05 March 2010

WATCH: Clutch live at Drop Shop in Huntington, 1997

There are bands that will forever be popular in West Virginia. Clutch is one of those bands. They have played in the state so many times you would think they were actually natives. But despite having lived in Harper's Ferry while they recorded 1998's The Elephant Riders, Clutch is well-known for hailing from neighboring Maryland.

Over the last decade and a half, they have played dozens of sold out shows across the Mountain State. In 1997 on a tour prior to the release of The Elephant Riders, Clutch played two sold-out dates at the Drop Shop in Huntington. One show was all-ages, and Malicious Intent was featured as the opening band (followed by a much less memorable act that featured the show promoter's son). I made the trip down with MI guitarist Dave Crawford. I'll never forget sitting in traffic on I-64, and turning around to see an 18-wheeler barreling in on Dave's rear bumper, and wondering if he was going to stop. He didn't, and ran right into us, but didn't do any damage to the car - just slowly pushed us 10 feet down the road.

Nevertheless, the video below features "7 Jam" from 1995's self-titled album. Though its from the second day's appearance that I didn't attend, the show many of us from north central West Virginia traveled to see was a blast. I saw Clutch a number of times after that in Huntington (mostly to photograph them for the newspaper), but no performance quite lived up to that one.

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