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Concert Review: Clutch at The Fillmore

by Casey Schwochow

Clutch are hardly strangers to anyone immersed in the Detroit Rock N’ Roll scene. They’ve been playing live shows around here for 23 years now (I personally saw them for the first time back in 1993 at St. Andrews hall opening for Monster Magnet). Their most recent stop was Friday as they hit The Fillmore and I was there to catch all the action.

This show saw the band touring behind their most successful effort to date, Psychic Warfare. The album reached #11 on the Billboard charts and the effort was released on the band’s own label, Weathermaker Music.The efforts of the band are surely paying off as The Fillmore saw a near capacity crowd show up to see the Clutch. Outside the front doors of the venue they had a “No Crowd Surfing” sign posted for all to see. I have never seen a sign like this before, and I believe the “rule” may have spared some sore necks and injuries after witnessing the chaos in the pit.They opened with the classic “The House That Peterbilt“, from their self titled 1995 album. Then quickly followed it with “X-Ray Visions“, their first single off Psychic Warfare.

Clutch makes music that gets people moving and the high energy music had the main floor doing exactly that. The crowd was packed in like sardines so I took myself up to the balcony halfway through the band’s set to get some wiggle room and a better view. Looking down at how extreme the crowd in the pit was as they moshed and pushed made me feel old. I couldn’t see myself surviving the intensity without some injuries. Oh how times have changed since that Clutch show in 1993. The no crowd surfing “rule” was broken a few times and the rule may have been another reason why the pit was so intense – what doesn’t go up, may just have to shove forward.

Photo by Casey Schwochow

Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster wrote the evening’s set list, as each member of the band takes turns writing the set list each night. Older songs including “Escape From the Prison Planet”, “A Shogun Named Marcus”, and “Spacegrass” had huge reactions from the crowd. They even took it all the way back with “Passive Restraints” from 1992. Many tracks from the new album were performed as well including “Firebirds!”, “Decapitation Blues”, and “Sucker for the Witch”. They scattered songs from their catalog into the set, and no one seemed to be walking away for a bathroom break.

Lead man Neil Fallon picked up the guitar for the first encore song, “Son of Virginia”. Then they closed out the set with the harmonica driven “D.C. Sound Attack!”.

Clutch continue to be a working class band. Neil Fallon, Tim Sult, Dan Maines, and Jean-Paul Gaster show up and do their job, like they have since they started over 20 years ago. They are always out to deliver to their fans and they did not disappoint them this evening.


Setlist – The Fillmore in Detroit on October 28, 2016:
The House That Peterbilt
X-Ray Visions
Pulaski Skyway
Decapitation Blues
A Shogun Named Marcus
Sucker for the Witch
Your Love Is Incarceration
A Quick Death in Texas
The Elephant Riders
Escape From the Prison Planet
The Mob Goes Wild
Profits of Doom
Passive RestraintsEncore:
Son of Virginia
D.C. Sound Attack!
Check back soon for my exclusive interview with Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster that took place before the band’s Detroit performance.

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