Live Review: Clutch - Rock City
Review by Cat Finch
It used to be, that it wasn’t Christmas until Noddy Holder said so. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, maybe into the 90’s when you heard the Black Country accent screaming “IT’S CHRISTMASSSSS” you knew the time had nearly come. These days the world has moved on, the youth of today… do they even know who Noddy Holder is?
For today’s generation the signifier that Christmas is here is Clutch coming to town. Neil Fallon and his band merry men now make a UK tour at Christmas a tradition and it’s only once you have had a sing along to ‘Electric Worry’ that Christmas is really here.
The 2019 edition of the Clutch Christmas tour rolled in the UK leading up to Christmas finishing at Rock City the Friday before the big day. The Razor’s Edge headed down to the UK’s best rock venue for some Christmas drinks and to enjoy what had the potential to be the show of the year.
Opening act on the evening were Kamchatka an intriguing rock and blues trio from Sweden. Part of the joy’s of a Clutch show, especially this time of the year, is the gift the band likes to give; the gift of helping us all discover wonderful new music. Clutch are great at bringing little known bands out on the road with them and giving them the exposure they deserve. Kamchatka fit this bill perfectly with their blues fueled rock sound warming the room up a treat.
Graveyard on paper should be a similar band, describing themselves as classic heavy rock, blues, psychedelia. But on stage they are completely different. Bathed in a dark blue light they lack the pace and gusto that Kamchatka brought with them. Graveyard are focused on their sound, it’s near perfection to the way they describe themselves, but the low energy, almost lethargic performance doesn’t quite get you in that Christmas party mood.
With formalities out of the way it is now time for Clutch to kick start this party. The band have always had a self confidence in their recorded work, they believe in their music passionately and the opening segment of the set is a tribute to their latest album. Three numbers from ‘Book of Bad Decisions’ in ‘How To Shake hands’, ‘Ghoul Wrangler’ and ‘H.B. Is In Control’ start things off. Resulting in the crowd getting their groove on from the start, the so called “mosh pit” a seething mass of sweaty bodies moving in time to the beat.
The band offer a no frills approach to live performance. The don’t have any bangs, flashy lazers or pyrotechnics. The music does the talking through the epic ‘Escape From the Prison Planet’ and ‘Space Grass’.
At the half way point the, the room already sweltering, the band turn up the heat; ‘X-Ray Visions’ leads into ‘Firebirds’ and ‘The Soapmakers’. As is oft the case, Clutch bring out a keyboardist from one of the support acts to help with ‘10001110101’ and Per Wiberg of Kamchatka gets the stage time. ‘Ghosts’ also features Per’s band mate Thomas on acoustic guitar before its time to wrap up the show.
No Clutch show is complete without ‘Electric Worry’ and that forms part of tonight’s encore, 3000 in attendance singing along. The finale is Creedence Clearwater Revival song ‘Fortunate Son’ which, with Clutch’s energy, is an absolute belter live and the perfect way to round out the evening.
Clutch prove yet again they are on top of their game, and we can’t wait to see them return next summer for a three day residency at Ramblin’ Man Fair.
If there is one thing to remember this time of year… it’s not Christmas until Neil Fallon says so!