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Clutch Shifted the Gears of the Motor City

By Krash Kiten

Clutch, a band that can be listed under many different genres of music, anything from hard rock to funk to blues to alternative metal, once again pulled off another great show at the Fillmore in Detroit this past Saturday, November 23rd.

Originating from Germantown, Maryland, Clutch never fails to put on an outstanding show that has even their newer fans pumped up. Neil Fallon (Lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and keyboards), along with band mates Tim Sult (Lead guitar, backing vocals), Dan Maines (Bass; backing vocals), and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums; percussion) rocked it.

The long set list started out with “The Soapmakers,” off The Elephant Riders released in 1998, and which hit the #1 on the Heatseekers charts. They then jumped ahead to tracks off their newest album Earth Rocker which was released in March 2013. They played songs including the album’s title song “Earth Rocker,” as well as the tracks “Unto the Breach” and “D.C Sound Attack.” Another treat off that album was the fan favorite “Gone Cold.” If you have not yet heard it, Earth Rocker is a must-listen. They also included tracks off other great albums such as Blast Tyrant, Strange Cousins from the West, and their self-titled album Clutch.

A fun fact about the album art on Earth Rocker is that Clutch wanted to go with a technical look. They took ideas inspired by hood ornaments from car brands like Cadillac and Pontiac to name a couple. But the best part of it is that their album cover artist, Nick Lak, combined this concept with Architecture from buildings in our own

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city of Detroit. He then meshed the images together to make the cover art of Earth Rocker.

Clutch started out originally going by the name “Glut Trip” in the early nineties, but Neil was not the lead singer at that time. The band was formed by Tim, Dan, and JP when their original lead singer, Roger Smalls, decided to leave Glut Trip. They then changed the name to Clutch and pulled Tim’s good friend, Neil Fallon, in for lead vocal and subsequently completing the band that we love to love today. Their debut album, Transnational Speedway League LP was released in 1993 and although a huge fan favorite, it wasn’t a turning point for the band. It wasn’t until their self-titled album Clutch was released in 1995 that gave the band exposure they needed to continue bringing us the rad ass music we all crave to hear.

They continued with great success into the early 2000s with albums like Pure Rock Fury and Blast Tyrant. A track off Blast Tyrant called “The Mob Goes Wild” has a video that was directed by Bam Margera, who is best known for MTVs Jackass. The video included some of his cast such as the late Ryan Dunn and even Don Vito. Blast Tyrant was later reissued on Clutch’s own label, Weathermaker Music.

As of Clutch’s latest project, Earth Rocker, it has made the 15th spot on the Billboard 200 giving it the band’s highest chart spot to date.

Unfortunately, this past September Clutch had to postpone touring due to health issues with Neil. Neil was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and two herniated discs. He had surgery and they were able to get back on the road in October, bringing them into Detroit. All of us extreme Clutch fans were able to once more throw our “devil horns” in the air and pay our respects to one of the finest bands of their genre. I personally give this show a 13 out of 10 stars.

Clutch was opened up by The Sword from Austin, Texas. The Sword is a heavier band usually labeled “doom metal” or “stoner metal,” and were influenced by bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. They kicked off the show with abundant guitar riffs and remarkable lyrics. They gave a stellar live performance and I can say with certainty this is a band to check out.

For further information on Clutch, please see their official website at:, and/or you can visit them on social media at: and/or

The Sword – Photos by Krash Kiten

Clutch – Photos by Shane Glenn