Clutch invade Cincy’s Bogarts

Cincinnati, Ohio
March 19, 2008 

Followers of Germantown, Maryland’s Clutch fall into the rarified legions of the most dedicated that traipse along the hard rock/improvisation road. That’s why the band’s sold out March 19 performance at Bogarts in Cincinnati had been highly anticipated for months.

It was just starting to get ugly with the bouncers inside when the headliners took the stage. Clutch tends to throw many people off their predictions because of the cacophonous sound they make, and their will to enforce it within a very tight space. Yet, in person, they appear to seem like a simple group of individuals that wouldn’t be caught out of place at a keg beer party.

Starting the concert with the stomping "Child of the City" off of their masterwork, From Beale Street to Oblivion, it was obvious that this wasn’t going to be a normal evening of music. The ensemble was clicking on all levels, and enjoyed toying with the crowd by whipping off blues and harmonica solos, inspiring works in progress, and centering the show around the Beale Street opus of compositions. That’s what Bogarts’ denizens on the floor came to hear, and there was body surfing and slam dancing aplenty to be found. Lead vocalist/ guitarist Neil Fallon was even caught with a wicked grin on his usually stern face during the bruising take on "You Can’t Stop Progress."

An appropriate moniker, Clutch had the audience in it’s grasp, turning it’s attention towards the politically charged material inherent inside the lyrics of "Power Player." The power inside Clutch’s bravado lurks inside two distinct entities. Dan Maines’ bolstering bass lines combine with the jazzy, offbeat drum style of Jean-Paul Gaster’s innovative percussion style. And, then there is the never ending wellspring of Tim Sult’s perpetually grooving guitar riffs. That formidable one-two punch is topped off by Fallon’s soulful delivery and unmatchable, raging scream.

Clutch burned through "The Devil and Me" without breaking a sweat. By the time they ended the concert with "Electric Worry," the entire throng inside Bogarts was screaming back the lyrics toward the stage in full voice unison. Definitely worth more than the price of admission, Clutch left a Cincinnati soul or two ripped apart, banged up, moaning, whimpering, and begging for more visits from Germantown, Maryland’s finest.