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