American rock band Clutch played the Liquid Room in Edinburgh with support from Lionize last night as part of their current UK tour. Review by Stuart Iversen
There are times when a support band just makes perfect sense. Lionize going out on tour with Clutch is one of those times. Hailing from America and playing blues fuelled rock and roll, tonight’s headliners are an obvious influence. With that in mind, it is no surprise that they go down well and the crowd quickly warms to them. In vocalist/guitarist Nate Bergman, they have a charismatic focal point and their funk-filled riffs make sure that they receive a rapturous response when they leave the stage.
It’s easy to forget that Clutch’s debut album came out in 1993. It makes it all the more incredible that this band could be said to be at the top of their game, with last year’s Earth Rocker arguably being one of their best albums. This energy easily transfers itself into their live show and as they stride on stage in front of a sold out, and very sweaty, Liquid Room, they are greeted like returning heroes, before they launch into ‘Gravel Road’.
From there on the music just keeps coming and Clutch’s brand of funky, bluesy rock and roll has everyone in the venue moving. This music sounds like it comes straight from the swamp and on tracks like ‘Gone Cold’ you feel like you are being pulled out onto the bayou. Neil Fallon is on fantastic form and as he prowls the stage on new tracks like ‘Earth Rocker’, he looks like a man possessed.
His lyrics are still mainly nonsense, with references to Time Lords mixed up with lines like “lobsterbacks attack the town again, wrap all my things in aluminium” but none of that matters when the songs are this good. Behind him, Jean-Paul Gaster can lay claim to being one of the best drummers in the world and without him and bassist Dan Maines the whole thing would fall apart. All of this is before you even mention the riffs that populate every track they play, with Tim Suit imbibing each one with more groove than should be possible or maybe even legal.
It says a lot about the band’s faith in the new material that it makes up a large part of the set. New tracks like ‘Crucial Velocity’ stand easily next to classics like ‘The Mob Goes Wild’. While ‘Unto the Breach’ and ‘D.C. Sound Attack!’ take up two of the three spots in the encore, before they see us out with ’50,000 Unstoppable Watts’.
Clutch are one of those bands that just seem to keep getting better with age. Twenty-one years on from their initial appearance, nights like this one can only make you hopeful that they keep going for another two decades.
More Clutch tour dates:
7 May: O2 ABC, Glasgow
8 May: The Limelight, Belfast