Wednesday 14 June 2017 saw the mighty Clutch return to give Belfast another ass whuppin’ for the third time in four years and the groups loyalty to their fans was reciprocated with another sold out show. No mean feat considering it’s only a few days after Download and the band do not have a new album to promote.
At half nine on the button, Clutch took to the stage. The capacity crowd giving them a reception fit for the return of conquering heroes as they eased into their performance with “Crucial Velocity” and by the time they had reached the first chorus there were mass outbreaks of dancing around venue. For the next ninety minutes the band had Belfast eating out of the palm of their hands until a frenetic “X Ray Visions” brought proceedings to a joyous, sweat drenched climax. In between we were treated to a rambunctious “Burning Beard”, a stunning version of “Son Of Virginia” and a groove-mungous “D.C Sound Attack” – which according to frontman Neil Fallon was “the party train coming into town” – and was jammed out with an extra dose of cowbell for godd measure! Other high points were two brand new songs that received a live airing with “How To Shake Hands” and “We Love A Good Fire” picking up on the loose grooves found on 2015’s Psychic Warfare and bodes incredibly well for the new album.
It is often said that Neil Fallon, with his bug eyed delivery, has the demeanour of some sort of preacher and he is the focal point of the band; between pulling faces and bouts of epic dad dancing he most certainly is as captivating a frontman as you could wish to find. That being said, the rest of the band are no slouches either. In Dan Maines and Jean Paul Gaster, Clutch have one of the most underrated rhythm sections around, while guitarist Tim Sult spends the majority of the set with his head down, barely acknowledging the crowd and simply allows his riffs to do the talking.
Having witnessed Clutch numerous times in the live setting, it’s hard to imagine them putting on a bad show and they most certainly kicked Belfasts ass. What Clutch do isn’t necessarily big or smart but it’s something which a lot of bands seem to have trouble doing….which is writing expertly crafted songs and delivering them in the live environment. Simple really.
With a new album due in the not too distant future it hopefully won’t be too long before Clutch bring their brand of pure rock fury to Belfast once again. 10/10