Clutch, Valient Thorr, Lionize @Manchester Academy 18/12/2016

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Just over one year since Clutch last played Manchester and they were back around at it once again, with support from Valient Thorr and Lionize.

img_0056I entered Manchester Academy 1 to see Lionize on-stage. They were reminiscent of Black Stone Cherry, but with additional hints of soul. Their sound was incredibly clear, with a beautiful vibe to it. Nate Bergman (vocals, guitar) has a touching voice, one you would not expect from a rock/metal band. Lionize are a talented band and an appropriate opening act.

img_0142Next up was Valient Thorr, bursting onto the stage with heaps of energy. The sound wasn’t quite as crisp as before, with the singer barely audible at the beginning and then slightly too loud for the rest of the band. The music isn’t quite my thing, but what was missing in sound was made up for in stage performance. Valient Thorr was energetic and entertaining to watch. What they were, unfortunately, lacking in sound quality, they more than sufficiently compensated with stage performance.

img_0335It was quite a suspenseful wait for Clutch. We caught them last year, and they put on a fantastic show in support of Psychic Warfare. This tour was continuing to support that album, but you expect that they will pay good homage to their previous works. As expected, the lights dimmed and the band walked on through the dry ice smog to Chuck Brown’s ‘We Need Some Money’. They immediately kick off into ‘Cyborg Bette’. Despite

As expected, the lights dimmed and the band walked on through the dry ice smog to Chuck Brown’s ‘We Need Some Money’. They immediately kick off into ‘Cyborg Bette’. Despite quite a suspenseful start, the atmosphere was changed by an awkward guitar string break during ‘Decapitation Blues’. This threw the band and they need to restart the song. Nonetheless, it was quickly forgotten bout as Neil Fallon (vocals) charged around the stage with power and determination. They are an incredible band to see live, but my fellow audience members were almost as entertaining to watch. You hear it often, that metal/rock fans are the friendliest bunch, and while that is not a written code tonight was no exception. With close proximity to the pits that were formed, people who had never met before were dancing together. This is another point; it is quite a beautiful experience to watch metalheads dancing. Reflecting on the set list, about four of the played songs were from their latest album, ‘Psychic Warfare’. Then about five played from the preceding ‘Earth Rocker’. With a couple of exceptions, such as ‘Spacegrass’, the majority of the set list was of recent releases and almost neglected their early albums of their large back catalogue. The set list also seemed to appease more ‘on the surface’ fans, who may not be quite as familiar with their music. This may relate to our chat with Dan Maines (bass) prior to the gig, regarding appeasing audiences that were not there primarily for Clutch, to attract new fans. Moreover, I was super excited to hear the popular ‘The Mob Goes Wild’. On the other hand, it was exciting and ‘nostalgic’ for them to play a classic such as that of ‘Spacegrass’. Chris Brooks (keyboard) of Lionize joined the set for ‘10001110101’, but to be honest I could not hear what this added to the song from where I was stood. An entertaining point to make note of was the extended cowbell solo of ‘DC Sound Attack!’. It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind, if perhaps for fun. The band then left for what was quite a wait for the encore. A good length, not frustratingly long to indicate egotism, but long enough to begin wondering what they’re up to (having a breather, perhaps). The band came back on to play the popular ‘Electric Worry’ (which I was SO pleased

They are an incredible band to see live, but my fellow audience members were almost as entertaining to watch. You hear it often, that metal/rock fans are the friendliest bunch, and while that is not a written code tonight was no exception. With close proximity to the pits that were formed, people who had never met before were dancing together. This is another point; it is quite a beautiful experience to watch metalheads dancing. Reflecting on the set list, about four of the played songs were from their latest album, ‘Psychic Warfare’. Then about five played from the preceding ‘Earth Rocker’. With a couple of exceptions, such as ‘Spacegrass’, the majority of the set list was of recent releases and almost neglected their early albums of their large back catalogue. The set list also seemed to appease more ‘on the surface’ fans, who may not be quite as familiar with their music. This may relate to our chat with Dan Maines (bass) prior to the gig, regarding appeasing audiences that were not there primarily for Clutch, to attract new fans. Moreover, I was super excited to hear the popular ‘The Mob Goes Wild’. On the other hand, it was exciting and ‘nostalgic’ for them to play a classic such as that of ‘Spacegrass’. Chris Brooks (keyboard) of Lionize joined the set for ‘10001110101’, but to be honest I could not hear what this added to the song from where I was stood. An entertaining point to make note of was the extended cowbell solo of ‘DC Sound Attack!’. It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind, if perhaps for fun. The band then left for what was quite a wait for the encore. A good length, not frustratingly long to indicate egotism, but long enough to begin wondering what they’re up to (having a breather, perhaps). The band came back on to play the popular ‘Electric Worry’ (which I was SO pleased

Reflecting on the set list, about four of the played songs were from their latest album, ‘Psychic Warfare’. Then about five played from the preceding ‘Earth Rocker’. With a couple of exceptions, such as ‘Spacegrass’, the majority of the set list was of recent releases and almost neglected their early albums of their large back catalogue. The set list also seemed to appease more ‘on the surface’ fans, who may not be quite as familiar with their music. This may relate to our chat with Dan Maines (bass) prior to the gig, regarding appeasing audiences that were not there primarily for Clutch, to attract new fans. Moreover, I was super excited to hear the popular ‘The Mob Goes Wild’. On the other hand, it was exciting and ‘nostalgic’ for them to play a classic such as that of ‘Spacegrass’. Chris Brooks (keyboard) of Lionize joined the set for ‘10001110101’, but to be honest I could not hear what this added to the song from where I was stood. An entertaining point to make note of was the extended cowbell solo of ‘DC Sound Attack!’. It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind, if perhaps for fun. The band then left for what was quite a wait for the encore. A good length, not frustratingly long to indicate egotism, but long enough to begin wondering what they’re up to (having a breather, perhaps). The band came back on to play the popular ‘Electric Worry’ (which I was SO pleased

Chris Brooks (keyboard) of Lionize joined the set for ‘10001110101’, but to be honest I could not hear what this added to the song from where I was stood. An entertaining point to make note of was the extended cowbell solo of ‘DC Sound Attack!’. It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind, if perhaps for fun. The band then left for what was quite a wait for the encore. A good length, not frustratingly long to indicate egotism, but long enough to begin wondering what they’re up to (having a breather, perhaps). The band came back on to play the popular ‘Electric Worry’ (which I was SO pleased about) but interrupted by yet another guitar string snap. The band picked up without a hitch, and progressed into ‘X-Ray Visions’. Overall, if you ever have

Overall, if you ever have the chance to see Clutch I – as a person who likes that style of music anyway/someone’s who opinion you unlikely care about – highly recommend it. Even if you’re not a fan. Even if just to see scruffy bearded men (apologies for stereotyping) dancing. Regardless, they’re good fun to experience live.

Set List

  1. Cyborg Bette
  2. Decapitation Blues
  3. Crucial Velocity
  4. Firebirds
  5. Gravel Road
  6. The Mob Goes Wild
  7. Struck Down
  8. A Quick Death in Texas
  9. Earth Rocker
  10. Sucker for the Witch
  11. Spacegrass
  12. 10001110101
  13. Unto the Breach
  14. Noble Savage D
  15. C Sound Attack!

Encore:

  1. Electric Worry
  2. X-Ray Visions

Review by Nicole Morrissey

Photos by Craig Hutton


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