Clutch

support Kamchatka
author MGA date 19/11/11 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

Having just seen Wolves in the Throne Room at Beta only a week earlier (reviewed here by MST), I was excited to see Clutch for a few different reasons. First, I'd heard great things about their live performance and was interested in seeing if they could deliver, and second, it meant seeing two bands from my homeland in two weeks, a special thing for an American studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. But before I could bare witness to Clutch, I had an opener to get through.

Kamchatka

Kamchatka is the name of a really terrible vodka that comes in a plastic bottle that my friends and I drink in the US because we’re too cheap to go anywhere close to high end. It is also, apparently, the name of a Swedish power-trio that specializes in bluesy, stoner tinged rock straight out of the '60s and '70s. In short, the quality of this band’s music definitely outdid the quality of their vodka counterpart. Featuring tracks that were exploratory yet structured, Kamchatka put on a clinic in how to meander through the nuances of one’s sound without getting totally lost in the woods and losing sight of the actual song.

As far as musicianship goes, this was very much a well oiled machine of a band. The bassist kept the low end going and traded vocals with the guitarist, who occupied his time in between solos by thanking the sold-out crowd for their attendance and polite interest while lauding the majesty of Clutch, "the greatest band in the world!" according to him.

Kamchatka didn't totally have my name on it, but that’s not really a knock against the band, it’s just my own personal preference as far as taste. If I could describe their sound and their set in one word, the word that would come to mind would definitely be "solid." They provided a solid, admirable effort as an opening act and represented a fantastic bridge into Clutch.

7

Clutch

I'm pretty sure no one in the sold out crowd made the trek to The Rock to see Kamchatka – the highlight and primary draw of the evening was Clutch, a quartet hailing from Maryland and lead by the revered Neil Fallon.

Let me make one thing clear right away; if there was a frontman school, Neil Fallon would be the professor, the dean, the school president, etc. There are very few people in the music world that can even come within shouting distance of matching Fallon for energy, stage banter and heart. The fact that Clutch plays an energetic brand of rock that does more than a little flirting with heavy metal means Fallon's talents are put into full effect when he puts his Southern accent to work on the mic.

With heavily bass driven tunes and guitar that spent most of its time exploring the effects peddles, Clutch put on a diverse set that that drew even more diverse reactions. There was the obligatory moshing, the dancing, the headbanging, etc. – it was truly a compendium of any range of reactions one could have to music that went from hard rock to metal with unmatched fluidity. Despite the uniqueness of how everyone chose to react to Clutch's music, the one reaction that was constant for everyone was alcohol consumption. Clutch is a band to drink to. They may even be a band to drink too much to. At the very front, pressed up against the stage, there was a middle aged father with his son who must have been in his later teens, and they had been throwing back the Tuborg Christmas Beer since Kamchatka. It was in the middle of the set – in the middle of a song, even – that the teenaged son's body decided enough was enough, and he threw up every ounce of Tuborg (as well as his dinner) onto the stage, right at Neil's feet.

I was lucky, since there was one poor soul that had been standing between me and the son, and part of the throw up that hadn't hit the stage had found a home all over the left arm of the guy next to me. His reaction was similar to what I’d imagine someone would do if they had a bunch of acid thrown onto them; manically scrubbing it off as quickly as possible as if it was napalm. Neil, who had stepped directly into the vomit at the tail end of the song, announced to the crowd that this was the first time in 20 years that that’s happened but it was okay since he "was going to throw these shoes away anyway."

After the father and a roadie that probably really regretted coming to Europe at that moment cleaned up the vomit, Clutch launched right back into their set, closing out with what is probably their most well known track, "Electric Worry." It was the exclamation point on a performance that did more than just live up to the expectations of an American looking for the sound of home.

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