Download 2011: Clutch, Down
Wherever they play, whatever stage they’re on, whether or not the sun is shining, Clutch are always irresistible. In the same way that Skindred make you want to throw shapes in a way that leads to a lengthy photo de-tagging session on Facebook, Clutch make you want to boogie like no one’s watching. Even though you’re in a field surrounded by thousands of people.
In part, this is because every other bugger is wiggling various anatomical pieces just as much as you are, sober or otherwise (mainly otherwise, in fairness- the sun is way past the yard-arm by now). Partially it’s the roiling blues that feels like someone’s rhythmically stroking your intimate places and you’d have to be in cardiac arrest not to respond. Partially it’s because Neil Fallon is like fine bourbon- rich, smooth, does exactly what you want it to in beautiful fashion immediately and seriously cool. But mainly it’s because Clutch rule.
Phil Anselmo (sporting a fantastic Ghost t-shirt) appears to have been enjoying the Donington hospitality rather enthusiastically, and Pepper and Kirk’s guitars may turn slightly muddy under Festival Sound Syndrome, but Down are still the business. Opening with Hail The Leaf and ripping straight into a barrage of immense songs, they utterly command the stage and your attention. The giant presence that Anselmo projects like a halo doesn’t slip an inch throughout, and even if he’s not quite at his brilliant best vocally, those tremendous songs sound immense.
As the Phil dedicates Lifer to Dimebag as Down always do, the guitars begin to crunch out THAT riff from Walk, to which Phil and the crowd in unison roar “Re! Spect! Walk!” in a moment of spontaneity that’s one of the highlights of the entire day.
The set continues surprisingly without a single song from the stunning Down III, but you can’t argue with any of the stellar stoner classics they put out. The final pairing of Stone The Crow and Bury Me In Smoke are a mite messy as Phil continues to enjoy the Tuborg, and you’ve seen Down better than this, but it’s still fantastic.