Well, it was December, a bit marmite for some, there are those that love Christmas and wish it was here all year round, then there are those that loathe it… namely, well me. Not to be a Grinch, but all the cheer and overzealousness is just too much! Let alone the insanity of trying to get to the bar in your local pub that has become overrun with Christmas jumpers and work parties! It isn’t all bad though, December does usually come with treats, and of course, that usually means a tour from Clutch!
Dreary weather and havoc on the railways may have caused a headache for some, but we manage to arrive just in time to catch the opener of the evening at the fabled Roundhouse, the trio of men go by the name of Kamchatka, and boy do they know how to play! The blues-rock boys are fresh out the oven with their 7th release Hoodoo Lightning and with such a back catalog, they’ve plenty of choice to pull out a set. Shared vocals across the bass and guitarist, they pull out a performance that’ll blow down the knickers of even the oldest of nuns. It’s a fresh take on a ’60s/70’s inspired sound, stoner and psychedelic in equal measure, there’s plenty for everyone to get their beers sunk to. Despite being an opening act which usually means a short set, they make time for a little something else too! A quick swap of players behind the drums sees JP join Per and Thomas for a track, an awesome little treat of a band we know to be King Hobo, and boy are we thankful not to still be stuck on a train and miss that! The genuine example of what a perfect start to a show could be!
It isn’t much longer after that our second support of the evening are set, Graveyard need little to no introduction, a masterclass in songwriting genius. They know how to put on a show! Their brief split around the middle of September ‘16 was gutting, but it wasn’t too long that they were back at it in 2017 thankfully, and by the time 2018 came about, we were treated to new material in the guise of the album Peace. There are few and far between bands like these that can draw you and in and lose yourself in the music, but these are up there brushing shoulders with the best of them. Their set plays through some of their absolute gems including ‘Uncomfortably Numb’, ‘Thin Line’ and ‘Hisingen Blues’ before closing out with ‘The Siren’. It is something that when witnessed, can be hard to describe in words, such an awe-inspiring and emotive performance, there isn’t a single flaw that can be picked from them.
The Roundhouse is packed with volume from the crowd talking, friends being found and made all over in the legendary venue. It literally is impossible to go anywhere without bumping into someone you know or meeting someone you hope to bump into again, and with all the fun that entails, it is the perfect time for a bit more liveliness and movement in the crowd with the impending Clutch set! A band to forever change their set from show to show, they recently announced their first residency taking place at Ramblin Man Fair next year with 3 different sets, tonight’s being something pretty damn awesome!
They only dip into their pre-millennium material the once through the set, and even that is really early on with the second track in the set, other than that, we are thrown hit after hit with material all from or after 2004’s Blast Tyrant. The routine of a Clutch stage show is always pretty straight forward, Tim Sult and Dan Maines hold down the flanks with their stringed instruments with the ever-impressive and always underrated JP Gaster behind the drums, while our ever gesticulative preacher for the evening Neil Fallon paces and intices the crowd, not a man to be out of place, as soon as he has moments of peace, he is straight out of the way and given the show time to the three holding it together. There isn’t much talk between the songs, I did expect a bit more, but to hear they are infused about their upcoming residency gets the excitement for a wet weekend in a field stirring! Just as Kamchatka did at the beginning, Clutch are happy to welcome guests to the stage, several songs feature the joining of Kamchatkas Per Wilberg on the keyboard for ‘10001110101’ and ‘Struck Down’, again later he rejoins for ‘Ghost’ along with Thomas Andersson. It just puts the cherry on top of the cake really! The insanity of activity from the crowd is enthralling, and no matter where you look, the place is brimming in happiness and smiles! This isn’t a fan base, it’s a family! So much so, one guy with several beers in hand was enjoying himself so much he could no longer contain it, necking one pint and handing me two for myself so he could go jump into the middle! There is nothing better than a crowd at a Clutch show, and tonight was even above what I know and love of a Clutch show already!
1. Burning Beard
2. The Dragonfly
3. How to Shake Hands
4. A Good Fire
6. Profits of Doom
7. (In the Wake of) The Swollen Goat
8. A Quick Death in Texas
9. In Walks Barbarella
11. Struck Down
12. Sucker for the Witch
13. Subtle Hustle
15. Noble Savage
16. The Face
17. Electric Worry
18. Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)