TOP GEAR

CLUTCH turn the groove up to over­drive in the heart of Amer­ica

Kerrang! (UK) - - Lives - SAM LAW

Kansas City’s Up­town The­ater is a hell of a spot. Armed cops shift un­easily in the lobby as a strange blend of red­necks and aged hip­pies file ex­cit­edly past the old-style box-of­fice. Non­de­script beers and knock­out cock­tails pour across a creak­ing bar sit­u­ated in­side a hall that sprawls like Brix­ton Academy on LSD, with or­nate clas­si­cal dec­o­ra­tions painted in the pri­mary colours of Mex­ico’s Day Of The Dead. It’s the per­fect set­ting for Clutch 2018.

“Play a song about the devil?” grins front­man Neil Fal­lon in mock in­dig­na­tion at one punter’s rowdy re­quest. “But it’s a Wed­nes­day…” The joke’s lost on no-one, for Clutch are a band for whom ev­ery show is Satur­day night.

Tyler Bryant & The Shake­down share that sen­si­bil­ity, open­ing with a coun­try-rock swag­ger that links with Kansas’ mu­si­cal melt­ing-pot. The con­nec­tion runs even deeper for Seven­dust front­man La­jon Wither­spoon – this is the venue where he met his wife, and his adop­tive home­town duly erupts for the slam­ming nu-metal of De­nial and God Bites His Tongue.

Twelve al­bums in, Clutch by their own ad­mis­sion have al­most too many bangers to choose from. X-ray Vi­sions writhes with mean hooks and es­o­teric en­ergy, Space­grass pours sludge over psy­che­delic free-jazz, and new tracks Book Of Bad De­ci­sions and In Walks Bar­barella un­lock fresh lay­ers of drama and flam­boy­ance. When leg­endary per­cus­sion­ist Mike Dil­lon steps in to lend his fuck-off xy­lo­phone skills to Hot Bot­tom Feeder, it’s just an­other in­gre­di­ent in the de­li­cious mu­si­cal gumbo, send­ing the Kansas crowd wild. And by the time the fi­nal cur­tain drops with old-school slug­ger The Reg­u­la­tor and a groova­li­cious D.C. Sound At­tack – the Paris of the plains is wholly at the mercy of rock’s most hard­work­ing and highly-skilled workhorse.

Ri­nac­duiab­tu­ios,njule­sat kas: the alpier­nob­tr­leam­c­tor beams pulled them up Neil Fal­lon’s trousers: tighter than ex­pected

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