Concert Review: Clutch

Hard Rock Café on the Strip, March 23

There’s absolutely nothing extravagant or pretentious about Clutch. For more than 20 years, the Germantown, Maryland-based band has grown a cult following by playing no-frills, blues-based hard rock. And while that meat-and-potatoes style has been largely ignored by the mainstream, it has earned them a loyal fan base.

Drawing from 10 studio albums, including new release Earth Rocker, the foursome ripped through 18 songs, including pummeling classics such as “Pure Rock Fury” and “The Mob Goes Wild.” There was little stage banter from bearded frontman Neil Fallon, who saved his voice for powering through anthems such as “50,000 Unstoppable Watts,” with its high-octane chorus of “anthrax, ham radio and liquor.”

Clutch played five tracks from Earth Rocker, and even though the album was just released on March 15, fans sang along to every word of crunching tunes such as the title track and “The Wolf Man Kindly Requests …” complete with howls from Fallon. On new song “Crucial Velocity,” Fallon resembled a wild-eyed preacher, stomping around the stage, pointing to the sky and gesturing to the crowd, as if he were directing the congregation. The up-tempo blues of fan favorite “Electric Worry,” complete with Fallon on harmonica and its sing-along chorus of “bang, bang, bang, bang! vamanos, vamanos!” created a friendly frenzy in the crowd, before the band built on that momentum with “One Eye Dollar.” It created a synergy throughout the room, bridging the gap between Clutch and its fans, solidifying a relationship that only gets stronger with time. ★★★★☆

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