The Clutch Psychic Warfare Tour 2017… “Telekinetic, Prophetic, Dynamite !!!” In this copycat music world… Clutch stands alone. There are no other bands out there that can come close to replicating their musical and vocal sound. The Maryland-based cosmic rockers calmly splashed-down for the second show of the Psychic Warfare Tour at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC and launched into a set of pure rock fury. The blue collar, working man’s band gathered on stage as if they have just punched the clock at the beginning of their shift in the local factory to start their work day with a blistering nearly ninety minute set… just as they have done for over two decades. Many bands have started, fell apart, reunited and fell apart again in this time frame while Clutch just keeps getting better and better with every album… and to have the same band mates is unheard of in this day and time. Getting right down to business, as usual, with no fanfare, no pyros, no gimmicks… just some delicious classic treats and some tasty new jams making their live debut.
The controlled chaos began with two tracks from the 2015 album “Psychic Warfare”(Weathermaker Music), their eleventh studio effort. The right jab of “Decapitation Blues” proved to be an excellent choice to get the crowd riled-up, with a left jab of “Firebirds!” for good measure. Tim Sult’s fast-paced guitar style and Neil Fallon’s vocal presentation were front stage in the politically-charged tune “Burning Beard”, from the 2005 album “Robot Hive/ Exodus”(DRT Entertainment)… unfortunately, it was the only tune from this gem to make the sprawling set list. The crowd and the band had to catch their breath after this trifecta of righteous Clutch jams… but only for a moment. “Sucker for the Witch” begins with a punk inspired bass line from Dan Maines with a steady rhythmic progression… paired with the intense massacre of the drum kit by Jean-Paul Gaster and the pulsating scream from Sult’s six string making this tune a new crowd favorite. Fallon proceeds into the old school Clutch catalog with “Escape From the Prison Planet” off the 1995 self-titled offering and it blends perfectly into the barrage of newer tracks. To keep the old school vibe going, Sult swiftly began the inter-planetary guitar licks nd the fans instantly knew what was coming, yeah…it’s coming,“Dodge swinger 1973, galaxy 5-0-0”.The cult classic “Spacegrass” from their 1995 self-titled album, lit-up the joint with a mind-blowing sing-along… at times drowning-out Fallon’s mighty vocals. After “Spacegrass”, the fans were treated to a brand-spankin’ new track that made its live debut. “Talkbox” seemed to flow in the same Clutch fashion with clever lyrics from Fallon and the distinctive Sult twang… definitely a keeper. One of my favorites, “Unto the Breach”, another gem from the 2013 release “Earth Rocker” album was played at a little faster-pace…if that is even possible, and moved it up a few notches on my favorites list. Oddly, the “Earth Rocker” juggernaut LP was not well represented in this set and, in my opinion, is one of their best…but, I digress. Another splendid tune from the “Psychic Warfare” album, “Quick Death in Texas”, is swiftly becoming a fan favorite and I’m right there with ’em. It delivers one of the best lines in a Clutch song ever… “the preacher stood up from the table, in his right hand he held the Bible and in his left hand the business end of a Winchester rifle…” Next up was “Your Love is Incarceration”, also from their latest album, and paired with previous song seem to be a great tandem that steadily keeps the momentum going. Another new tune, “Lorelei”, although not a live debut, was mixed in and didn’t really seem to fit comfortably. It may be a good studio song, but live… not so much. It proved to be a great time for a smoke break. If you enjoyed the break a little too long, then you missed the live debut of an unknown new tune. It was only noted as “FT” on the set list and it was a fantastic new piece. The lyrics were classic Fallon and the guitar was wah’ed-out just enough to give it an unequivocal two fists up. After the new jam was given its due amount of rowdy applause, Fallon paused for a bit and proclaimed “please allow me to adjust my pants” and the first of a duo of songs from the 2004 album “Blast Tyrant”(DRT Entertainment) was underway. “The Mob Goes Wild” began and launched the rambunctious crowd into the stratosphere with another heavy sing-along. From the same album, “Profits of Doom”, followed with a massive ovation. Fallon pulled out his trusty harmonica and went all-in on the “Earth Rocker” funky jam “DC Sound Attack” after Gaster’s rumbling drum roll introduction….it was on!!! The band left the stage and everyone knew they were not done yet. Clutch returned and let loose on an outstanding encore. The first tune, “Electric Worry”, from the 2007 album “From Beale Street to Oblivion”(DRT Entertainment) has been a mainstay in their set list and certainly proved it was worthy. The bluesy, punk-ish song has just the right roller-coaster rhythms and guitar solos to start a mini-riot in the crowd. The second and final song of the encore was “X-Ray Visions”, the lead single from the tours namesake album “Psychic Warfare”… complete with the astrological sign introduction of his band mates. Fallon’s catchy lyrics and some driving bass and drums from Maines and Caster… add in a blistering Sult guitar solo making it the haymaker blow for a knockout encore. An outstanding choice to end the show and already gaining ground on my favorite Clutch jam list… with a chorus of “telekinetic, prophetic, dynamite…Psychic Warfare is real”…how can you go wrong??
Clutch can never be pigeonholed into any one specific genre. Their songs constantly cross the borders of them all… and that, my friends, is the reason they are still standing tall at a point in their careers when others just fold and give up because they have lost the fire. That’s not the Clutch way at all…and never will be. As we have witnessed about every two years, Clutch still puts out an album full of tunes that can stand beside “Spacegrass”, “Escape From the Prison Planet” and “The Mob Goes Wild” and hold their own. From what the shows on this tour have shown us so far… we are in store for another album of righteous Clutch jams next year and we can’t wait. Keep a check on ’em at http://www.pro-rock.com/
Written by Rob Grissom for 3dotmag.com