@planetmosh reviews .@LionizeMusic and .@clutchofficial.
Wednesday night saw the arrival of the Earth Rocker World Tour in Glasgow, and the sold out crowd at the 02 ABC were more than ready to let Clutch know it was about time. Fans started queuing three hours before Clutch were due to take to the stage, in pouring rain which did nothing to dampen their spirits.
First on stage were long time Clutch cohorts Lionize, the first band to be signed to Clutch’s Weathermaker record label. Although formed in 2004 this is Lionize’s first visit to the UK, and frontman Nate Bergman told me they’d been blown away by the reaction from crowds across the country. He describes them as a rock and roll band with influences as far ranging as blues, funk and reggae. A mixed bag, but one that seems to work for them, as the success of their latest album Jetpack Soundtrack shows. Nate was hugely entertained by the way “Jetpack Soundtrack,” sounds in a Scottish accent, but thankfully he kept his attempts at recreating it for backstage! They took to the stage to play a short but jam-packed set from the album, which was really well received by the crowd. The way they set up on stage was interesting, with Mel Randolph’s drums front and centre, Chris Brooks’ keyboard, Bergman’s guitar/vocals and Henry Upton’s bass beside him forming a straight line across the stage. I often feel drummers are relegated to the shadows so this was a refreshing change. Backstage, singer Nate is a ball of energy, constantly hopping from one foot to another, with a glint in his eye and a smile on his face. Once he hit the stage however, he became all business, with a vocal range that is at times Glenn Hughes-esque, and guitar work that had the still-arriving crowd getting more and more interested. Many in the crowd won’t have heard of Lionize before, but won’t forget them in a hurry. Reality Check, the brilliant Lazarus Style and Amazing Science Facts were turned into one long jam that ran the gamut from rock to reggae, quiet to deafening, but maintained huge quality throughout. Sea of Tranquillity was a real standout, and possibly the moment the crowd really took to the band and got behind them. Lionize closed with album title track Jetpack Soundtrack and left the stage to genuine enthusiasm from the Glasgow crowd, something that isn’t always easy to achieve.
Next up were headliners Clutch. Frontman Neil Fallon looks like my old high school science teacher, but is at least 100% cooler. He stalks around the stage, gesturing and waving his arms with every line, pointing at the crowd as if he needs to make sure they’re really listening, and taking in what he’s saying. Bassist Dan Maines told me before the gig that the band like to keep things fresh by changing the setlist every night, and joked that they take turns to decide what’s to be played by using a very democratic, alphabetical system! It was Dan’s turn on Wednesday, and he mixed things up, with only about half the set coming from Earth Rocker, the rest a collection of old favourites that had fans raising the roof. By about halfway through the set posters requesting fans refrain from crowd surfing were being roundly ignored, with the reason for the extra security suddenly becoming obvious as they waded in to heave people from the crowd in a heap of flailing arms, legs and devil horns.
Clutch are quite possibly one of the loudest bands I’ve ever seen. Maines’ bass could be felt as well as heard, shaking the floor underfoot and rattling teeth. Combined with Jean-Paul Gaster’s drums and Tim Sult’s guitar the noise was incredible. The crowd were going crazy right from the start, and by the time they launched into Power Player four songs in it was a case of join in or be trampled underfoot. It’s not often in smaller venues that things get so overheated but security were up on the barriers handing out water constantly as fans enjoyed every second of this brilliant gig. Crucial Velocity and The Yeti were standouts, with Fallon prowling around the stage, completely unable to sing without the accompanying waving arms that seem to be an innate part of his performance.
The main set closed with Electric Worry. When I spoke to Dan backstage he said that when the band toured with Motorhead, Lemmy told him that Electric Worry is Clutch’s Ace of Spades. Any compliment from Lemmy is to be cherished, but that one in particular is about as good as it gets. It’s just an absolute classic rock song that demands crowd participation and the Glasgow fans didn’t disappoint, roaring a chorus of “Bang bang bang bang, vamanos vamanos,” that must have been heard down the street.
The encore of Pure Rock Fury and DC Sound Attack made sure the crowd got more than their fair share of Clutch classics, from a back catalogue than spans over twenty years. As well as gaining new fans on their first UK tour, Lionize are getting an education in how to rock hard and loud. Glasgow really was an absolute masterclass from Clutch.
Gig Photography by Jurga Kalinauskaite, www.jurgafoto.lt for Planetmosh.
Lionize: @LionizeMusic, www.lionizemusic.com, www.facebook.com/LIONIZEMUSIC
Clutch: @clutchofficial, www.pro-rock.com, www.facebook.com/Clutchband