was like a sweat lodge – perfect for a show meant to melt your face, perfect for Midwest metal lovers like the guy with the Clutch logo tattoo across his throat I saw at a convenience store after the show, and a perfect end to the work week.
Keep your mind open.
[Thanks to Doug Weber for getting me a press pass to this show and for being an all-around cool cat.]