2016 has quite frankly been seen by many as a shitty year, having lost some defining musical artists of a generation, so for me, being the last show of the year, it has been an absolute delight to wave goodbye to 2016 with one of the year's best gigs.
Clutch have always delivered great shows that can trump some of the best, but it could not be done without support from tremendously talented bands that, for UK audiences at least, are relatively unknown. Tonight’s show was no different and first to the stage was Lionize, who I am sure I’ve seen before but not quite sure where - possibly supporting Clutch on a previous tour as these guys compliment Clutch’s unique sound and fit perfectly with what the audience wants to hear. Sadly, as with most opening acts, the venue is less then half full with many of tonight’s attendees still across the road somewhere for pre-gig drinks. This, however, clearly did not sway Lionize who played with the heart of a hungry young band looking to accumulate more fans, and accumulate they did!
Check out the song "X-Ray Visions"
Second on the bill tonight was Valient Thorr. Now, I’ll confess I know next to nothing about this band but, like Lionize, these guys played like it was their own show and to a bigger crowd as more folk stream in ahead of Clutch's performance. They well and truly raised the roof!
Now, for the moment everyone has been waiting for, Clutch! Opening with "The Mod Goes Wild" couldn’t have been a better choice causing the venue to shake with every single person from the floor to the seats above jumping about. Quite simply, this mob is going wild! Following with "Struck Down" and "50,000 Unstoppable Watts", it is as clear as day that Neil Fallon and crew are bringing their A-game to the Roundhouse.
Clutch has never needed any gimmicks such as elaborate light shows or pyrotechnics to create a great show, with nothing more then great songs, the energy was flowing from the stage throughout their set. There is no loss of momentum with a barrage of great fan favourites from "Cypress Grove", "The Regulator" and "A Quick Death in Texas" still with the audience rocking out as if the apocalypse was on the doorstep! As a special bonus, joining Clutch on stage was Lionize’s own Chris Brooks on keyboard for "10001110101" and "Escape From The Prison Planet" showcasing his talent and drawing more fans to Lionize.
Closing with "The Wolf Man Kindly Requests…." it feels that the set was to short despite the fact that Clutch gave us 15 tracks of epic proportion. Luckily this was not it when they returned to the stage with a thunderous cheer with 2 more fan favourites "Electric Worry" and "X-Ray Visions" bringing the show to conclusion.
As the audience filters out, I overhear the usual conversations between friends, "'The Psychic Warfare' tour is their best yet!" and :when will the next album be?" When indeed? Suffice to say, I wish I knew the answer to this, but there is no doubt in my mind Clutch are far from done and with luck on the UK’s side, they will be back once again in 2017.