Clutch

support Sons Of Icarus
author IM date 09/07/13 venue Nottingham Rock City, Nottingham, UK

Following the incredibly anticipated release of Earth Rocker earlier this year, hailed by the UK’s Classic Rock magazine as “album of the year,” Clutch continue to go from strength to strength. Following a well-received opening set by Guilford hard rock quartet, Sons of Icarus, the anticipation at Nottingham’s Rock City rapidly became electric. With a huge cult following and sold out date after sold out date, it’s no surprise that the cavernous Rock City was packed to the walls, with checked shirts, Down or Jack Daniels t-shirts and dreadlocks being the most popular ensemble of choice.

Clutch

Kicking off with the single and title track from the latest album, “Earth Rocker,” the crowd instantly went wild. Neil Fallon cavorted across the stage with all the enthusiasm of a method actor, being chased by a very angry wasp. Without pausing for breath, Clutch rapidly moved on to subsequent “Earth Rocker” tracks “Mr Freedom” and “DC Sound Attack,” the roar of the crowds affirming how well received Clutch’s latest studio release has been. The momentum continued to build, culminating in widespread enthusiasm from the exuberant crowds in response to ever popular “Blast Tyrant” number, “Subtle Hustle.” Calm and collected as ever, Tim Sult’s guitar playing provided an excellent foundation for the show, as he effortlessly strummed his cherry red Gibson SG, whilst Jean Paul Gaster showed such wild enthusiasm in his animated drumming style that he was virtually dancing throughout the set.

Whilst widely hailed as iconic veterans of stoner rock, Clutch exude an unrivalled energy when performing live. A song title which could be said to epitomise Clutch’s ambience as a whole, “Crucial Velocity” built up with such momentum that had Clutch played with any more enthusiasm, they would have been propelled into outer space. Continuing with another Earth Rocker favourite, “Book, Saddle & Go,” one can only wonder how it is physically possible for a band to exude such vibrancy and vigour for a continually uninterrupted period of time.

Not leaving the best ‘till last, the one track every fan had been waiting to hear, the one track which even those who don’t really like Clutch begrudgingly agree is ‘quite good’ followed. Neil Fallon, with guitar in hand, returned for an electrifying performance of “The Regulator.” A far cry from the stoner rock campfire anthems one would associate with the genre in question, Clutch’s rendition of “The Regulator” was delivered with a more raw and aggressive tone than the sleazy bluesy style of the album version.

A throwback to the ever-popular “Blast Tyrant” followed with performances of “The Mob Goes Wild,” - which prompted a very wild moshpit, with legs and dreadlocks flying past at momentary intervals - and “Cypress Grove.” Continuing with a return to “Earth Rocker,” Tim Sult re-emerged from the back of the stage, carrying an acoustic guitar, prompting a spontaneous roar from the audience, which had clearly concluded that “Gone Cold” was about to follow. Easily the best track from “Earth Rocker,” “Gone Cold” epitomises the bluesy, chilled out vibe of stoner rock, which makes it such a popular choice as a soundtrack for such a variety of relaxation activities. Interestingly, “Gone Cold” actually prompted a greater response from the crowd than “The Regulator” on this occasion. Not only are Clutch purported to have released the ‘album of the year’ with “Earth Rocker”, but they may also have excelled themselves and provided loyal fans with a new anthem.

Clutch concluded their main set with a couple of older tracks, such as 2007’s “Electric Worry” off “From Beale Street to Oblivion” and the most historic track of the evening, 1999’s “One Eyed Dollar” from “Jam Room.” With a set list of four tracks from “Blast Tyrant,” three from other assorted releases and the entirety of “Earth Rocker,” with the exception of “Oh Isabella,” it’s clear to see that Clutch’s most crowd-pleasing tracks are those resulting from their work with producer, ‘Machine.’

Clutch concluded their energetic performance with an incredible encore of “Robot Hive/Exodus” track “Gravel Road.” It’s very easy to see why Clutch have such a Cult following. With an unbelievable enthusiasm and energy and irresistibly catchy tracks dating back over two decades, it’s abundantly evident that Clutch are gaining velocity, not losing popularity.

8

Set list

  • Earth Rocker
  • Mr Freedom
  • D C Sound Attack
  • Subtle Hustle
  • Crucial Velocity
  • Book, Saddle & Go
  • The Regulator
  • Cyborg Bette
  • The Mob Goes Wild
  • Cypress Grove
  • The Face
  • Unto the Breach
  • Gone Cold
  • The Wolf Man Kindly Requests
  • Electric Worry
  • One Eye Dollar

Encore

  • Gravel Road

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