The Galaxy Concert
Santa Ana, CA
16 December 2005
by Gary Schwind
Let me start off by putting one thing to
rest. I'm just going to come out and say it. Clutch is king. They reign
over all the pretenders to the hard rock throne.
I have seen Clutch about half a dozen times
and I have never felt that they were off for even a song. I'll say this
much. I don't think you'll ever find a band tighter than Clutch. You may
find some bands equal to them, but never tighter. And their fans are some
of the most devoted fans around. They know every lyric to every song and
in between songs, they all shout the song they'd like to hear next. The
audience erupted when Clutch kicked off the show with "Big News I" and
"Big News II" and didn't stop until the house lights came up after "Impetus."
It occurred to me last night that Neil
Fallon might be the perfect frontman. He certainly is the personality of
the band but he doesn't need to be the center of attention. After his Greg
Graffin-like expressions and wild gesticulations, he is happy to step aside
and watch the other guys do their thing.
Another thing that makes Clutch king is
that you don't feel cheated when you go to one of their shows. They were
on stage for probably an hour and a half and performed 20 songs. Knowing
Clutch fans, they probably wanted more, but come on, you don't get that
sort of effort from every band.
As expected, Clutch drew most heavily
(7 of 20 songs) from their most recent album Robot Hive/Exodus.
However, they also performed at least one song from: Clutch, Blast Tyrant,
Pure Rock Fury, The Elephant Riders, Transnational Speedway, League, Impetus.
You have to give them credit. They could have just gone up there, performed
eleven songs from Robot Hive/Exodus and said, "Good night now!"
But they didn't. They gave us a heaping helping of Clutch goodness and
that's what we love about them.
Elliott Whitmore opened for Clutch as he
has been for three weeks. It's an interesting pairing that you probably
wouldn't expect. Elliott Whitmore is a singer-songwriter who plays banjo
and acoustic guitar. When he started to play, the audience came alive for
the first time all evening and with good reason.
Whitmore is an excellent songwriter with
a powerful voice. He sings simple old-time rootsy songs and I got the feeling
that he'd be just as comfortable performing on someone's porch or a boxcar
as on a stage. I will definitely have to add some of his music to my collection.
Elliott Whitmore was preceded by two local
bands, Duress and SiX. Duress was OK. They are a young band reminiscent
of Candlebox. I don't know for sure, but SiX may have chosen their band
name based on the number of songs that they know. Even if they do know
more than six songs, they'd never have time to play more than that because
the lead singer spends so much time talking and being "angry" between songs.
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