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  CLUTCH SHOW THEY ARE ONE OF THOSE SPECIAL BANDS
Clutch: Vetter Stone Amphitheater, Mankato, Minnesota

17th August 2017

jeff kunze
Words and Pictures: Jeff Kunze



clutch

I first saw Clutch in the early to mid 1990s. The venue was a house with a small room set aside for bands, not a traditional bar or music hall. Holding nothing back, they played an aggressive set at decibels that nearly knocked me over and this little band out of Maryland turned more than a few heads that night.

Clutch came through a few years later to a club called The Mirage. The band was tighter this time and the grooves engulfed everyone in the building. The unit's identity was slowly being established.

clutch

Clutch got the opening slot on a tour with Voivod and Damn The Machine. This time it was at the house that Prince built, First Avenue Nightclub. It was a short set but the material they were playing had evolved and the unit was maturing. The crowd was there to see the headliner, or Chris Poland, ex-Megadeth guitarist, in Damn The Machine, but it was Clutch that came out and won fans over.

Decades later the same four guys took the stage in Mankato. Neil Fallon (vocals and guitar), Tim Sult (lead guitar), Dan Maines (bass) and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) collectively have created a musical machine that has stood the test of time. They have remained unfazed by musical landscapes and trends.

clutch

With a deep catalogue of material you're never quite sure what's coming next. 'X-Ray Visions', 'Firebirds' and 'Decapitation Blues' represented 2015s 'Psychic Warfare' and the gem of the evening came early when they played 'The Elephant Riders' which absolutely thunders in a live setting.

Everything played came through with soul, personality, and energy laced with an unmistakable groove. 'Big News', 'Escape From The Prison Planet', 'Electric Worry' and 'Cyborg Bette' filled the amphitheater with sonic bliss.

clutch

The show closed with fury as 'Earth Rocker' led into 'The Mob Goes Wild' and Clutch even threw some curve balls in the form of new songs 'Vision Quest', 'Bubonic Blues' and 'How To Shake Hands', which were all well received. The lyrics of 'How To Shake Hands' refer to Fallon being president and became one of the favorites of the night; a real up-tempo rocker.

The music was played to perfection, the cohesiveness of the players apparent from the opening song. Fallon has become a great frontman who involves the audience like a preacher on a Sunday morning. The atmosphere while they play is a cool vibem, the music is infectious and addictive and pulls people into the show and there's singing, clapping, dancing and arms being thrown in the air.

clutch

Clutch are one of those special bands. It's all about the music and putting it across in a way that only those four guys together can. Through the years the stages and crowds have gotten bigger but Clutch have remained true to themselves. That set in Mankato would have been played the exact same way in that little room back in St Paul so many years ago and Clutch fans wouldn't want it any other way.

clutch

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