CLUTCH WILMINGTON TAKEOVER
It has been a few years since The Queen, in Wilmington Delaware has had Clutch up on the stage. I was ecstatic for this show from the moment notice of it dropped, in late Spring. The bill featured hometown boys Kingsnake, Lionize, and of course the almighty C!
If you know anything about me, or if you listen to either of my shows on 106.6 The Blast, I literally do not shut up about this line-up. I am constantly praising Kingsnake as the undiscovered by terrestrial radio dynamos they are, asking what is wrong with terrestrial radio not to pick up on these boys? I play them on 106.6 The Blast every chance I get.
If you know me you know that when Nathan Bergman hits the chorus of Lionize’s “Fire in Athena” I am moved to near tears, as there is something in his voice that is so raw and so sad, it is like the cry of a dove. I am marveled at where Nathan gets this soul from, and he is one of my favorite vocalists to date.
And, if you know me you know that Clutch is the band that I follow, and go to see time and time again, and the band whose mere name on a billboard got me back into the music business in the first place. Clutch had me trading the funk of everyday life for their brand of “Weaponized Funk”. I have even had my son, Thomas, now eleven years old, to see Clutch with this occasion marking the seventh time.
Coupled with the fact that this show was at The Queen, and only twenty minutes from my home, this was party time pure and simple. This was the musical therapy that was much needed since the emotional roller coaster of a Summer I had. If you know me, you know that there have been many adjustments both personal and financial, since the death of my mother, in July. This show however was the show that if I could see no other concert all Summer/ Fall long was the one that I was not missing for the world. Damn right, I bought my son and I, tickets on the first day they dropped. Later making it a family affair and bring my husband, as well.
This show marked a festive occasion. Beney Benefiel and Andrew Wendell drove out all the way from Michigan. There were folks who came all the way from New York, Virginia, and several other states as well. This was the closest thing that I had felt to a family gathering in a long time. It was an amazing power to behold that Clutch brings so many people from so far and wide together. I have written before how people come from foreign countries to Inwood, West Virginia every year, for Earth Rocker. People came from far and near for this show as well. In fact, from farther states than I expected. The Queen, for a Sunday night was brimming, and no one cared if there was work, school, or a long drive a head the next morning, everyone was thinking of one thing, and one thing only, the almighty C! If you were across the river in say, New Jersey for any festivals, you missed out on the real festival going on at The Queen that night. Larger venues could not compete with the vibe at The Queen that night, for this show. Ever fortunate Clutch had a night off from their larger tour with The Dropkick Murphy’s and Hatebreed. The intimacy of the smaller theatre stage was the perfect scene to get up close and get your dose of Neil and the boys.
Earlier in the day laughing and spending the afternoon with Wendell and Beney, it was remarked upon how at that moment we would not be sitting in my living room, and we might not even know each other if it was not for Clutch. So many friendships are made by the following of this band. Yet, here we all were sharing a beer, sharing a few stories, and Neil, Dan, Tim, and Jean – Paul, had made that happen. From the youngest of our group Natey Jenkins, aged seven, to people well into their sixties the sense of family inspired by this band is unanimous.
In fact, young Natey came to the impromptu picnic, I hosted before the show at my home and made instant friends with my son Tom. Natey’s remark to his mother Elizabeth is what inspired me most this round, as far as “a day in life of a Gearhead” goes. He told his mom what a great day it was, he made a new friend and got to see Clutch. Funny that conversation mirrored the one I shared with Andrew Wendell, both of us decades older that this little sprite. We all knew it, we all felt it. Hell, I think even Neil felt it from the stage. It was an amazing feeling to have my home buzzing with life and to host so many Gearheads for the day. I try to grasp what it is about Clutch that has that force to unite so many of us, and perhaps there is not one single answer among us that will be the same. One thing I can say is that when Neil and the boys take the stage, you just know why you came without so many words to describe it. It’s a feeling.
At the show Thomas and Natey mashed up against the fence the entire Clutch set. They rocked, moved, and threw Metal horns in synch to every move Neil Fallon made. Both boys felt every beat and every note Clutch performed. We all did. This night Clutch truly brought it. Every song was as good as the next. Clutch literally tore the roof off the place. Yes, I say this all the time, however this may even be the best concert that I have been to all year. I am ready for more and super excited for Holiday run time. Both boys were over the moon when Neil picked them out at the end of the show, handing them set lists with guitar picks folded inside.
Kingsnake got the night pumping with several of my favorites, including The Plow, and Phoenix to round out the night. Lionize with their mix of eclectic infusions rounded out the evening, playing new tracks like “The Loneliest Whale” and “Cheap Perfume”, and of course riveting me with my old time favorite “Fire in Athena.”
But Clutch, Clutch brought the house down. Highlights of the evening for me were, the always moving “Earth Rocker”, “Noble Savage”, and always a personal favorite “D.C Sound Attack”. The newly revamped “Electric Worry” was harder, grittier, and more in your face than ever before, and “Evil” delivered an edgy twist on the old time Blues standard. (Both new releases from The Weathermaker Vault.) A show like this is so much more than a concert, its therapy, it’s motivation, it’s a reunion, its family; and Clutch delivered an energy that I am still feeling even days later. This is the kind of thing that makes you go, “so this is what music is about”, and perhaps this is what life is about. From the young words of Natey Jenkins, “it’s a great day when you get to see Clutch and make a new friend”. That is as pure and simple as it gets.