Updated: Jul 30
Clutch’s, Book of Bad Decisions tour hit Philadelphia’s, Franklin Music Hall (formerly the Electric Factory) on October 28, 2018. They brought with them blues infused-rock band Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown and the heavy rock of Sevendust.
First up for the night was Nashville’s, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown. TBSD consists of Tyler Bryant (vocals, guitar), Graham Whitford (guitar), Noah Denney (bass) and Caleb Crosby (drums). I have run into Tyler a few times at different events around Nashville but had never seen him perform with The Shakedown, he is one of the best blues/rock guitarists of his generation. I have never seen anyone play with such emotion, you can literally feel every note he plays. Graham’s guitar style compliments and enhances the intensity of their music. Noah and Caleb complete this tight band with stellar rhythmic cohesion. They played a jam packed, 30-minute set, mixing songs from their two LP’s and EP. They opened with Weak and Weepin’ which was a blend of the Black Crowes and The White Stripes. They closed out their set with Lipstick Wonder Woman, which had more of a country/funk flare. This band is extremely versatile, infusing several musical styles to make their unique sound.
Next up, heavy hitters, Sevendust. Sevendust is comprised of Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Clint Lowery (guitar, vocals), John Connolly (guitar, vocals), Vince Hornsby (bass), and Morgan Rose (drums). I have seen them several times while out supporting their current release “All I See is War” and there was something completely off with their performance. I’m not sure if they were having technical issues or just an off night, but nothing seemed to jive for the band. They played about 40 minutes of mixing new and old material, none of it was really together, I’m hoping that whatever issues they had at this show are short lived.
Last but not least the incredible Clutch. Clutch is comprised of Neil Fallon (vocals, guitar), Tim Sult (guitar), Dan Maines (bass), and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums). This is a show that almost didn’t happen. The day before Neil had a health scare where he got dizzy and passed out on a walk before their show in New York. He woke up to a police officer and EMT and spent the remainder of the day in the ER. The doctors recommended that he sit out on the N.Y. show but apparently no one was holding him back from ripping up the stage in Philly.
Clutch formed in 1991 in Germantown, Maryland and released first LP “Transnational Speedway League” in 1993. They have 11 other studio albums since then, and a few other projects along the way. Their sound is rock, blues and funk rolled into an energetic package. Neil is a very charismatic front man, Tim and Dan have a more reserved stage presence and Jean-Paul sits back in the pocket putting down great grooves.
Clutch opened with their first ever released song, Passive Restraints. 25 years later and this track is as good as it ever was. There’s no better way to open a show then with a track that started it all. Neil pulled off crazy Beastie Boys vocal styling. For a man that was not feeling well 24 hours earlier, he came out on fire. This track has a very heavy guitar riff that lead into a jam band style, it’s actually quite a musically complex song. Next up was How to Shake Hands off of their latest release, “Book of bad Decisions”. This song digs deep back into the musicality of the late 1960’s with big distorted guitar riffs, a rolling bassline, and a very prominent snare drum. This song is all built around drama and the conviction in Neil’s vocal performance. The third song of the night, D.C. Sound Attack, just about had me dancing in the photo pit. The groove of this song just calls the soul to get lost. I had a ton of fun watching Neil play the cowbell and so did the crowd. I saw quite a few people play the “air” cowbell.
Clutch played a 17-song set that literally spanned their whole career. The entire band was tight and played a killer set that kept their audience bouncing along the entire night. They were supported by the mega talented Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown and Sevendust to round out a great night of rock and roll. Clutch is headed out to Europe to play shows until mid- December, they hit the states again December 27th for their annual holiday run. Be sure to catch them if they are in a nearby city.