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Monday, 15 July 2013

Another Point Of View: Clutch (Review By Paul)

Clutch – HMV Forum

General

Arriving shortly after 7:30pm we entered the Forum on a sweltering London evening to watch opening band General from Coventry deliver a solid  half hour of heavy stoner rock very much in the Down/COC/Orange Goblin style. A strong stage presence commanded your attention and their groove laden tunes soon had appreciative nodding and moving from the early arrivals. Some excellent musicianship was on display and the band, who were apparently invited on the four date UK leg of the Earth Rocker European tour following a chance viewing of their YouTube video Bullet Train, made sure that they took the most of the opportunity. A number of tracks from their debut album, Where Are Your Gods Now? were aired and it would be fair to say that, given I knew nothing about them; they were a welcome addition to the night. 7/10

Sons Of Icarus

Whilst I’d never heard of General, the name Sons of Icarus was familiar to me, although not their music. A bit of internet research told me that they had won a Marshall Amplifiers Ultimate band competition in 2010 and I recalled them being at both Download and Sonisphere in recent years. Musically Sons of Icarus are more of a straight down the line rock band, very much in the mould of The Answer but with a Soundgarden edge. Indeed, at times, lead singer Andy Mason’s sound certainly made me think very much of Chris Cornell. They played all the tracks from their EP You Want It All, with the stand out track Sick To The Teeth featuring some sterling lead guitar from Steve Balkwill. Sons of Icarus received an extremely warm response from the audience and these guys are well worth a listen; most certainly ones to watch for over the next few years and a great choice of support. 8/10

Clutch

What can you say about Clutch? Underground favourites for so long, I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like them. You want tunes? These guys have got tunes. You want aggression? Man, the mosh pit was ferocious. You want musicianship of the highest order? Yeah, they are called Tim Sult, Dan Maines and Jean-Paul Gaster. This band is no-nonsense rock at its finest. Show piecing the latest album Earth Rocker, the band opened with the tile track before launching into a further six tracks from it in succession. Not many bands could get away with that but this was Clutch and the crowd loved it, screaming along to every word, pitting and jumping throughout the gig. Neil Fallon is so many things; a poet, lyricist, ringmaster and antagonist but he is also genuinely humble and appeared quite overwhelmed at times at both the reaction and the fact that the Forum was totally sold out. This is the same band who have played TJs and Pontypridd Municipal Hall in recent years … how they have progressed is a joy to see. Clutch then launched into a raft of older tracks including Burning Beard, a quite stunning The Regulator followed by my favourite, Pure Rock Fury which it certainly was. Neil Fallon always commands the attention but Clutch are a cohesive unit who drive each other along. Tim Sult’s guitar playing is quite breath-taking at times whilst Maines and Gaster lay down a beat so solid and heavy your fillings rattle. The main set closed with three more new songs. Yes, that was ten in total. A brave move and one that totally warranted the reaction received. The new songs are quite simply some of the best stuff Clutch have ever done and the slow paced Gone Cold confirmed this. A storming encore of The Mob Goes Wild and Electric Worry/One Eye Dollar concluded the evening. Soaking wet and emotionally exhausted, and evening with Clutch continues to be entertainment of the highest quality. Maybe next time a visit to these parts would be included? We can but hope. 10/10

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