CLUTCH at the Norva, May 19, 2017 - Concert Review

There have always been a few bands that can't quite be cornered into a genre.

Clutch is certainly a great example. It's not just Stoner Rock or Blues Rock. It's not Punk. It's not metal or Hellbilly... but, if you could mix all those together with diesel fuel, strychnine and a smallish dose of mkultra you'd be on the right track to what their sound has thankfully evolved to.

Much rarer is a band with a frontman whose vocal range cannot be compared, described or classified easily. Again, Clutch somehow possesses this trait.

Since the band formed in 1991, vocal categories that had been in existence for a very long time seem obsolete. They should now be updated to include soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, and then, Neil F'ing Fallon..

Humble and approachable off stage, the mild mannered guy reminds me of everyone's "cool uncle" that had a bitch'n beard and caught you one.... Once on stage, he transforms into something, again, hard to pinpoint...... Oh, yeah, he turns into Neil F'ing Fallon. The stage could barely contain him.

He delivered as he always has, low and comforting, yet sometimes authoritative and menacing, there is no comparison vocally, that I can think of.  Joining Fallon on stage from the beginning is Tim Sult on lead guitar, Dan Maines on bass and Jean-Paul Gastor behind the drum kit, so in touch and in time with each other, it was one of the best sounding shows of not just the Norva shows I've been to, but of all the shows I've attended. They played 15 songs with a two song encore (set list below) carefully delivering their version of mind-control, pounding cosmic, funny, creepy audible creations into the faces of the wanting, enthralled audience.

Bravo to Norva's staff, sound engineers to security, everyone seemed to have a night to remember. I know one young man who rode his dad's shoulders had the night of his life. Right up against the barrier, Fallon reaching, singling him out, among others, to make the show even more memorable... and at those moments, the stage did not contain him.

I almost didn't make it because of so many things going on, I'm so glad I did, the show must go on... If you have to miss a show every once in a while, fine, but never, ever let it be a Clutch show.

Photos below by Brian McDonald ©


Brian McDonald

I am a 49-year-old child who refuses to grow up and put away his childish ways.  I have lived in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads/7-Cities/Coastal Virginia (wtf, decide on a name) area my entire life.  If I'm not in the Atlantic Ocean with one of my daughters, I'm listening to punk, metal, hardcore, or any hybrid of the three.  I still think I'll be the drummer in a killer band one day.  I'm really just a simple fan of truthful, brutal music, and happy if that's all I ever am.