On May 20th 2017 at Shiley Acres in Inwood West Virginia, we were all witness to the divine creation and birth of what would be called The Earth Rocker Festival courtesy of Clutch.
It had been written and discussed over the previous months as an event that would rock the foundation of what we all knew as a concert. Something so spectacular, that bands and fans alike were chomping at the bit for a chance or opportunity to be a part of this divine creation.
The line-up alone was sheer genius, and that genius was never more present than within the opener’s Apollos Prophecy. A three piece band, consisting of some familiar faces from the local music scene. Dan (Guitar and Vocals), Corey (Bass), Jake (drums) have a sound and presence that reviles some of the bigger bands that are out there now gracing stages worldwide.
Shiley Acres would not be complete without showing some love and support for the young musicians out there. Let There Be Rock School of Frederick seriously brought their collective “A” game and there is no one out there that could deny that each one of these kids can hold their own.
Bad Seed Rising was up next a band birthed from “Let There Be Rock School” and no stranger to the Shiley Acres stage. Francheska (Vocals), Mason (Guitar), Aiden( Drums), Louey (Bass) were out to show Shiley Acres just why they are one of the most sought after bands to hit the music industry in quite a few years. Collectively they are a musically dynamic band that has earned the respect of their peers in an industry that is never gentle.
A band that I had heard a lot about The Sword took the stage next at Shiley Acres. Hailing from Austin, Texas this heavy metal band wasted no time showing Shiley Acres that everything is bigger in Texas. With John Cronise’s souring vocals, and Kyle Shutt guitar work that would leave any guitar lover or fan in awe to Byran Richie’s combined talents on bass and synthesizers and the solid foundation laid down by Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III The Sword truly is and was bigger than West Virginia and bigger than Texas.
While the night progressed and the amazing lineup came down to the final 2 bands I wondered what did Clutch and Shiley Acres have left in store for all of us?
Lucero didn’t waste any time answering my question. Lucero is a country-punk rock band from Memphis, Tennessee. Lucero treated us to a soulful rock country buffet of music that some call Memphisian. Ben Nichols (Vocals, Guitar) Roy Berry (Drums) John C. Stubblefield (Bass) Rick Steff (Piano, Organ, Accordion), and Brian Venable (Guitar) brought a nice change with Lucero to Shiley Acres and the fans loved it.
Finally the moment had arrived! Clutch the Earth Rockers themselves took the stage. As Neil Fallon (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica) Tim Sult (Lead Guitar) Dan Maines (Bass) Jean-Paul Gaster (Drums and Percussion) took the stage Neil had what could be described as almost a mischievous smile on his face and with a thunderous roar like from a Flat Bed Ford Clutch exploded onto the stage. The crowd erupted with the first track “Who Wants To Rock” of a set that was for all the years I’ve followed Clutch or seen them live the best set I’ve heard. Looking out across the crowd there was not a single person standing still or not singing along to tracks like “Electric Worry”, “The Mob Goes Wild”. Clutch had managed to put together or create a tour package/show that encompassed every aspect of rock, hard rock, and heavy metal and they did so with ease.
If you were not there you missed the beautiful conception of something great in The Earth Rocker Tour, and in my opinion you missed Clutch once again returning to the fore front as one of the major powerhouse bands to still lace up their boots and take the stage.