I can’t think of a better place to be on a rainy Saturday night in May than at Sold Out Manchester Music Hall! It’s dry inside the drinks are cold and the music is LOUD! It’s also the first Saturday in May so there’s a little horse race going on up the road a piece, but tonight that was the farthest thing from this crowds mind! Tonight was all about Clutch, The Bronx, Red Fang and Fireball Ministry shaking the roof off of Manchester Music Hall!
Fireball Ministry had first swing at this huge crown and they didn’t waste it! This group of experienced musicians (formed in 1999) knew exactly what to do with this crowd and that was to work them into frenzy for the bands to come. That’s exactly what they did with songs like “Flatline” “Two Tears” and “King”. You know it’s going to be a great show when the first band puts out a performance like this!
Next to take a shot at keeping this crowd going was Red Fang. Red Fang is another band that has been around the block. Formed in 2005 in Portland Oregon, this “stoner metal” outfit has 4 studio albums, several EP’s and a host of video’s to pull material from. It was evident from the beginning of their set that Aaron Beam vocalist and bassist was having a good time with this big responsive crowd, he had a smile on his face from start to finish! Playing songs like “Blood Like Cream” “Hank is Dead” and their first single “Prehistoric Dog” Red Fang had the folks in Manchester Music Hall right where they wanted them!
Trying to keep the momentum up that Fireball Ministry and Red Fang had started was The Bronx. To say they not only kept it up put pushed that momentum forward would be an understatement. The Bronx has been around since 2002, formed in Los Angeles California. I’ve seen them listed as a punk/ hard rock band, whatever category you want to put them they are talented musicians and onstage front man Matt Caughthran is nonstop! I was wore out after watching him, jumping running, dancing, moving back and forth across the stage and at one point in the crowd, were he sang three songs while dancing and moshing with some very surprised fans! Their fifth album titled ‘V’ was just recently released; all the albums are self-titled with roman numerals differentiating each one. If you like loud, energetic, well played music get out and see The Bronx!
The reason Manchester Music Hall was Sold Out, the reason this crowd was in Lexington KY and not Louisville at Churchill Downs, the reason people were standing in line in the pouring rain was tonight’s headliner Clutch! “Holy Shit!” , that comes real close to summing up this night! This was my first Clutch show and hopefully not my last! A friend and lifelong Clutch fan gave me some advice before the show he said “Watch Neil Fallon, as you’re photographing the show, he delivers his lyrics like a southern church pastor” and he was right. Not only does he deliver those lyrics like a preacher but he controls the crowd like one as well. Back and forth across the stage everyone in the building was watching him and reacting to everything he did. It was beautiful to watch. Neil along with guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and legendary drummer Jean-Paul (JP) put on a show that Manchester Music Hall will not soon forget. They opened the night with “Pure Rock Fury” what followed was an epic set list of 16 more songs that included “Firebirds” “Crucial Velocity” along with two songs off their yet to be released album Book of Bad Decisions (Sept. 2018) “Gimme the Keys” and “Spirit of ‘76” then closing out the set with “D.C. Sound Attack” before coming back for a two song encore “Electric Worry” and “The Mob Goes Wild”. With that an amazing night of music in Lexington, KY came to an end. Those that had the privilege of being here will not soon forget it. There will be various other opportunites coming up to see Clutch as they are one of the headliners of the inaugural Inkcarceration Fest in Mansfield, Ohio in July at the prison where Shawshank Redemption was filmed as well as their own festival in West Virginia the Earth Rocker Festival on Saturday August 4th get more info for that festival here.
As always get out and see the show! Support local and touring musician, buy tickets, merch and most importantly buy their music!