It’s the 22nd of December, its cold, grey and damp, but Christmas is just around the corner. We join a large queue snaking down the road, waiting to see a man with a big beard bearing gifts for us all. The excitement is palpable as the queue begins to move, it’s nearly time!
Of course that man with the beard is Neil Fallon, and he gives us the gift of music in the form of Clutch as they roll into town for the final date of a sold out UK tour, their biggest yet of their 27 year career.
Opening the evening are a quirky French Duo that go by the name of The Inspector Cluzo. Delivering a mix of classic rock and roll, funk and whole heap of soul with a French twist to top it all off. Lyrically they
deliver a strong and poignant political message, potentially lost on an audience not familiar with French current affairs, but that doesn’t matter as most are already swept up in the musical performance. It’s a cracking start to the show and certainly gets the crowd moving early doors.
The Picturebooks are the second quirky duo on tonight’s bill. The pair from the depths of Northern Germany have a very different take on the guitar/drum combo from the openers. Driven by the heavy beat of Philipp’s drums they deliver out and out hard rock with an element of blues. Philipp’s beat has the crowd mesmerised whilst Fynn’s vocals and catchy riffs get the crowd moving. An energetic assault on the senses for a good half an hour.
Alas though, it’s Clutch who the 2500 of us have come to see tonight. In the shadows of the darkened stage Dan Maines, Jean-Paul Gaster and Tim Sult take up their respective spots. The crowds volume rises as the intro rolls and the lights slowly lift as our bearded man bearing gifts, Neil Fallon, emerges raising a finger to the crowd in acknowledgement of their welcome.
Straight from the off the ever so successful Clutch formula comes to the fore. Opening with ‘Weird Times’ from their new album delivering that trademark Clutch blues heavy rock. Fallon the inimitable frontman paces across the stage producing a performance of calm, calculated perfection.
Sult’s guitar licks control the direction of the band throughout more songs from the new album; ‘Ghoul Ranger’, ‘How To Shake Hands’ and ‘Spirit of ‘76’. In all nine of the twelve tracks from Book of Bad
Decisions feature, rightly so as it has proven an instant hit. But it’s not just about the new album as classic Clutch tunes also feature.
As the band reach the hour mark the crowd really start moving, when for any other band the crowd would be waning. ‘Firebird’ has the crowd dancing and singer louder than before, Fallon a huge smile across his face witnessing the growing following in the Clutch faith.
The encore rolls out some true favourites, ‘ The Regulator’, ultimate classic ‘Electric Worry’ and more recent hit ‘X-Ray Visions’. Truly the ultimate end to the ultimate rock and roll show.
Clutch have been touring for nearly three decades now, and they just get better with age. The now traditional Christmas Clutch tour never fails to produce, proving once and for all that you can improve on perfection and that perfection is CLUTCH!