Clutch at the Fillmore, 12/21/12

Categories: Concert Reviews

Brandon Marshall
Neil Fallon of Clutch at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.


Neil Fallon was happy that the Mayans were wrong about the end of the world. The Clutch frontman spelled out his reasoning to the crowd that packed the floor and the wings of the Fillmore on Friday night, taking a rare break between tunes in a breakneck set that lasted more than an hour. "I like the earth. I like you. I like playing rock and roll," declared Fallon, simply, before adding that an apocalypse would have made the band's plans for a new album in March pretty tough. It was one of the few asides in a straightforward, energetic and rousing performance by Clutch, a show that simultaneously celebrated the band's past and hinted at its future. That musical mix of nostalgia and novelty was a good way to celebrate surviving the end of the world.

See also:
- Clutch gets a beer named after it courtesy of New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins
- Q&A: Thanks to the illusion of reinvention, Clutch continues to defy typecasting
- Review: Clutch at Boulder Theater, 8/20/07

Brandon Marshall
Clutch on stage at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.

Indeed, the entire night had the feel of a blowout, a party to celebrate some special occasion. Clutch's set capped more than three hours of music, a showcase that featured local bands like No 1 Left Standing and Lola Black, as well as a lengthy set from fellow headliners Texas Hippie Coalition. By the time Clutch took the stage at around 11 p.m., the crowd had had plenty of time to get comfortable and build up their energy. The other bands had mentioned the failed Mayan apocalypse, and there was a sustained mood of exultation in the air.

Brandon Marshall
Clutch on stage at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.

But that mood didn't derail Clutch's straightforward approach to their set. Clutch took a direct, no-nonsense approach to their performance, even before they started playing the first strains of "Gravel Road" and "Immortal." The other acts featured in the "When Hell Freezes Over" showcase had included plenty of standard rock spectacle in their sets -- for example, both Lola Black and Texas Hippie Coalition had played in front of large banners bearing the name of their group. But Clutch opted for a much simpler setup. There were no banners, no risers, no flashy equipment. The setup would have fit in a much smaller rock club. After the first couple of songs in Clutch's set, the Fillmore no longer felt as large or roomy.

Brandon Marshall
Clutch on stage at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.

Fallon's energy was unbridled from the very first tune. Through renditions of "Profits of Doom," "Escape from the Prison Planet" and "The House That Peterbilt," Fallon roamed across the stage. With his constant hand gestures, exaggerated facial expressions and his sterling vocals, Fallon engaged the crowd and ramped up the energy of the room.
Fallon's approach was theatric, but the rest of the band seemed focused entirely on the music.

Brandon Marshall
Clutch on stage at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.

Guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster went about the music with a concentration that was impossible to miss. Sult's eyes remained glued to the neck of his Gibson through raucous anthems like "Unstoppable Watts" and bluesier tunes like "Electric Worry." Maines kept a similar, singular focus on his own instrument and his own space -- even breaking a string hardly seemed to break his concentration. While Gaster was explosive and unhinged in his drumming (he broke a stick shortly after the band started the first song), he too seemed almost businesslike in his playing.

Brandon Marshall
Clutch on stage at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.

That focus lasted through the band's twenty-song set, a performance that included several new songs that Fallon said would be included on a new album to be released in March. The new material offered the band's familiar brand of swagger and drive -- new lyrics proclaimed "I'm a god ... Everybody hear me now." The music drew from the blues and metal realms of the band's catalogue -- Fallon took a break from his over-the-top hand gestures to play harmonica, cowbell and guitar on several new songs.

Location Info


Fillmore Auditorium

1510 Clarkson St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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Becca Sullivan
Becca Sullivan

Was such a good show. Wouldn't have missed it. Even if it was the end of the world.

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