Clutch

support Greenleaf + Bombus
author BV date 04/12/15 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

When I think hard about it, I can’t genuinely remember why or how it is even remotely possible that I have not managed to see Clutch perform until now. After all, their skills as a live band are practically undisputed and with a wide array of great material in their discography chances are that a live show of theirs would most likely be quite the spectacle. Nonetheless this would be my first time experiencing them firsthand – and experience I’ll have to admit I probably wouldn’t have seized if it weren’t for the two supporting acts whose prowess have also been lauded in recent times. As I entered Store Vega I prepared myself for an onslaught of rock.

Photos courtesy of Stefan thor Straten

Greenleaf

The first band of the evening would turn out to be Greenleaf, hailing from Borlänge, Sweden. That these dudes would take the stage as the first act was a joyous surprise to me, as I had been waiting patiently to finally get to watch them live – meaning that my patience would finally pay off so early on in the evening. As the quartet to the stage only a small crowd had gathered near the front awaiting riffs galore. However, as Greenleaf slowly but steadily worked their way through their first track more people would seem to rush in from the bar – showcasing that even the hesitant were won over with relative ease. There’s no reason they wouldn’t be though, when vocalist Arvid Jonsson energetically roared through the room, slicing through the thick-sounding bass grooves and the piercing guitar riffs. Although the volume was initially way too low, Greenleaf soon reached an appropriate volume and thus began rocking even further. Guitarist Tommi Holappa was a force of nature to behold – rocking around like a god damn maniac whilst churning out crunchy riff after crunchy riff. When the band then suddenly stopped playing to let Jonsson’s vocals roar through the venue alone, it was a genuinely beautiful moment. Normally a situation like this would herald at least some sporadic murmuring, but this was largely avoided. It’s a rare feat indeed, since Jonsson doesn’t exactly have a beautiful voice per se – but he certainly possesses charisma, which will inevitably go a long way when crafting a concert experience. Thumbs up to Greenleaf and their 30-minute support slot. That’s how you get a crowd warmed up.

8

Bombus

Next up on the lineup was Bombus hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden. Straying a bit from the previous musical formula of Greenleaf, Bombus added a heavier musical spectrum to the night’s musical palette. Praised wildly by my colleague Aleksi “AP” Pertola, I had anticipated Bombus’ performance and had, to be honest, expected something amazing – thus probably gearing up my expectations a bit. What I was met with was a slightly different impression. Although the quartet certainly had the heaviness and the solid riffing down, I felt as if there wasn’t all that much memorable material in between walls of distortion. From what I gathered, Bombus played some new(ish) material on the night and these songs did showcase some kind of variation from what had appeared previously in their set. The shared vocals of the guitarists was a cool feature which added a lot to the overall vibe of the show. Bombus are clearly skilled musicians, which was showcased in set highlight “Into the Fire” – a song fueled by a single powerful riff and the almost ritualistically chanted “Into the fire”. Although Bombus did not exactly meet my expectations, they still put on a downright solid performance which didn’t detract from the night as a whole. Maybe I’ll give them another go at another time. Only time will tell.

7

Clutch

As the lights dimmed and Clutch finally took the stage, it was evident from the get-go that they were in full control of the room. Led by the manic stage presence of front-man Neil Fallon, Clutch launched into the powerful album opener off of “Psychic Warfare”, the aptly titled “X-ray Visions” to wild applause. Followed immediately by “Firebirds!” and “Decapitation Blues” it was entirely evident that this night would prominently feature content from the band’s most recent album, something that I can honestly not hold against Clutch as I genuinely believe the material is on par with most of what they have previously released. However, as the band launched into “Earth Rocker” it was obvious that the crowd kicked up the cheering more than a single notch as it briefly escalated to mild euphoria. Guitarist Tim Sult remained a stoic riff-machine throughout as he churned out one excellent riff after another – occasionally supported by Neil Fallon providing some cool, bluesy guitar tones.

With “Sucker for the Witch” the vibe of the room neared that of a great house-party with people getting more and more rowdy by the minute, whilst Jean-Paul Gaster and Dan Maines provided low-end grooves for people to get down to. “Our Lady of Electric Light” was the odd one out on the night’s setlist with its gloomy mood, tremolo guitar and generally low tempo. It was a well-deserved break from being an attention-grabbing front-man for Neil Fallon, however, as he could retreat briefly into the role of a laid-back rhythm guitarist with brief, but excellent, vocal duties throughout the rather lengthy track. With “Son of Virginia” Clutch’s main set peaked (and ended) before they left the stage only to return for two encores. What it all comes down to then, is that my first experience with Clutch in the live setting was indeed an amazing one – if you haven’t tried it yet, then treat yourself to a dosage of Clutch.

Setlist:

  • 01. X-Ray Visions
  • 02. Firebirds!
  • 03. Decapitation Blues
  • 04. Earth Rocker
  • 05. The Mob Goes Wild
  • 06. A Quick Death in Texas
  • 07. The Regulator
  • 08. The Dragonfly
  • 09. Sucker for the Witch
  • 10. Behold the Colossus
  • 11. Your Love is Incarceration
  • 12. Our Lady of Electric Light
  • 13. Noble Savage
  • 14. The Face
  • 15. Son of Virginia

—Encore—

  • 16. Gravel Road
  • 17. The Wolf Man Kindly Requests

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