CLUTCH, AMIGO THE DEVIL, NATE BERGMAN
MAY 18, 2023
True road warriors the mighty Clutch closed out a five week run of their No Stars Above tour with a show at the legendary, and band favorite, Starland Ballroom in “Slayerville” NJ.
The name of the tour is a lyric taken from the song “Nosferatu Madre” from their excellent and current 13th studio release Sunrise on Slaughter Beach.
Clutch are known for bringing eclectic and diverse opening bands on tour and tonight was no exception.
Nate Bergman lead singer of the band Lionize, a band Clutch have taken under their wing and on numerous tours, provided a solid solo set of bluesy rock highlighted by his soulful voice on his unaccompanied a Capella version of “Motherless Child” and with his band for “Already Gone” & “Into My Arms”.
Amigo The Devil, the stage name for lead singer Danny Kiranos, made quite the impression with songs “Crying at the Orgy”, “Hungover in Jonestown” & “ Murder at the Bingo Hall.” Typically performing solo with just a guitar and banjo this tour saw him fronting a full band. The songs were a combination of rock, country and folk with a tinge of Tom Waits vocal delivery. He was playful throughout his set, at one point having the crowd telling his band to “Fuck off” so he could play a solo acoustic song “I Hope Your Husband Dies.” You either had as much fun as he did or didn’t get it at all.
Clutch took to the stage with the anxiously awaiting crowd singing along to the pre-set intro “We Need Some Money” by Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers. Some instrumental noodling morphed into the first chords of the set opener. Lead singer Neil Fallon and the crowd released the increasingly built tension as they screamed the title “Impetus” and the refrain “I will not relent/I will not relent/I will not relent/I am Driven!” Setting the tone for the night to follow.
“Earth Rocker”, from the career resurgent album of the same name, followed along with its lyrical challenge ”If you’re going to do it/do it live on stage/or don’t do it at all.”
Clutch keep the between song banter to a minimum constructing a tight and focused set.
“Dragonfly” and a fuzz-dripping “Slaughter Beach” came in quick succession
The immovable pillars, guitarist Tim Sult and bassist Dan Maines, laid down the wah-infused deep grooves providing the bookends to the focal point of the live show, lead singer Neil Fallon and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster.
One of the best frontmen in rock, Neil commands the stage prowling like a mad evangelist barking out and emphasizing his mad-lib lyrics with dramatic gestures to the crowd.
Propelling the music forward JP Gaster swings, sways and jumps in his drum seat to the jazz, rock and go-go hybrid style beats he lays down behind his band mates.
This tour the band employed a more elaborate stage production including, for what I believe the first time ever for Clutch, a lighted drum riser. The enhanced lighting system enlivened the atmosphere for crowd favorites like the ominous “The Regulator” and “Big News 1 & 2”.
A theremin made an appearance for “Skeletons on Mars” and the one thing we all need more of…. the cowbell! which Neil emphatically accentuated the breakdown on “DC Sound Attack”.
A false start to “The Mob Goes Wild” proves even the best live bands have the occasional hiccup which they made up for playing a raucous version of the song. This was followed by an even heavier “Rats”
Usual show closer “Electric Worry”, a song Lemmy from Motörhead called their “Ace of Spades”, kept the crowd and mosh pit going with its “Bang Bang Bang/Vamanos Vamanos” call and response chorus.
“Son of Virginia” started the 3 song encore.
Neil proclaimed “Time to go home. Dry out. And go on a fucking diet” before the bass line to “Spacegrass”, arguably their most revered song, dropped.
“Pure Rock Fury” which is exactly what the band gave, closed out the set.
Clutch are one of the few bands in the rock genre that change their set each night with band members alternating turns creating the setlist. Songs from throughout their discography drop in and out of the set making each show unique. Tonight they played 20 songs from 10 different albums from their storied career.
This along with a relentless touring schedule has garnered Clutch a reputation as one on the best live bands out there and a very loyal fan base.
Tonight proved no different as they gave the absolutely packed Starland Ballroom its money’s worth. Go see them whenever you get the chance.
Metal Mayhem ROC Correspondent
DC Sound Attack!
A Shogun Named Marcus
Big News 1>
Big News 2
Skeleton on Mars
The Mob Goes Wild
Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)
Profits of Doom
The Wolfman Kindly Requests
Son of Virginia
Pure Rock Fury
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