w/ The Bakerton Group

I recall watching Rage one late Friday night, as I usually do. Half-falling asleep to emo children yarbling about silence and death and bollocks, only slightly paying attention to the various indie-new-new-wave with jeans tighter than Joan Rivers' face. Suddenly, out of the midst and mess, like some rock-blues mirage; Clutch. Their single, Electric Worry, made me fall adolescently in front of my TV set, thinking to myself, "How is this so damn good??". So when the opportunity came to review their much talked-about live show, I'd have rather been subjected to a Grey's Anatomy marathon than miss it.


The Bakerton Group, Clutch's blues/bluegrass side project gave the crowd some decent drinking music; many of the fans being here to rock out rather than air-harmonica and have a hoedown. They were a brilliant lead-in, though, to what would be an insatiably raucous show.


One thing Clutch can never be accused of inciting is boredom. A heady rush from the beginning, Clutch swell and burst in the now tiny HiFi Bar. Playing from their entire 15-year catalogue, it is strikingly evident how diverse the band have been, and are. Drawing from every influence known, from Muddy Waters to Megadeth, Clutch are masters of variety. From the stoner-rock crossbreed of their 1995 self-titled, coming in and out and through blues, metal, cock-rock and a dash of country for good measure.


Frontman Neil Fallon is one of the great unappreciated frontmen of our time; his boundless energy is contagious, even I felt compelled to body slam or jump onto someone's back. Tracks like Burning Beard and Impetus got such a heady, chaotic response I feared for my life!…well, my feet. Another noteworthy aspect of Clutch's magnetism is their tight musicianship- each member brings their own frenetic, yet totally in-sync, part to the jumble.


Clutch also, amongst other distinguished honors, receive the Lisa Loves You Award for Most Bang for Your Buck live show; the band played like madmen let loose for a good two hours. Call it value for money? I do believe so! (Even though, by less than halfway through the set, the HiFi has turned into the inside of a dim-sim cooker, making imperative actions like moving and breathing quite problematic).


Although the two hour- odd set was somewhat oppressive, Clutch sure know how entertain. Perhaps some of more lackluster bands of the scene should sign up for Rock Classes with Neil Fallon and Co.?

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