I barely go out on New Year’s Eve. I did First Night in Boston like twice and froze my ass off. I’ve been to a bar or two but found them to be a bit overwhelming (Do I really have to pay a cover to a place I visit once a week?!?) and, of course, I’ve stayed in. The one thing I have never done is been to a show on New Year’s Eve so it’s fitting that my first time would be for a band that I can now easily count in the double digits when it comes to how many times I’ve seen them live. The band was Clutch. The venue was the Worcester Palladium. Happy New Year’s to me (And Mrs. Jesse who got to witness Clutch greatness live for the first time ever).
Following the interview I did with guitarist Tim Sult and learning what past Clutch greats the upcoming Earth Rocker (Due in March through Weathermaker Music) was compared to, the opening onslaught of “Pure Rock Fury”, “Walking In The Great Shining Path Of Monster Trucks”, and “A Shogun Named Marcus” was really no surprise at all. Every time I’ve seen Clutch they’ve raised the bar on what a live show should be and tonight was no different. From there, they just killed with hit after hit from their illustrious repertoire.
Tonight was also a chance to here some new material off of the aforementioned Earth Rocker and from the sounds of the title track, “Cyborg Betty”, and “DC Sound Attack”, it’s an album that will definitely be worth the four year wait. “Cyborg Betty” especially fit nicely sandwiched between “Regulator” and “Mice And Gods”. Vocalist Neil Fallon absolutely commanded the stage and the crowd throughout fan favorites like “Big News I & II” and “The Mob Goes Wild” during the encore while Sult continually proved why he’s a force to be reckoned with on the guitar during numbers like “Gravel Road” (Those solos! That breakdown!) or “Electric Worry”. Elsewhere, the rhythm section of bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster kept it tight during the entire hour and a half set. Gaster especially is unparallelled behind the drum kit and effortlessly synched up with Maines laying down solid groove after groove. Look no further than the short but sweet “One Eyed Dollar” or closer “Texan Book Of The Dead” for further evidence.
At the end of the day when someone asks where I was when 2013 began I can say with pride that I was with the love of my life as Clutch ripped through “The Yeti”. I can’t really think of a more perfect way to begin a new year. Can you?