Photos by: Dhruv Kumar
Words by: Kunal Singh
Huntington, NY. Tuesday night in Long Island, after what’s been a dismal few weeks of extreme heat and humidity. The night is perfect for a concert in a respected venue to just let off some steam and enjoy your fellow concert goers, and experience a concert of passionate and groove heavy music.
Up first is the New York City native punk band Cro-Mags. With five studio efforts and an incredibly dedicated cult following, Lead man and bassist Harley Flanagan took to the stage with his band including Gabby Abularach on guitar, Rocky George on lead guitar, and drummer Garry Sullivan. A very hard edge punk showing, the music was fast, hard hitting, and exactly what the crowd needed. There were a few moments of heart pounding grit, along with some good old moshing. All in all, despite the weird back lighting, this was a solid and impressive show from NYC’s lovelies.
The next act was none other than Clutch, from Germantown, MD. Touring around after an impressive 12 studio albums along with one-offs and live albums, the band is still at it, since 1991. Clutch played a nonstop set of no less than 16 songs this night. Opening with their lead singer Neil Fallon donning the guitar with his trusty slide, the band launched into “Gravel Road” with no hesitation. The Clutch faithful were definitely in the house this night. The swaying back and forth to their wonderful blend on Groove Rock and Classic Rock styles was infectious the entire time. Following with their 2018 effort Book of Bad Decisions, they launched into their first track of said album with “Gimme the Keys” and really brought their sound to life. While this was my first time seeing Clutch live, I was made to feel like part of a community by all the people dancing and singing along, making me move with them. Lead guitar player Tim Sult was recognizably having a great time, as he was smiling ear to ear throughout the songs. Their sound was done quite well at The Paramount, and I’d believe that’s part of the reason this band performed so well. Their bassist and drummer, Dan Maines and Jean-Paul Gaster respectively, were locked in solidly the whole time.
After a few more songs, Fallon asked the audience “who here likes ZZ Top?,” and proclaimed anyone that doesn’t has problems. It was a good change of pace, yet a perfect cover for this band. ZZ Top is well established as one of the best bands on earth for rhythm and songwriting, and Clutch played their hit “Precious and Grace” for the Huntington Audience. After their 2015 single “Sucker for the Witch” they announced their next song in honor of one of their favorite songwriters, “Willie Nelson” as the fans were deeply involved with their music. Clutch decided on ending their set with a cover of the band Cactus’ song “Evil” this Tuesday night. This is what I believe is the first time this was the set closer. Clutch put on such a great show, lots of love for the audience and respect for the bands and songwriters who came before them, that one can’t help but absolutely fall in love with this band’s music and style!
Gimme the Keys
How to Shake Hands
Red Horse Rainbow
A Shogun Named Marcus
El Jefe Speaks
Precious and Grace
Sucker for the Witch
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Then, after a brief break of house music and some shouts from the audience, Killswitch Engage took to the forefront. Wasting absolutely no time, they hit us with “Strength of Mind,” directly into “This Fire” with pure energy and purpose. This night was special indeed. The Westfield, MA metalcore band came with a purpose and they did not falter. After their set last May at Terminal 5, the boys came to play. While the Terminal 5 show was fantastic, this show was even better, in every way. Lead singer Jesse Leach was sick for the May show and the band joked about how he was doing too many “favors” for truckers on the road and that’s why his throat was hoarse. But this show was absolutely a step up from their last NY effort. The KSE devoted were in full force, as we were all singing along with the band, every chorus a giant release for fans of this band of 20 years. Their fifth song of the night was the moniker of Leach’s tattoo “I Am Broken Too” and this was probably my favorite track of the night. The people next to me, all friends of the band, were emotional as this song reverberated throughout the venue. KSE had a good light show yet again, with some very tasteful uses of greens, blues, and red lighting to fit the moods of their songs. “My Last Serenade” was a huge highlight of the evening, as the instantly grasping chorus of the audience was at times louder than the band. That’s an equally impressive feat from the audience, as matching the energy of these incredible musicians as they ran all over the stage, headbanging, jumping and engaging the audience the whole time is no easy task. What a great audience this was!
Circle pit going, crowd surfing, arms in the air, this night was meant to be a glorious campaign of honest, fulfilling music. However, there was a small stain on the evening, right behind me and the aforementioned friends of the band. Just behind Press and Photo, a small fight broke out between two men, with the altercation spilling into the fans, even falling on a woman trying to get out of the way. This was an unnecessary display of stupidity during what should have been a night of celebration. Security eventually broke the fight up, after handling 3 crowd surfers, which resulted in a delayed response. Thankfully the parties were separated and I believe ejected from the audience, and we were able to get back to enjoying this outstanding effort by the New England warriors of KSE.
After “The End of Heartache” and “In Due Time” KSE thanked the audience, Clutch, The Cro-Mags, and everyone involved for the love and dedication. They put on one Hell of a show and closed with their notable and always impressive cover of the legendary Ronnie James Dio song “Holy Diver” for the NY crowd. Killswitch Engage is Jesse Leach on vocals, Joel Stroetzel on rhythm guitar and vocals, Mike D’Antonio on bass, Adam Dutkiewicz on lead guitar and vocals, and Justin Foley on drums.
Strength of the Mind
The Arms of Sorrow
I Am Broken Too
Alone I Stand
Beyond the Flames
Hate by Design
My Last Serenade
This Is Absolution
Rose of Sharyn
The End of Heartache
In Due Time