BIG NEWS – The Party Boat is Here…

By on May 20, 2013

(Photo Frank Colucci)

St Petersburg, FL / Orlando, FL – May 9th & 11th 2013

Clutch with Lionize & The Sword.

Ok, so there wasn’t a boat, but definitely a party. The second leg of Clutch’s North American tour made four stops in Florida last week and I was fortunate to go to two of them. One of the many highlights of seeing Clutch live is that they change up the set list every night.  Most bands, at least in my experience, play the same set night after night for the entire tour. Between the two shows I’m pretty sure I heard the entire new album Earth Rocker live, which wasn’t a bad thing.  Normally two or three new songs are more than enough for me from new releases, but Earth Rocker is tremendous from beginning to end. Personally, I couldn’t wait to hear what they were going to play off of it. In my opinion, Earth Rocker is Clutch’s best album since 2004’s Blast Tyrant. Both of the packed crowds each night sang along to every new tune just as loud as they did for the earlier ones.

 At Thursday’s State Theater show in St Petersburg the new songs performed were “Earth Rocker”, “Crucial Velocity”,” D.C. Sound Attack!”, “Gone Cold”, “Oh Isabella”, “Unto The Breach” and “The Wolf Man Kindly Requests …” Clutch opened with The “Mob Goes Wild” and ended with “A Shogun Named Marcus.”.  Clutch’s amazing set also included “Cypress Grove”, “I have The Body of John Wilkes Booth” and “Electric Worry.”

Saturday’s House of Blues performance in Orlando started with three new songs; “Earth Rocker”, “Mr. Freedom” and “Book Saddle and Go”; four more new songs in the set were “D.C. Sound Attack!”, “Unto the Breach”, “The Face” and “Crucial Velocity.”  The older songs played were “Big News 1”, “Big News 2”, “Dragonfly”, “Immortal”, “Elephant Riders”, “The Regulator”, “Profits of Doom”, “Gravel Road” and “Electric Worry.”

Clutch formed in Maryland in 1990 and has released ten studio albums since. Personally, I feel they are one of the most underrated hard rock bands out today. Clutch continues to put out solid albums every few years and hardly gets any local radio play. Their live shows are amazing with just as much energy coming from their fans as lead singer Neil Fallon dishes out from the stage. From the moment they come out on the stage or the second you pop in one of their CD’s, Clutch’s music makes you want to groove. Whether you’re hardcore and ready to get in the pit or to take in some great rock n roll, like myself, Tim Sult’s guitar, Dan Maines’ bass and Jean-Paul Gaster’s drums along with Fallon’s vocals and occasional rhythm guitar, will suck you in, put you in a trance and then the commencement of head-banging begins.

Neil Fallon, Clutch (photo Frank Colucci)

Opening this leg of the tour is Lionize and The Sword. Hailing from the Washington DC area, Lionize is a four piece band that sometimes features Clutch’s very own Tim Sult on guitar. I got to see Tim join the group in Orlando but not at the State Theater show in St Pete.

Lionize brings a mix of hard rock and blues along with great vocals and keyboard that gave them a late 60’s sound.

The Sword formed in 2003 in Austin, Texas and  I first heard of them in 2010 when they opened for Metallica. I was unfamiliar with their music and I wish I had paid closer attention to them three years ago. The Sword was a perfect set-up for Clutch. The crowd was engaged and knew most of the songs. A fifty minute set featuring “The Sundering”, ”Dying Earth”, “Apocryphone” and “Freya” which included one verse and chorus from  ZZ Tops’  “Cheap Sunglasses”.

It was a great week for me and the fans of Clutch. I got to see Clutch twice and discovered two really awesome bands, Lionize and The Sword. Next week, I take a step back from the hard rock and heavy metal genres for the one and only, Sir Paul McCartney. That’s right, a Beatle. Now, it really doesn’t get any more rock n’ roll than that.

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