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Clutch tour hits Pittsburgh…

Posted November 20, 2016 by Josh Drespling in Live

Clutch tour hits Pittsburgh…

By JJ Ulizio

On 10/01/16 I had the extreme pleasure of attending the Pittsburgh stop from the almighty Clutch on their current and final tour for supporting their newest album Psychic Warfare. It was a great rock and metal show with support from Zakk Sabbath, Kyng, and a local School of Rock. While not being sure what the final attendance numbers were the venue appeared to at least be close to capacity. It has been a while since I was crammed and packed that tightly into Stage A.E. I knew I was ready for a good show, but I didn’t quite grasp how good of a show I was in for.

First to hit the stage was a complete surprise. It was the local chapter of The School of Rock, playing a set of covers consisting of metal classics like Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” and “Ace of Spades” by Motörhead. They jammed through their short set while skillfully playing songs in a fashion that I am sure would make the artists who wrote them proud. After each song the crowd erupted in applause and rightfully so, these kids definitely rocked and rocked hard. The highlight of the performance of course came with the set closer when they performed the Clutch song “Subtle Hustle”. The guitarists rocked their way through the first verse as the singer belted out the lyrics, in what I imagine was a surprise, Clutch vocalist Neil Fallon himself came out onto the stage and sang the song with the kids from The School of Rock! I hope they had as much fun doing that as I did watching it because it was great. I hope all of them stick with music because they were a very talented group of kids!

Partial Set from School of Rock Wexford PA Location
Featuring Neil Fallon of Clutch. Stage AE, Pittsburgh PA 10/01/16

Next up was Kyng originating from Los Angeles California as they were supporting their upcoming album entitled Breathe in the Water. A lot of sound, for a three piece band, was coming from the stage as their heavy groove riffs, intense drums, and thick yet nimble bass lines dominated the air around the crowd. Their music demanded the audience’s attention and they got every bit of it. Through the course of their first song I saw people in line to get drinks actually leave their lines to go check these guys out. The riffs and grooves being belted out by this band had heads banging all over the venue. A solid band all the way around, great albums and a killer live show.

Iommi, Butler, Ward, Osbourne. If you are reading this article, then chances are that you probably know who those names are already. But in the off chance that you don’t, I’ll tell you. Those names are the four parts that make up the almighty Black Sabbath. No, Black Sabbath didn’t open up for Clutch. That would be awesome and weird at the same time. Instead of the metal pioneers from England we had what I can only assume is the next best thing. Zakk Sabbath. The long time Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and the main man behind Black Label Society put himself together a Black Sabbath tribute band. Yes, you read that right, and IT WAS AWESOME! I had some personal reservations about it while going into the show. Zakk is for sure an extremely capable guitar player, but the idea of tribute bands is something I never really understood. Once Zakk, Blasko, & Joey took the stage, the roof blew off the place. Zakk’s signature guitar sound ripped through the opening of the Sabbath classic “Children of the Grave”. Not a head was still through the course of the set. Other Sabbath classics like “Fairies Wear Boots”, “NIB”, and “Snowblind” all kept the set moving at a brisk pace. The power that Black Sabbath has was readily apparent because if Zakk wanted too he wouldn’t have had to sing a single song. The crowd belted out every lyric of every verse. They quickly made a believer out of me. Being the fan of the source material that I am, I had an insane amount of fun during the set. The highlight was midway through the set when they performed “War Pigs” from the 1970 classic album Paranoid. Zakk definitely seemed to be enjoying himself as the crowd clapped along to the verse and sang line for line. When the song reached the guitar solo Zakk turned to his crowd pleasers and played the solo with the guitar behind his head, used his teeth. He even walked out onto the floor of the venue with the audience. Right in the middle he continued the solo with the guitar behind his head as the tightly packed audience gathered around and took photos, broadcasted live on Facebook and posted snaps to snapchat. He eventually made his way back to the stage to finish the song.

Their overall set, was just… fun. I’d recommend any fan of Black Sabbath to go and see this live. You will enjoy it.

Zakk Sabbath “War Pigs”
Stage AE, Pittsburgh PA 10/01/16

As much as I enjoyed all the music prior, finally the moment had come. The main reason the majority of the people where there to begin with. From Germantown, Maryland, on tour supporting their newest album, Psychic Warfare, the mighty Clutch. Kicking off their set with a classic from their sophomore self-titled album, “The House That Peterbilt” the riffs and grooves started moving followed by Earth Rocker’s “Unto The Breach.” Two songs back to back seemingly separated by roughly twenty years were eagerly consumed by their legion of fans. They played songs spanning their entire 25 year career. Songs like “Crucial Velocity” & “The Mob Goes Wild” to “The Elephant Riders” and “Noble Savage”. They also preformed a few personal favorites of mine “Escape from the Prison Planet” and “Gravel Road.” I was happy as vocalist Neil Fallon made his way back and forth across the stage raising his hands up and down and pointing periodically at the crowd in the manner of a southern preacher.

The crowd erupted, song after song. Line after line. The band had them in the palm of their hands until the band attempted to close their set with the fan favorite blues rock jam “Electric Worry/One Eye Dollar.” After which the band cleared the stage as the crowd began chanting for more “Clutch Clutch Clutch Clutch” over and over. Considering the lights never came on nor did the house music, it was no surprise when the band came back on stage for an encore. Finishing the night they rocked the stage to “D.C. Sound Attack” and “The Wolf Man Kindly Presents…” featuring harmonica performances and a cow bell solo by Mr. Fallon. It turned into one hell of a rock and roll show.

Clutch and their fans are a special breed. Loyal to the music and the band alike. As the band has grown and evolved their sound a lot of their fans have done the same. Through out the night I heard a lot of the conversations from long time fans. One fan talked of her drive from Maryland to see them for the 22nd time. While another fan told us that that he was there for his 44th. The band earned what they have the hard way, through relentless touring. From where I was looking; it definitely seems to have paid off.

Clutch will continue on tour through the end of the year supporting Psychic Warfare, after which they will be taking a short break before beginning to work on the follow up to Psychic Warfare. This was an incredible rock show, well played musically with some amazing showcasing of the music itself. If this tour hits a city near you I highly recommend checking it out it’ll is a gig you won’t soon forget.

Make sure to check out the interview I did with Neil Fallon of Clutch by clicking here.

About the Author

Josh Drespling

Josh is the Publisher and creator of Empire Extreme and it’s sister publication Kingdom Extreme Magazine. He is an accomplished writer, photographer and graphic designer. He is always conjuring up new ideas and has a amazing passion for the music industry and all the things that surround it.


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