Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Wednesday 19 June 2019

A View From The Back Of The Room: Clutch (Live Review By Paul H)

Clutch, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons & Sigiriya, The Great Hall, Cardiff

With vast swathes of the South Wales metal community up to their tits in mud at the annual swamp also known as Download, one of the most loved bands on the circuit made a return to a packed Great Hall for a night which once more demonstrated their class. Clutch had played Download on Friday, and with a week or so gigging around the Euro festival circuit which culminates in a slot at HellFest, the band squeezed in a gig at The Great Hall. Something of a shock, but a welcome one as they obviously could have headed out to their next gigs in Greece a couple of days earlier where I’m sure the weather would have been better than another damp June day in Wales.

With a short five song set, Swansea based Mountain Rock outfit Sigiriya (7) took to the stage as the opening band and to be fair to them, did a sterling job. Formed from the ashes of psychedelic doom merchants Acrimony in 2012, the four-piece led by vocalist Matt Williams cranked out a five-song set list which shook the foundations of the building. Their stoner style went down well, the thick riffs of Stu O’Hara crashing down, as their sonic wall of noise reverberated. A typical Swansea delivery earned a warm response as the venue filled and by the time Whiskey Song was thundering out there was head banging and appreciative nods all around the room. With two albums under their belt and a third due shortly, Sigiriya are a band who are worth a view.

Pontypridd’s favourite son (ignore the LA crooner Jones) will always be one Philip Campbell and since the death of Lemmy and the demise of Motörhead he’s been slowly building momentum with The Bastard Sons (8). Constant gigging and a set list that comprises new songs with classic Motörhead has led the band to get huge support slots with Slash and Gn’R in recent times. As the crowd increased in size, this was inevitably something of a homecoming gig for a band who just deliver the goods time after time. Campbell remains unassuming, allowing his guitar playing to do the talking, except for the odd foray to the microphone. Vocalist Neill Starr holds centre court, all energy and hair but with a voice that is so well suited to the band’s songs. A decent number from The Age of Absurdity were complimented by Born To Raise Hell and a raucous Ace of Spades, whilst Campbell also debuted a solo track, which in all honesty sounded like the majority of the material on offer. Still, any material from Campbell is enjoyable and this was no exception. Some excellent audience participation ensued although it was clear that the crowd was in the main there for the headliners with a lot of the audience unfamiliar with the non-Motörhead material. With a headline gig of their own to come in November at the Tramshed, 2019 is looking like another good year for the Motörhead man and his sons.

As what is probably the largest stage backdrop I have ever seen hung over the stage. Neil Fallon reminded the audience halfway through the gig that Clutch (9) had played TJs in Newport ten years ago, almost to the day. That was my first encounter with the Maryland quartet, and I’ve enjoyed how the band have slowly gained momentum. Now commercially more astute, Clutch have headline quality and it’s no surprise that their UK tours usually sell out. But Clutch possess so much more. An ability to vary their set evening after evening means you rarely get the same set of songs. Opening with Escape From The Prison Planet (from 1995’s eponymous album), Fallon, Tim Sult, Dan Maines and Jean Paul Gaster never miss the opportunity to throw in the obscure and the rare, and as well as seven tracks from 2018’s Book of Bad Decisions and the two from the previous Psychic Warfare release, we were treated to Power Player from 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion, a roaring Willie Nelson from Slow Hole to China, Red Horse from Pure Rock Fury and the Bad Brains influenced Passive Restraints from 1992’s second EP. This delighted the hardcore who now are outnumbered by those sucked in by the success of 2013’s Earth Rocker.

Clutch are consummate musicians although the focal point of the band is always Fallon with his relentless movement, shape throwing and passionate delivery. Gulping water and towelling his head at regular opportunities, Fallon never ceases, and his between song banter is simple and commands respect from the seething throng before him. A set of 80 minutes allowed Clutch to fire through 18 songs and provide excellent value for money and when the house lights came up after a blistering How To Shake Hands there were no complaints.  This was music at its best. If you haven’t encountered Clutch live, you really should. If you don’t like Clutch, then you might want to seek medical help.

No comments:

Post a Comment