with The Fumes

After an impressive showing at the Soundwave Festival a few days prior this was a gig that promised much and for the most part delivered. After negotiating a carpark/backdoor entrance to the Factory Theatre it quickly became apparent that this wasn't a gig for pale indie kids. Clutch fans are generally large males with a decidedly metal/punk/rocker fashion aesthetic.


Local lads The Fumes were battling some sound issues early but overcame most of them with their stripped back blues rock. Firmly in the tradition of The Black Keys they keep it raw and relaxed and developed a fun rapport with the audience. It was a pretty wise support choice to get the punters in the mood for Clutch.


Swaggering onstage and declaring that he had a killer hangover, frontman Neil Fallon proceeded to command the stage with his barks and bellows for near on two hours. A perfect hangover remedy by the look of things.


Their last album Strange Cousins From The West got a good airing with the pummelling '50,000 Unstoppable Watts' an early highlight.


The sound mix was near on perfect with each instrument crisp and clear, super loud without being too loud. Amazingly Fallon's voice was crystal clear on top of the rock solid riffing of the rest of the band.


One criticism was the propensity for drum solos, if you are going to do one then make it good, make it short and only do it once.


Everyone clearly acknowledged how great a drummer Jean-Paul Gaster is, without the need for multiple spotlit solos.


Song after song were churned out by the band with clinical precision. The sing-a-long choruses of 'Mice And Gods', 'The Mob Goes Wild' and 'Power Player' were all sung with fists in the air, especially the latter's line "I'm not giving you attitude, I just want another drink."


Many would raise their nose at Clutch's somewhat primal lyrics but they use them in such an emphatic way that you can't help but nod and sing along.


One thing that makes Clutch stand out from many of the other stoner rock bands out there is the way they manage to incorporate blues, metal, rock and funk into one single slab of music. Tellingly their intro music was heavy funk track while Ice Cube sound tracked our shuffling walk from the venue.


Clutch delivered what the fans wanted in emphatic style and any curious onlookers would have left knowing they were going to be buying up the band's back catalogue as a result of the impressive performance.

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