Clutch made a stop at House of Blues in Chicago, Illinois as part of their Psychic Warfare World Tour. Clutch released their eleventh studio album, Psychic Warfare, during October 2015 and it debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200. The number of diehard fans in attendance that night in Chicago, combined with fans attending shows across the U.S., are clearly one part of the reason why the album was so close to cracking the top ten.
After two well received sets from openers Kyng and Zakk Sabbath, Clutch started off the night with Who Wants To Rock? from Jam Room (2009) before going straight into The House That Peterbilt and Animal Farm, both from their 1995 self-titled release. Singer Neil Fallon was firing on all cylinders and the crowd were fully onboard for the ride.
The band continued with two songs from Psychic Warfare, fast-paced X-Ray Visions and Firebirds! which included Neil on guitar. Clutch dug deep into their catalog again with The Regulator and Immortal before treating fans to another new song. Bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster really brought a funky life to Quick Death in Texas, and fans happily sang along. We’re not talking just the chorus either as a lot of people on the floor and even in the balcony were giving as much to the band as the band were giving to the crowd.
When the band started Spacegrass from their self-titled 1995 release, the room changed. Not only were a lot of fans singing along from the very beginning, many could be heard above Neil. To say people lost their minds during this song would be an understatement. With Passive Restraints, fans continued singing along, moshed and generally soaked up every bit of the night.
Clutch continued with two more from Psychic Warfare. Noble Savage was another fast-paced rocker with the line, “Unapologetic lifer for Rock and Roll”, which probably applied to a lot of people that night. While I have seen Clutch in the past before, between hearing the inflection in Neil’s voice all night as he sang each word, verse and chorus combined with his spastic body movements, by this point, I had decided Neil was the equivalent of a Baptist Rock n’ Roll preacher. He was such a contrast to other members in the band and you wouldn’t dare take your eyes off him.
During Son of Virginia, Neil once again played guitar alongside Tim Sult, who is truly a master at his craft. This blues-esque song had groove for days and set a calm tone over the crowd who bobbed their heads along in unison to the music. This lead into Pulaski Skyway and more great guitar playing from Tim. As the show was coming to an end, once again, the band went deep into their back catalog and closed the main set with A Showgun Named Marcus from 1993 which had the crowd on fire again. The band left the stage for a couple minutes and the crowd began a “Clutch! Clutch!” chant. The night ended with an encore that included Escape from Prison Planet and Electric Worry, which left everyone on a high note. “Bang, bang, bang, bang! Vamanos, vamanos.”
If by chance you missed seeing Clutch on this recent run, you missed one hell of a show. Not only did they give Chicago fans their monies worth, they played a set that spanned their entire catalog, which is most likely why there was very little talking from Neil, who instead chose to get down to business. The business of rocking some faces off. I guess when you’ve been a band since the early 90’s and have 11 studio albums to your credit, you are definitely a Noble Savage.
View the entire Clutch photo gallery here.