When Clutch comes to town, you go, simple fact. The Maryland band has been coming to this town since the very beginnings of their career in the early 90’s. And every time they come to town they consistently put on a helluva rockin’ show. The October appearance of Clutch was no exception and to boot, they brought along two fantastic openers as well, Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown and Sevendust.
At the heart of Clutch’s success is a simple but ever morphing formula created by Neil Fallon (vocals/guitar), Jean-Paul (JP) Gaster (drums), Dan Maines (bass), and Tim Sult (lead guitar). Opening with “The Mob Goes Wild,” Neil got the crowd going from the start with his stage presence, arms flailing into strong positions and emphasizing the lyrics at all the right moments. In the meantime, Tim strums out that perfect bluesy rhythm that sticks to your brain’s cortex like peanut butter, JP hits the high hat and creates so much from that small drum kit, a true master jazz/blues player, and Dan holds down the bottom end lending the secret ingredient, often overlooked, but the music would never “taste” the same without it. Supporting their 12th studio album, The Book of Bad Decisions, Clutch shows no signs of slowing down. The resurgence of popularity since Earth Rocker was released has not seen them rest on their laurels though and they continue the grueling album tour Groundhog Day to their fans delight.
Running through 17 songs, including a two-song encore, Clutch, as usual, had a very varied set list. For those uninitiated, the band is known for mixing it up quite a bit night to night but can always be counted on to throw in a few stalwarts like “Spacegrass” or ‘newer’ hit “X-Ray Vision”. In short, Clutch was fantastic, pitch-perfect, dead on, entertaining as all hell a sure-fire bargain for your buck every time. Come back soon now, Y’all hear?
Sevendust hit the airwaves of success not too long after Clutch in the late 90’s. They also have a huge following and are on their 12th studio album, All I See Is War. Lead singer Lajon Witherspoon continues to be a force to reckon with onstage, an imposing figure with Predator-like dreads, muscular build, and a voice that matches his intimidating look. Clint Lowery and John Connolly continue to provide the crunch and kick with their guitars as Vinnie Hornsby (bass) and Morgan Rose (drums) hold down a respectively brutal backbeat. There are not too many bands who can boast the 20-year mark and it is not only the quality of their music but their ability to entertain nightly that has kept them alive. Playing 8 songs in about 45 minutes, the band kept it tight and furious indulging in tunes such as, “Dirty” from the new record to “Too Close to Hate” from their debut.
Taylor Bryant and the Shakedown did a little Veni, Vidi, Vici with Pittsburgh and crushed the crowd into a steaming frenzy. Tyler is somewhat of a prodigy and was “discovered” by a rock photographer (Robert M. Knight) heavily documented in the film Rock Prophecies. Tyler has been kicking butt on guitar before he was a teen and hit the Nashville scene at 17. Now in his late twenties, he continues to defy the odds by being the rock guitar god and amazing entertainer you may have never heard of. Well, you have now and you absolutely owe it to yourself to check him out and his incredible band. Guitarist Graham Whitford (yes, the son of Brad Whitford of Aerosmith) is no slouch either and lends a great bit of musical muscle to Bryant’s style and energetic stage persona. Noah Denney (bass) and drummer Caleb Carson are extremely entertaining as well, at one point Carson grabbed a piece of his kit out to the edge of the stage to pound out a jungle level beat while Tyler pumped up the crowd into a killer jam. These guys are on fire and you need to see them when they hit your town or you will truly regret it.
All photos ©2018 AWeldingphoto
Sevendust (we apologize for the lack of pix for 7D, a lens bit the bullet!)
Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown