Clutch at the House Of Blues: Live Review

By on 12 November 2013

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Maryland’s groove connoisseurs Clutch brought their hard rockin’ jams to LA’s House Of Blues on Saturday, with Texan riff merchants The Sword and gritty stoner rockers American Sharks in tow. Terrorizer’s Joshua Sindell reports back from the fray…

Clutch, The Sword, American Sharks
House of Blues, Los Angeles

Well, this is a surprise! Maryland’s finest, Clutch, have, over the course of their 20-plus years on this planet, performed at this particular House of Blues, located on the Sunset Strip, perhaps five or six times. But the place has never been this out-and-out packed full of fine folks here to sing-along and stomp with one of the best bands going.

American Sharks lead the charge by performing proto-metal power-trio pyrotechnics, followed in swift succession by fellow Austin, Texas-dwellers The Sword. Finally seeming to have grown comfortably into their performance skins four albums into their run, frontman John Cronise is still a personality-free liability. Loud and retro, The Sword’s hesher-metal still can’t quite level a club like a High On Fire, but the group give it their all.

At this time in their career, all Clutch can do is simply show up and try to maintain the same stratospheric level of quality of live shows past, and when they manage to do so, it still amazes. You’ve got this granite-solid rhythm section of Jean-Paul Gaster and Dan Maines, a reluctant guitar god – who looks like an accountant – in Tim Sult, and a bellowing, bearded pirate of a frontman: What could possibly be the matter? Whilst favouring tracks from latest opus ‘Earth Rocker’, the quartet also delight this evening by performing the rarely-played ‘I Have The Body Of John Wilkes Booth’ and ‘The Elephant Riders’, both as mighty and massive as ever. How worked-up are the audience? Singer Neil Fallon actually loses his temper at a few overeager crowd-surfers, who he feels are ruining it for others… but since Clutch are such masters of a heavy groove, it’s difficult for just about anyone with a sense of rhythm and a pair of hips to resist their sonic compulsion. Long may they rock this earth.

WORDS: Joshua Sindell

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