Summer at the Jersey shore. Sun, heat, boardwalk, ocean...there's nothing like the Jersey shore, especially on a Friday night, at the historic Stone Pony, with the almighty CLUTCH in concert!
Dispite heavy traffic, temperatures in the 90's, a dead cellphone battery, and a faulty camera memory card NOTHING was going to deter me from enjoying myself. Being outside at the shore with the opening notes of "How To Shake Hands" (from the current Clutch release "Book of Bad Decisions") in the air all of my focus was on the band. I first saw Clutch perform "How To Shake Hands" in Philadelphia prior to the release of "Book of Bad Decisions". It went over then and was way over tonight.
As the Clutch set progressed it was clear this was different then what the band has been playing over the past couple tours. Songs such as "Earth Rocker" and "X-Ray Visions" were missing from tonight's set and instead replaced by songs from "Book of Bad Decisions" including "H.B. Is In Control" and "Gimme The Keys". Very cool to hear these songs live and with all the dancing going on around me the Asbury Park crowd clearly agreed.
Neil Fallon was in top form, motoring through the intense "Crucial Velocity" and the power track "50,000 Unstoppable Watts". Earlier in the day on the Clutch official Twitter site @clutchofficial a Tweet went out celebrating the 46 year anniversary of the ZZ Top album "Tres Hombres". The tune "Precious and Grace" was released on that album and Clutch recently released their version of the song as part of the "Weathermaker Vault Series". The band played the song tonight and Tim Sult's hard, crushing guitar sounded superb. The solos were out of control!!!
"A Quick Death In Texas" is such a memorable song from the album "Psychic Warfare" with the blues rock feel that flows through and Fallon perfoms the song live with such intensity it was great to hear during tonight's set. And of course you can't forget "Cypress Grove" which finds it's way into most Clutch live sets. Simply a badass tune!
The Clutch/Killswitch Engage co-headlining tour wraps up August 4 but don't worry if you miss the tour. Clutch will most likely release dates for their annual Winter tour soon. At least that's what I'm hoping for!!
How To Shake Hands
H. B. Is In Control
El Jefe Speaks
Red Horse Rainbow
A Quick Death In Texas
Precious & Grace
50,000 Unstoppable Watts
Gimme The Keys
D.C. Sound Attack
Released September 7, 2018
Label - Weathermaker Music
For their 12th full-length album, Maryland rockers Clutch highlight all the best aspects of what they put forth on record throughout their career; groove rock, soulful blues, thought-provoking lyrical content, full-bodied drums, and a good fucking time!
One of the many things that draws me to Clutch is their uniqueness and ability to give me something refreshing. Vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines, and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster develop songs that can go all out rock, full bore blues, or really any direction they see fit. Throw in funk bass grooves or jazz-influenced drums, Clutch do what a song needs.
For “Book of Bad Decisions” they go in multiple directions. The lead song “Gimme The Keys” has Fallon’s vocals as the focal point with the music methodically taking a break throughout the song to give a power punch. When the band fires it up together….man it’s a hard rock delight! You can picture Fallon’s on stage stance as he’s belting out this tune. Classic way to open an album.
The title track is brilliant with Maines laying down a cool funky bass groove underneath Sult’s power guitar. And throughout the track there’s Jean-Paul behind the kit playing in his classic style of fun, laid back jazz/blues/rock drumming. I can focus on his drumming and just drift off into no man’s land. Amazing talent!
“How To Shake Hands” is Fallon throwing in a political themed tune as he’s known to do. Whatever your political view is, Fallon makes you think about the whole process and sometimes the innate silliness of it all and on this one he succeeds again.
“Hot Bottom Feeder” has to be the first ever song about the that Maryland delicacy…..the crab cake. The song rock and gives a pretty damn good recipe on cooking a bad ass crab cake too!
Give the song “Sonic Counselor” a listen. This song wraps up a lot of what Clutch is about. Great track with each band member nailing it. This song’s heartbeat is rock and could be one of those songs that gets extended live. The music just lends itself to jamming!
And come on, how do you not love a song titled “Emily Dickinson”. Lyrics on this one are written like a poem, descriptive meaningful lines that flow and detail works of Ms. Dickinson.
Clutch is out on the road now and just announced their annual Holiday run of shows for the end of the year.
For all things Clutch go to www.pro-rock.com.
Gimme The Keys
Spirit of ‘76
Book of Bad Decisions
How to Shake Hands
In Walks Barbarella
A Good Fire
H.B. Is In Control
Hot Bottom Feeder
Paper & Strife
Neil Fallon - vocals
Tim Sult - guitar
Jean-Paul Gaster - drums
Dan Maines - bass
Phone interview with Neil Fallon discussing "Psychic Warfare" and "Earth Rocker
In person interview with Tim Sult from Allentown, PA 2013
In person interview with Jean-Paul from Philly Dec 2012
Phone interview with Dan Maines discussing "Psychic Warfare" and the Rock Carnival