Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Clutch at Terminal 5

Neil Fallon
As high school friends in Germantown, Maryland, the members of Clutch began rocking in 1991 under various names, including Glut Trip and Moral Minority. After an early change in vocalists, Clutch solidified as Neil Fallon (vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Tim Sult (lead guitar), Dan Maines (bass) and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums). The band began as a hardcore punk band because those were the easiest gigs to get, but quickly transitioned into a hard rock band. Clutch released its 11th studio album, Psychic Warfare, on October 2nd, 2015.

Headlining at Terminal 5 tonight, fans were greeted by fans that insisted "no crowd surfing tonight; no exceptions." The sign worked. Maybe there should have been another sign that said no shoving or fighting, because the crowd near the stage was as aggressive as Clutch's music. Fallon's raspy vocals were deep and bellowing shouts that burst over ZZ Top-styled guitar power chords and a hard, driving rhythm section. Short-haired, full bearded Fallon commanded all the attention, pacing the stage and exaggerating postures; the other band members were efficient but stared at their instruments and barely moved. Fallon did not speak much, but introduced "Noble Savage" to the recently deceased Lemmy Kilmister, recalling that Clutch opened two tours for Motorhead. Like Motorhead, the fundamental core of Clutch's music was blues-rooted rock and roll, like 1950s Bo Diddley given maximum speed and volume and a gritty singer. In total, eight of the 18 songs were from Clutch's current album, and four were from the previous album, leaving six songs from four older albums. Clutch was grooving in the present, not dwelling in the past. Some 25 years in, Clutch performed better now than ever.

Visit Clutch at www.pro-rock.com.