We have said it already but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying it again. 2016 has been an incredible year for music. Record after record hitting the shelves & tour after tour rolling through our cities and we have been there right with you guys reaping the benefits as our music collections and gig ticket stub collection gets bigger whilst our wallets get emptier. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
With that in mind, it only feels right that the last show of the year for us is an absolute belter. A cold Thursday night in one of our favorite venues hosts the return of Clutch a band that have been leading the way in rock for quite some time. The last time we saw the band hit the UK, they were relocated from Shepherds Bush Empire due to the ceiling falling to bits. Instead they would go on to play Brixton Academy. Whilst the show was nothing short of great, this return to The Roundhouse can only be described as the best Clutch show you have ever seen turned all the way up to 10.
To start things off though, we have to say it. There are two fantastic support bands joining the mix tonight
and they both bring their own sounds and styles to the stage. It all begins with Maryland’s very own Lionize. Upon first glance, we personally would have put Lionize as main support for Clutch for they are all things rock and roll and it is very easy to hear the influence tonight’s headliners have within their sound. Lead singer and guitarist Nate Bergman appears on stage in his trippy t-shirt and sweat pants that looks like it came straight from the 80s right before greeting the early crowd by saying that the band just couldn't resist one more trip to the UK before the year was out! Well, what can we say other than we are glad they decided upon that. From start to finish it is groovy rock and roll and, exactly what you'd expect from a support band at a clutch show. The fact that we have Lionize as that very support is just perfect. Clutch’s very own Tim Sult himself joined the band on stage for a couple of songs and its at this point everyone on the stage and everyone in the crowd really start to enjoy themselves. It's a short set as expected. But one that fit nicely flowed well and brought the rock perfectly.
The last memory we have of Valient Thor is in a hot sweaty and smelly tent in somewhere in France back in 2010. It’s a hazy alcohol fuelled day before Hellfest 20120 begins of which the finer details slip us by. Ok maybe not, the details are as clear as day and will never ever be repeated by those who were there. Regardless it was interesting to see how the band had grown six years later on a much bigger stage. Well we can wholeheartedly say that if you weren't in the mood for a fucking party then this band would have surely put you in that mood by the time the set was done. There's not a member of the band onstage not losing his shit to their set which pile drives each and every person in the room. This is a band who just turned things up a notch and looked as if they loved every second of it. Thursday night beers are flowing and so is the fast and energetic rock and roll of Valient Thor. Mr Valient himself Talks of robots living among us as well as other things right before he fires the crowd up. "Maybe you don't know who the fuck we are but you came to see one of your favorite bands. We are talking about motherfucking CLUTCH" and thus ensues the huge cheers for the band everyone is indeed here to see!
It only takes about 4 songs for us to realise just how good Clutch are sounding these days. Like a fine wine this band has only gotten better with age and that's saying something when you consider just how good they have consistently been since day one. Neil Fallon absolutely owns the stage but has no problem standing to the side as his band showcases their musicianship. It's almost become his signature stage move. Tim Sult is his usual fantastic self effortlessly laying down some of Clutches best guitar licks as the band make their way through a star studded set list. ‘Mob Goes Wild’, ‘Struck Down’ and ‘50 Thousand Unstoppable Watts’ are all within the first half of the set (they’re actually the very first 3 songs!) Not forgetting that this tour is in support of the bands latest album ‘Psychic Warfare’ The band make their way through a number of the albums stand out tracks including ‘Firebirds’ & ‘X-ray Visions’ with the latter forming part of their two song encore. Its safe to say that the new material is sounding killer live as it also elicits a great crowd reaction with sing-a-longs galore. Fans of Lionize in the room were also treated to an appearance by Chris Brooks as he took to the keyboards for the second time in one night as he guests on ‘10001110101’ and ‘Escape From The Prison Planet’ adding to what has been one of the best set lists for a London crowd that we can remember.
We were fortunate to interview Tim from Clutch a few days later after this show where he expressed that it was possibly the best show Clutch have EVER played. We would quite happily counter that by saying that we think its possibly the best we have ever seen Clutch and if you missed it, you absolutely missed something special.
Be sure to check out our interview with Tim coming soon!