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Review by:  Meredith Fox  -  Photos by:  Susie Wolcott

Clutch just came out with their 12th studio album, The Book of Bad Decisions.  So when I heard they were playing in Denver, I just had to go! Right off the bat the line for merch was wrapped around the bar even before the openers, Tyler Bryant and the Shake Down and Sevendust took the stage. The show was sold out to a sea of bearded men. Braided beards, grey beards, short, long you name it.  I gotta say, there’s just something about a man and a groomed beard! So the show starts and you can feel the energy in the place. It’s a Tuesday and people are getting down as if it’s a Saturday night. The audience was there for CLUTCH!  Tyler Bryant and the Shake Down did a nice tribute to the late Tom Petty in honor of the one-year anniversary of his death.

Sevendust came out strong on stage. Lead singer Lajon Witherspoon was in high demand,  showing off his Predator rank - controlling the audience with his fierce vocals and presence. I was out networking while they were on stage so I didn’t get to see much of their performance, but what I did see was incredible!  Knowing the right people will get you the best seat in the house, that’s right, I’m headed to watch the show from the sound booth! Alright….to the main event, CLUTCH!

Neil Fallon and the boys take the stage. Right away the bearded sea tighten up and rush the stage and the crowd goes wild, wild, wild! Clutch sounds, feels and is ready coming out fiercer then I’ve seen before opening with “Gimme the Keys”, first track on the new album. Neil’s beard is telling all other beards to get the hell outta dodge! The sound is crisp, clean and clear. The backdrop is simple, but meaningful. It’s the Eagle from the cover of the new album that folks were lined up to buy before the show even started. A fight breaks out in the pit and Neil calls out, “You’re taking it away from us all”. Neil’s beard shines in the light and just like that the bearded sea splits its way and no more fighting. Ya see, Neil’s beard makes those beaded men obey. Neil’s beard rules them all.  

“Earth Rocker” was a rockin about half way thru the set. The thunder in your chest from the bass felt like a storm was approaching. Overall they played most tracks from the new album sprinkled in with the traditional, signature tracks ya just gotta hear like “Spacegrass” & “Elephant Riders”. “Ghoul Wrangler” was so bluesy the riff was felt deep in the soul, there was no way to sit still for that one. Tim Sult, lead guitarist was just killin it, Dyno-mite! Wrapping up the night Neil thanks everyone for being there because Clutch wouldn’t be there without the crowd, and he is grateful, you can see it. Straight into EW which, for a slight moment I thought they may have screwed the song up and played it off. There was this strange band practice moment I thought I witnessed on stage, however the drummer Jean-Paul Gaster kept it all together and started the chorus again and kept the momentum flowing. I love it when Neil introduces the band as their astrological signage and ends with himself, “Scorpio on the microphone!”.

The band walks off as the crowd cheers, stomps and chants Clutch! They come out for a two-song encore of “El Jefe” and “DC Sounds”. Neil whips out his harmonica for that one and I mean come on, we all need a little more cowbell in our lives so he ends the night playing on that too!

Susan Wolcott

Assistant Editor - Denver

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