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Clutch

o2 Institute Birmingham 16.12.16

WOW, two gigs in Birmingham in two weeks – I must be desperate to review a live show, especially after the nightmare I had getting into Birmingham last week! Truth is, we got invited to interview the amazing Valient Thorr (thanks Napalm Records) and these guys are insanely good live and their music speaks volumes! More on them in a bit, along with our interview link.
Valient - Valient Thorr

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, up until recently, tonight’s venue in Birmingham, known as ‘The Institute’ was called just that but got re-branded as part of the o2 franchise, so I can be forgiven for going to the o2 Academy right, right? No, I’m a douche and should have read the details right! I did manage to get to the correct venue in time to interview the band and I even got invited up to watch sound check!

Being my first time here, I was slightly dubious and didn’t quite know what to expect – this place is massive and like a rabbit warren so you could easily get lost here. The main room, where tonight’s gig was being held is great and I’m pretty sure that once upon a time it use to be a grand theatre, complete with overhead viewing galleries which are still accessible and does give the spectator a great view point. Being a theatre, the acoustics in the room are great too! Apparently, the lighting here can be a little hit and miss but although there was a lot of smoke, I had no complaints about the lighting tonight, which is a rarity and some what of a relief, seeing as getting here is a complete ball ache!

With our interview all wrapped up with Valient Thorr, it was time to get ready for Lionize who were up first. We’re familiar with these guys as we first saw them on Metal HammersLord of the Riffs Tour II’ which is where we also discovered Planet of Zeus, incidentally (amazing band).

A little about Lionize, they’ve been around a long time and are multi diverse in their musical style. Their early stuff is very reggae orientated but as they’ve developed, their style has become less reggae and more rock. A contributing factor may be the fact that they were signed to Clutch’s record label, but it now states that they’re on their own label ‘Wheatons Finest Music’? As stated last time, we prefer the bands earlier material however, tonight’s performance was fun though, almost as fun as Nate’s stage outfit – almost! Wow!
Lionize

Valient Thorr however, are now my new favourite band to watch live! These guys are a group of energetic, talented musicians, who are intelligent and seriously passionate about the music they produce. They are also a lot of fun and don’t appear to take life too seriously. Now on their seventh album ‘Old Salt’ which was released in July and is a great body of work that they’ve only just toured in Europe and the UK. From what we can gather, these guys maybe gearing up to tour the US in 2017, so fans over there need to check these guys out, should they come rolling into your home town.
Storm Thorr - Valient Thorr

I also get the impression after talking to these guys in our interview, that this group are constantly creating new music, so I doubt we’ll have to wait too long before they release new material. Also, now knowing the kind of bands these guys tend to tour with, here in the UK, the likes of Mastodon, for example, I don’t think we’ll have too long a wait either before they grace our shores again! Watch the interview with Valient Thorr.

We last saw Clutch back in 2013 in Nottingham, when they first started touring the release of their most commercially viable album to date ‘Earth Rocker’. Since then, the band have been back here every year and have also been able to release another albumPsychic Warfare’ which includes the hit new singleXray Visions’ which we love. According to Spotify, the band have also released a lot of their older albums this year, such as ‘La Curandera’- I may be wrong, but I’m sure this is older material, feel free to correct me if I am!
Clutch

Now, back in 2013, I immediately got the impression that Clutch are a band who like to get on with a set with little or no interaction with the crowd, which is fair when you consider the number of tracks they cram into it. Some say Neil is a great front man, which we agree with, but the rest of the band are very much in the moment, especially Dan and Tim! Tonight was very different to that show back in 2013 and a complete contradiction to peoples general consensus! Neil literally lived up to his ‘great front man’ status! The rest of the band did what they are meant to do, perform like a unit and allow their front man to entertain the crowd!
Neil Fallon - Clutch

And what a crowd too – the venue was nearly at capacity, so you could say it was a sell out! Trying to take pictures was hard though, I’ve never found it difficult to stand up whilst photographing a gig before but the bass from Jean-Paul’s kick drum was so strong, it proved a challenge but one I was willing to accept mind!
Jean Paul Gastor - Clutch

We love this band and everything they do, so tonight’s biggest achievement was that we managed to actually say hello to Neil Fallon in the corridor on the way to Valient Thorr’s dressing room and he even said hello back… I know it’s wrong, but everyone’s allowed a fan-boy moment.

This was my last gig of 2016, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the bands, venues, promoters and most importantly our readers and I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! See you in 2017!
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Clutch

With Support from Lionize.

Rock City, Nottingham 3rd May 2014.

I must confess that Clutch are a band that I have not paid much attention too and have only recently bought their latest album ‘Earth Rocker’. After tonight’s gig I am going to beat myself severely for not getting into them from an earlier age. From the start to the bitter end of the night I was sucked into the awesomeness that is Clutch.

Clutch

Imagine all of the rock genres cast into one melting pot, Clutch will satisfy the demands of all rock fans. From blues rock to stoner rock to post-hardcore, from metal to grunge, it’s all in there. These American rockers from Maryland really pack a punch on stage.

Neil Fallon - Clutch.

Without a doubt the raw growling vocals of Neil Fallon sets Clutch apart from the pack. For the first couple of songs he played his guitar well, but this was soon put aside to unleash his full animated power of noise. Like an untamed bearded animal Fallon was here there and everywhere commanding whoops and holler’s from the packed out cult-following crowd with many of the chaps sporting equally impressive beards!

Neil Fallon - Clutch

Combine the magnificent guitar work of Tim Sult, thumping bass lines from Dan Maines and Jean-Paul Gaster’s epic drumming and you have an infectious mix of rock that has me now thoroughly converted to the temple of Clutch.

Tim Sault - Clutch

Fellow Marylanders Lionize opened the night winning an appreciative response from the early doors crowd. With a prog style synthesizer keyboard embedded in their groove-heavy hard bluesy rock repertoire, Lionize had no difficulty in warming up the audience with a wildly addictive set. Add in reggae-rock undertones and a great unique sound emerges.

Lionize

With Nate Bergman on vocals and guitars, Mel Randolph on drums, Henry Upton on bass and vocals, and Chris Brooks on keyboards and vocals, Lionize have just released their newest album ‘Jetpack Soundtrack’. I can easily see how they compliment Clutch on tour and will definitely look out for them again when they come back to the UK.

Nate Bergman - Lionize

To see more photos from the night, click HERE

Words and photography by Stephen Turner.

Clutch

Clutch

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.

General

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.

Andy Masson - Sons Of Icarus

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.

Neil Fallon - Clutch

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!

Dan Maines - Clutch

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!

Tim Sult - 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.

Jean-Paul Gaster - Clutch

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)