Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

By Hunter Embry

The aggression of a storm- and economically torn community was stirred and brewed to the brim by genre-stretching hard rockers Clutch at Headliners on February 12. Two days after a major windstorm which left much of the city without power and less than two weeks after an ice storm turned the city into a natural disaster area, Clutch provided a release to nearly a thousand people.

Clutch. Photo by Damon Atherton

The members of Clutch began the show by playing several songs from their instrumental jam band project, The Bakerton Group. The Bakerton Group, which is scheduled to release a second full length CD, El Rojo, had a bluesy improvisational feel, with thick, lengthy drum fills, hellish guitar tones and a melting bass. The Bakerton Group was a bit more cultured than Clutch, with jazzy drums, complex harmonizing guitar parts and running bass lines, and provided a nice way for its members to show off a diverse range of influences. It proved to be a killer opening act.

Neil Fallon of Clutch. Photo by Damon Atherton

With singer Neil Fallon's grip on the vocal mic, Clutch's set began. Fallon's floor shaking voice thundered from behind his long beard as he belted out the opening verse from "The Incomparable Mr. Flannery", the riff-wild, first track from their 2005 release, Robot Hive: Exodus.

As Clutch continued to stomp through their set, they played songs from 2004's Blast Tyrant, including their hit, "The Mob Goes Wild," which the crowd sang along with, while slamming across the floor. One would be best equipped with a mouthpiece and change of clothes if even considering getting close to the stage. Others sang from the side balcony, switching their attention from the band, which was hitting on all cylinders, to the security guards that attempted to keep the wild fans under control.

Tim Suit of Clutch. Photo by Damon Atherton

Clutch run through several new songs that have yet to be titled, but which are supposed to appear on the group's upcoming album. They finished with a heavier, vamped-up version of "Spacegrass," from their 1995 self-titled album. A worn audience left assured that Clutch will begin work on a new album following this tour.