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Clutch Rocks The Earth In Bristol With A Double Dose Of Duos

As time goes by, Maryland rockers Clutch has developed more and more of a legendary status. While each album solidifies that claim, it's the live setting where the band really shines, making even festival slots feel small and comfortable. Last December, the band embarked on a headlining run of the United Kingdom, with many shows being sold out and where their latest album, "Book Of Bad Decisions" has received widespread praise by journalists. Having only seen the band at the Graspop Metal Meeting festival, I traveled to Bristol to check out the quartet in a smaller setting. Here's what happened...

Opening the show tonight was our first duo, from Mont-de-Marsan, in the south west of France, The Inspector Cluzo. It should be noted that besides Clutch, neither support band can really be classed as metal and even Inspector Cluzo's Facebook description classifies them as "soul/fuck and roll," which I'm not too sure I agree with quite frankly. In any case, those who arrived early for the show were treated to a fantastic display of musical madness. The hard rocking cabaret was wildly entertaining and songs from their new album, "We The People Of The Soil" sound absolutely fantastic. The two are funny, entertaining and very talented. If you want something a bit different, I highly recommend seeking The Inspector Cluzo out and catching a live set. You won't be disappointed.

In contrast to The Inspector Cluzo, the second support act, another two piece named The Picturebooks, provided little if anything else to get excited about. Hailing from G├╝tersloh, Germany, the duo received a lukewarm reaction at first but gradually garnered more support from the crowd as time went by. Of course, music is subject to taste and as mentioned, there were a good number of people who found something to like, but there was also a sizable amount of the crowd who found their music to be meandering and bland, not befitting either the headliners or the craziness most in attendance just witnessed. By all means give them a listen if simple rock is your thing, but don't expect to see the wheel reinvented, or even fitted particularly well.

Finally we come to the band of the hour. With a sold out venue to entertain, Clutch never disappoints. Promoting their new album, "Book Of Bad Decisions," the quartet brought out no less than seven songs from the record, including the single, "In Walks Barbarella" and "Spirit Of '76." I've often described Clutch as "the world's greatest bar band" and their ability to turn a packed house into an intimate feeling show seemed to back that up, led by charismatic frontman Neil Fallon who helps turn an uncomfortable venue into a great party.

There was plenty of older material to enjoy too, including, "Open Up The Border" and "Pure Rock Fury" from the album of the same name, as well as "The House That Peterbilt" from the eponymous 1995 album, which was the earliest from their catalogue on display tonight. Clutch has never been a band that relies on gimmicks or props and the music did plenty of talking tonight, delighting every one in attendance, especially when it comes to fan favourites such as "Electric Worry" and set closer, "The Mob Goes Wild." All in all, Clutch put on a typically superb performance on the night and all fans of good old fashioned rock should make sure the Maryland head bangers are on their bucket list of live bands.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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