Photos and Review by Micah Gummel
Show Photos HERE
Clutch stopped in Hampton Beach NH at the Casino Ballroom last Friday. These guys hail from my home state of Maryland, as you may know their recent 10th album, “Earth Rocker“, was a game-changer for the band. They’re now touring on the new album “Psychic Warfare” and this album does for them exactly what “Earth Rocker” did, but harder, better, faster, and stronger. This is rock ‘n’ roll of a special breed. It’s bluesy, deep-rooted, fearless music for anyone who likes fun and Hard Rock & Roll.
When Clutch took the stage, the entire crowd at the Casino Ballroom exploded. Even people in the far back were singing along, devil horns in the air, jumping around and partying like it was the weekend… (wait it’s Friday night, close enough).
Clutch has already reached the status of a legendary band. You don’t need music critics to tell you that, you can just look around at the fans during the shows. Clutch’s brew of funky grooves, bluesy riffs, and heavy metal bravado tinged with a pure rock fury should have launched the band to popularity equal to the likes of Coheed and Cambria and The Melvins. Instead, they have been pumping their music into smaller venues like the Casino Ballroom across the globe. From what I can see, they are loving every minute of it.
Lead singer Neil Fallon presence on ‘Psychic Warfare’ is as epic as it is in the live show. He has a knack for story telling featured in songs such as “Your Love Is Incarceration” and the juvenile “Decapitation Blues” in which a first person point of view is used as a narrative to the songs. His monstrous voice serves as a constant hook. He sounds like no other front-man. Last Friday, you could clearly hear it in songs like ‘X-Ray Visions’ which showcases Clutch’s ability to create an infectious chorus in a mere 6 words of “Telekinetic dynamite! Psychic warfare is real”. ‘Behold The Colossus’ is a standout, exhibiting Neil’s lyrical imagery using some vengeful mythological creatures.
The band had a good party vibe going on at the Ballroom. Their stage show is quite dynamic in a fun and spontaneous sort of way. It’s a great show to watch without any need for stage props of any kind. The opening uptempo songs, of which the highlight was undoubtedly “The Mob goes Wild”, were followed by a couple more mellow songs that allowed the crowd to settle down for a bit. Then, favorites like “The Yeti” and “50000 Unstoppable Watts” fired them up again. What I’ve noticed, and what I liked most, is that Clutch sounds even more “in your face” live. It’s all more powerful and maybe a bit faster than on the recordings.
The band is so talented that it can summon musical ferocity without breaking a sweat. Though it boasts a significant metal component (particularly in Sult’s guitar work), what the band is most consumed with for years now is simple, inescapable groove. This was a show anyone could have enjoyed, regardless of music preference – it had everything from dance groove, blues and reggae to rock and metal, plus a little dose of madness and good fun. It was a great show.