Clutch at The Fillmore in Detroit, MI

Clutch deliver a killer punch to a packed house in Detroit with support from Sevendust and Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown.

Kicking off the evening are Nashville-based rockers Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. They have the crowd engaged early with the fast-paced tunes “Weak and Weepin” from their current release and “House on Fire”. Lead singer and guitarist Tyler Bryant is a ball of energy, moving quickly from side to side and thrashing his hair about. The band tonight also includes Caleb Crosby on drums and Graham Whitford (normally on guitar but playing bass tonight). Fans of rock music probably recognize that last name. Graham’s dad is none other than guitarist Brad Whitford of Aerosmith. And to the fans delight, he joins the band for a rousing, extended jam version of “Going Down”. The crowd loves it. They close out their set with “Lipstick Wonder Woman” from their 2013 album Wild Child.

Sevendust from Atlanta, GA take the stage next to huge cheers. It would seem there are many fans here to see them as much as the headliner. They get the fans moving early with “Dirty” from their 2018 release All I See Is War and follow that up with “Face to Face” which has the crowd singing out loud. They keep the pace up with “Denial” from the 1999 album Home.  

Lajon Witherspoon is front and center and pulls the fans in with his powerful voice and stage presence. Providing the guitar crunch are Clint Lowery and John Connolly, with Vince Hornsby providing the heavy bass. A highlight is watching the master on the skins, Morgan Rose. He has a unique way of making it look like he is going to hit softly only to suddenly snap his arms and crashes the cymbals. On top of that, his braided red hair flies around, adding to the spectacle.

They slow things down with “Unforgiven” from their latest album, as well as “Waffle”, another song from Home. Ramping it back up, they go back to their roots and play “Too Close to Hate” and “Bitch” from their 1997 debut. They finish things up with “Thank You”. It may be a brief set, but the fans still appreciate it with loud cheers, hoping they might play longer.

After an extended break, the crowd is growing anxious for Clutch to take the stage. They have built up a loyal following, with many sporting shirts of their heroes. As soon as the lights start to dim, the crowd erupts. The band wastes no time pleasing the fans as they launch into “The Mob Goes Wild” from 2004 album Blast Tyrant.  

Clutch has been wowing fans for over 25 years now and recently released their 12th album, Book of Bad Decisions. Having managed to stay together as a core this whole time is something to be admired. Their fans are loyal and they are picking up new fans with their killer live shows. The fans sing along at key points on just about every song while throwing horns and fists of their own into the air. This is one fully engaged and sold-out crowd.

The set tonight is full of songs from across their history, but many come from the current release including “Gimme the Keys,” “Vision Quest,” “Spirit of 76,” “In Walks Barbarella,” and the cool, upbeat bluesy song “Ghoul Wrangler.” They also play many fan favorites including “The Regulator,” “Crucial Velocity,” and the ripping tune “Firebirds.”

Vocalist Neil Fallon is quite engaging on stage as he paces about throwing fists into the air and pointing at the fans, all the while delivering lyrical magic. This band is all business, with very few moments of banter between songs. One exception is after “Sucker for the Witch.” Neil mentions he sees a lot of younger fan with their parents. And while he wants everyone else to have their fun, he warns them not to let it ruin the fun of others. You only get one first impression.

Bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster lay down the solid, driving bottom end that powers many of the songs. At times like during “Escape from the Prison Planet,” the sound is thunderous. Tim Sult is not your typical guitarist. Unlike those in many rock bands, he focuses on just playing without having to resort to over the top solos and wild stage antics. He might be small in stature and stage presence, but he more than makes up for it with his talents that lead the songs.

They finish the main portion of their set with “Electric Worry” that features a drum jam. Before leaving the stage, Neil takes some time to interact with fans up front and hand out guitar picks. Returning after a short break, they first play “Lorelei” and then close on a high note with the groovy “D.C. Sound Attack!” It’s a great ending for a night full of awesome rock music that gave the fans their money’s worth.

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About Gary Pahlow 40 Articles
Gary is located in Rochester Hills, MI and has been officially photographing and writing concert reviews since early 2016. His main music interests are metal and hard rock, but he is also a fan of most genres including alternative, indie, jazz, and even some pop and country. When not covering or attending concerts, you can find him traveling with his wife or watching the Detroit Red Wings.

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