Clutch has been ROCKIN your ass off with their multi-dimensional flavor of in-your-face Rock n Roll since 1991 and some 32 years later these veteran musicians are still out on the road delivering high energy shows as experienced at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA on Thursday night March 24. The band is currently devastating North America on its 2 month long Spring Tour. The first half of this tour features openers EYEHATEGOD and Tigercub.
This three-band powerhouse of a show kicked off at 8:00pm with the Alt-Groove oriented but recklessly heavy trio from the U.K., Tigercub getting the night started with a killer tune called “I Wanna Get Fu@#ed Up”. Led by frontman Jamie Hall this band somewhat reminds you of Nirvana with a bit more groove but definitely heavy. A perfect start to the night . . .
If you are a fan of New Orleans sludge metal then you know EYEHATEGOD – one of the God Fathers of the NOLA metal scene, this band is the best of the detuned riff masters. Guitarist Jimmy Bower, drummer Aaron Hill and bass player Gary Mader took the stage with a slow and heavy instrumental before vocalist Mike Williams hit the stage. The crowd wasted no time in getting a sludgy mosh pit going and it was obvious EYEHATEGOD certainly had a dedicated fanbase in house on this night.
The combination of Mike Williams tortured vocal style combined with Jimmy Bowers detuned guitars hits like a brick wall and the band cranked out 45 minutes of some of EYEHATEGOD’s best like “Take as Needed for Pain”, “Jackass in the will of God” and “Kill Your Boss”.
Now two hours into the night, everyone at The Observatory packed the front of the house in preparation for Clutch to take the stage. The lights dimmed and the band appeared and opened the night with “Escape From the Prison Planet”, kicking off 90 minutes of action packed, fun rock n roll. Neil Fallon immediately had the crowd in the palm of his hands as he prowled around the stage belting out Clutch’s sometimes whacky lyrics and often reaching out with his signature wiggly fingers move. The great thing about this tour is the same songs are played each night, but Clutch has mixed up the order in different cities, so it is a bit of a surprise as to what is being played next.
The stage had an arena style light setup and a large Clutch backdrop hung across the back of the venue. The musicians in Clutch are each highly skilled in their craft – Tim Sult on guitar and Dan Maines bass – these two don’t move much on stage but they are all business on their respective instruments while drummer Jean-Paul Gaster makes a huge noise on his small drum kit.
The first half of the show featured some of Clutch’s heavier rockers such as “Earth Rocker” and “X-Ray Visions” and the band really chose almost the perfect setlist. Fallon is definitely one of the more underrated front men out there as he has a magnificent voice, the perfect stage moves and one of the best beards in Rock n Roll today.
The set ended with “A Shotgun Named Marcus” then a three-song encore with the final song being “Pure Rock Fury” from their 2001 album of the same name. Clutch is like fine wine – they get better with age as demonstrated on this night – a spectacular performance that certainly left all in attendance wanting more. The current tour runs through the end of May – check out all tour dates at http://www.pro-rock.com.