With Support From General and Sons Of Icarus
Rock City Nottingham 9th July 2013.
Tonight’s Clutch gig had been hotly anticipated, the nerves were high as I’m a massive fan of this band! I first discovered them through hearing the track “I Have The Body Of John Wilkes Booth” some 3 years ago now. I instantly fell in love with the “killer” guitar riffs and the extraordinary vocals of Neil Fallon! I once got accused of being a Fan Boy, well I say to you, if I wasn’t a fan of music, I wouldn’t be doing this, so rock on Tommy!
Doors opened at approximately 18.30, but I got there early so I could meet our music224 winners, winning 2 tickets to tonight’s show. I have it on good authority that they thoroughly enjoyed the show, so I’m pretty happy about that.
Whilst standing in line, which was already half way down the street, I couldn’t help but get even more excited, but ever the professional, I kept my cool, even in 35 degree heat!
General, were the first of two supporting acts tonight and these guys are from Coventry, consisting of, Grahame – vocals, Tom – drums, Ru – Bass, Dave – Guitar’s and Gaz also on guitars.
After the first 3 songs, I could easily see why General were chosen to support Clutch on the UK leg of the tour. I wouldn’t say the band are heavily influenced by their hero’s, Clutch, but they do have that dirty/grunting guitar sound going on, but that’s where the similarities end. The band generally are your laid back, stoner rock types. So laid back in-fact, I didn’t even get a photo of Dave, as his back was turned most of the time, engrossed in the music, which was a shame, or he’s camera shy? Grahame, however, is the complete opposite and is the perfect front man. I could see the excitement on his face, even between tracks, or during the guitar solo’s, he was posing for the cameras, pulling faces and generally enjoying himself and why not! With so much energy I did struggled to lock focus, but I think you’ll agree, the shots I did get, Grahame’s personality certainly comes through.
Musically, I thought these guys really rocked the house tonight and with Rock City full of spectators, they too showed their appreciation. With so much positive energy being directed towards the band, I truly believe this fueled them to rock harder with every track played. I’ll certainly be buying a copy of their album “Where Are Your Gods Now?”
Set list tonight consisted of: 1. New River 2. Make Or Breakdown 3. Better Dead 4. Hell In Your Eyes 5. Monkey City 6. Bullet Train
Next up were Sons of Icarus, currently they reside in Guildford, but originate from Northamptonshire. Consisting of Andy Masson – vocals/guitar, Steve Balkwill – guitar, Alex Masson – bass/backing vocals and Mike ‘Quilly’ Mcquillan on drums. These guys are still relatively young, but after reading their bio pages, they have already achieved so much. Opening slots at both Download and Sonisphere in 2011, supported some of the best bands in the business and now adding Clutch to their CV, they are certainly a band to watch. I can easily see why these guys were also picked as support for the UK leg, as they too have that stoner rock groove going on, primarily influenced by Steve on the guitar, being fused with their unique blend of classic rock and blues, it certainly makes for a pleasurable listening experience. They too got an excellent reception from tonight’s ever increasing crowd, which was well deserved. New album is on the horizon, so look out for that.
Set list tonight went something like this: 1. ROB 2. Make Amends 3. Not Myself 4. You Want It All 5. Higher
As stated earlier, I am a massive Clutch fan and yet this was my first time watching them live! To be given the opportunity to photograph them tonight was an absolute honour too. If you have never heard of the band Clutch, firstly, why not and secondly, why the hell not!!! Not to pigeon hole the band as a stoner rock band, but they do have elements in their sound, along with American, deep south, traditional rock and roll/blues elements in their too. Surprisingly, home for these guys is Frederick, Maryland which isn’t far from Washington DC! With such a variation to their sound, it has evolved over the years, since they formed way back in 1990.
This tour, which ended tonight, in London, as I write this review, was to showcase their latest album release ‘Earth Rocker’. This incredible body of work has been lovingly and intelligently produced, with every intention to rock your socks off and has been dubbed, by everyone, including the band, as their best album to date. This is no fleeting statement either, especially when you consider this is in fact their tenth studio album! As I sit here, looking at the album, I now see the connection between the art work and the band, someone is clearly a Washington Redskins fan! I’m sure the meaning is deeper, but that’s what I’m going with!
So onto tonight’s main attraction, Clutch, consisting of Neil Fallon – vocals/guitar/cow bell and harmonica, Jean-Paul Gaster – drums, Dan Maines – bass and Tim Sult on lead guitar. after the intro, the band came onto the stage, greeted by an over whelming cheer from the crowd. Seriously, Nottingham must have been a ghost town tonight, as everyone was watching Clutch!
After capturing a few shots, I suddenly found myself singing along to the opening track and album title “Earth Rocker” to be standing in front of Neil Fallon as I’m doing it, with him singing also, was such a great moment in my life, and one I’ll remember for a very long time, however I was there to do a job, so I continued to capture this great event. I say event, as this was much more than your average gig, everyone I’ve spoken to since, has said the same thing. Rock City was the busiest, nosiest and craziest anyone has seen it for a long time, which I find hard to believe given the great acts they have there on a regular basis, but everyone is saying it.
JP on drums, was a true master of facial expressions as he beasted his drum kit. Tim Sult, a true master of his craft, had his head down throughout most of the set, no messing about, just getting the job done, in style! At one point, the crowd were singing so loud, I could barely hear Neil on vocals, even through the stereo system at Rock City, if you’ve been, you’ll know how loud that is, so it just goes to show how loud the crowd were tonight! Neil was being fueled by this fact and to show his appreciation towards everyone, Clutch played an extra track, not originally billed, “One Eye Dollar”. It truly was an incredible show and if you weren’t there, you truly missed something special!
Set List tonight consisted of: 1. Earth Rocker 2. Mr. Freedom 3. D.C Sound Attack 4. Subtle Hustle 5. Crucial Velocity 6. Book, Saddle & Co 7. The Regulator 8. Cyborg Bette 9. The Mob Goes Wild 10. Cypress Groove 11. The Face 12. Unto the Breach 13. Gone Cold 14. The Wolfman (Kindly Requests) 15. Electric Worry 16. One Eye Dollar ENCORE 1. Gravel Road
Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)