“Earth Rockers” Clutch fully engaged it’s brand of bluesy hard rock into high gear at the sold out Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver) presented by the good people at Live Nation.
What is not to like from these four gentlemen from Germantown Maryland? The music speaks on its own; there are no flashy stage antics or drama with this band. Heck, they even start the show off with a song called “How to shake hands”, which starts off like this” Are you cool? Well I’m cool, Is everybody cool?”. Hey, I was definitely cool with this!
Neil Fallon is nearly flawless with his lively vocals, as by the third song they go into “The Face” from the 2013 Earth Rocker album. No mistake about it, Neil is the main showman here in the band. When with just the microphone, he moves about the stage and can really belt out the lyrics to perfection. Tim Suit, lead guitarist, has a catchy slow riff with the 5th song of the set with “Spirit of ‘76” from their new album “Book of Bad Decisions”. We dont see any fancy sweep picking or finger tapping from him, but we do get quality note for note of what is on the album. You can see that in his playing, very concentrated and precise, as well as doing his own pedal work rather than a sound guy doing it for him (unlike other bands). He is in total control. The rest of the band is equally impressive with Dan Maines on bass, especially on “Emily Dickinson” where you can really hear Dan jamming it loud and clear.
With a brief break the band emerges and starts their encore off with the raucous “Electric Worry” that gets the crowd hopping and singing along. After 16 songs, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster kept everyone in good time and very tight. I especially entertained by Jean-Paul’s playing on the last one of the night with “The Wolfman kindly requests”. Lots of good bashing and cymbal work. These guys have been together for the most part since 1991, a lot of props to them for keeping a good thing together all these years.
They played seven songs from the new “Book of Bad Decisions” album, all very strong songs too, and they come off live very well. I can tell you one thing; it is NOT a bad decision to see a Clutch show!
Post and photo essay by Les Puchala