Clutch, Hatebreed and Dropkick Murphys Unite and Detroit’s Masonic Temple

ClutchThere’s just something cool about attending a rock show in Detroit. The city oozes with working class edge that seems to bring the best out in bands. Tonight, three monsters hit the stage at The D’s Masonic Temple for an evening of extreme.

The lineup of Metalcore band Hatebreed, aren’t the most cohesive of lineups but they fit together in an odd friend in a buddy movie sort of way. They’re not really similar, and you’re probably going to have a decided favorite, but if you like one, you’re probably cool with the other two.

Hatebreed was the first to hit the stage. The singer Jamie Jasta sings in one note. It’s maybe less of a note and more of a death threat scribbled out on a note. Jasta sounds like fury being jammed into a microphone. He is good at it, though. His raw, percussive vocal style suits the heavy rhythm coming from the bass and drums. The three combines to make it a great soundtrack to knock into the person next to you.  If you like metalcore, you’re probably going to like Hatebreed.  The band has an interesting combination of aggression and positivity. It’s sort like a baseball bat with “you can do it!” written on it.

It was a fun game trying to tell the Dropkick murphy fans from the Clutch fans. The best I could come up with was the longer and less manicured a beard is, the more likely the person is there to see Clutch.  I’ve never personally understood the beard/Clutch connection. Sure, Neil Fallon, Clutch’s front man does have a beard, but I have yet to see it reach zz topian lengths. If they look like they were in a rock band at some point? Clutch. If they look like they played competitive hockey? That’s going to fall into Dropkick Territory.

My three favorite mid-size venue live acts have long been Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch, and Monster Magnet. Less than a week after the CoC Show at St Andrews in Detroit, Clutch arrives in Detroit. It’s an embarrassment of sonic riches. If only every week were like this one, I’d be a very happy man. A very broke, very deaf, very happy man. Clutch has a die-hard core of fans that will drive from semi ridiculous distances to see as many shows as they can, even if it’s an opening gig with less stage time than a headlining show. Clutch was certainly well represented in the crowd. The band seemed to be having fun, and did two songs from their recent Weathermaker vault series covers, ZZ Top’s Precious and Grace, and Evil, formerly performed by Everybody.

It’s almost hard to review a Clutch show because as a writer, you can only use synonyms for fantastic so many times without sounding like you’re overselling a band, but it’s simply hard to oversell Clutch as a live band. They always sound great and as tight as a band can get. Neil, their singer and musical evangelist, did his usual erm…. fantastic job being the musical power of personality that takes a great group of musicians and turns the constituent pieces into a great live show. There are few who do it as well as Neil Fallon. As far as I’m concerned

This is the first time I’ve seen Dropkick Murphys play. For those who have never heard them, the best description I can come up with is the following: imagine the Clash beating the hell out of Great Big Sea after a hockey game. Now imagine Great Big Sea has a snootful of Bushmills and is out for revenge. This is the sound of Dropkick Murphys. Ken Casey, who usually sings and plays bass and shares lead vocal duties with Al Barr, has not been playing bass in concert due to a motorcycle accident in 2019, which caused issues with sensation in his fingers. As a result, both Al and Ken were bouncing between the stage and standing balanced on the security barrier rail, leaning into the crowd and adding the perfect amount of chaos to match the music. The two-level stage and 8 people made for a spectacular performance. It’s not every day you see the guitarist sitting in the audience playing guitar, or switching back and forth to the most punk rock accordion I’ve ever seen.

This unlikely 3 bands made for a fun and well-balanced show where the energy shifted in style but never let up. Any of these bands are a good bet live. All three made for an amazing show.

Photos by David Booth (Hellbender Blues Media)

Dropkick Murphys

Clutch

Hatebreed

Photo: Clutch – by David Booth