The Roundhouse, Camden 15.12.16

By 'Relled' - Guest Reviewer
The atmosphere in London's iconic Roundhouse venue is electric as Maryland's Clutch are about to take the stage on their current Psycho Warfare tour.
Having been nicely warmed up by support bands,the excellent Lionize & also Vallient Thorr, the tightly packed standing area crowd are certainly in the mood for some ballsy heavy guitar laden rock !
On they enter to a thunderous roar and that's exactly what we are treated too,from the moment vocalist & guitar front man Neil Fallon exclaims "wow we're gonna have some fun tonight" he and fellow band members Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) Dan Maines (bass) & Tim Sult (lead guitar) launch into a bombastic opening of "The Mob Goes Wild" from the Blast Tyrant album closely followed by "Struck Down" & "50,000 Unstoppable Watts" And with such a blistering opening its hard to imagine that they can keep up this high rockin' tempo throughout,but that's exactly what they do.
As a group Clutch don't have the rock god look some bands possess but that is part of the charm of Clutch ,their no nonsense, no frills stage presence compliments the full on hard rock tunes they ignite the Roundhouse with and Neils vocals keeps the audience enthralled and in the palm of his hand.
Next up is Firebirds the first of four songs from the sensational new album Psychic Warfare that we shall be treated to during the set tonight.If anyone was in the slightest doubt as to how the new release would stand up live then this certainly put that worry bed as it is met with such an enthusiastic response at it's close from a crowd that seem to know each song old & new word for word and they certainly gave a huge approval here,it seems tonight Clutch can do no wrong !
In my experience over the years as a seasoned gig goer I nearly always witness a clammer for the barrier as soon as the headliners hit the stage and mayhem ensues at least for the first few numbers, then gradually people tire and head for the relative calm of the wings with only the hardcore giving it their all throughout the entire show.
Well all I can say is that tonight's Clutch Army are all hardcore as not one single soul was budging an inch from the front.
It all reminded me of the days when football stadiums had terracing and for those of us old enough to remember the sway and surge of the crowd when the home team attacked and with both feet off the ground you had no choice but to go with the flow. That's certainly how it was at the Roundhouse tonight and Clutch were scoring at will.
The next part of tonight's set consisted of "Immortal,A Quick Death In Texas,The Face, (Notes From The Trial Of)La Curandera,Noble Savage,Cypress Grove & The Regulator. Then Neil announced that they are often requested to play 10001110101 & Escape From The Prison Planet but as they don't tour with a keyboard it's not possible. Tonight though step up Mr Chris Brooks from support band Lionize and we are duly treated to both,with Chris doing a fine job too.
We're now entering the home stretch and the set is completed with "Space Grass" & "The Wolf Man kindly Requests" after which the band leaves the stage like conquering heroes to a huge applause with everyone baying for more.
After what seems like an age Clutch reappear to give us the encore that we are all craving.They play two more songs the first being from the Beal Street To Oblivion album "Electric Worry" then just to prove how good the new album is we get opener "X-Ray Visions" and if you didn't know better you'd have sworn by the way it was received that it was an old crowd pleaser from way back.
So with Neils final comment "Well that sure was a whole lotta fun" we leave the venue dripping wet but certainly knowing we had just witnessed a very special band indeed !
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