Remembering 2022 – Clutch // The Inspector Cluzo // Live Review // The Limelight I // Belfast
So this one has been in the diary for a very long time, never mind the pandemic, when Clutch announced their return to Belfast I eyeballed that date and made a mental mark to be there.
Tonight’s the night I have my Clutch cherry popped! Don’t tell anyone, this will be our dirty little secret but I am ready to receive! I don’t know how at the ripe old age of 21 + a few years I have not yet managed to catch these guys when they have rolled through Belfast but somehow we have been like ships in the night.
Up first is French duo The Insoector Cluzo, self-described as DIY Gascon Farmers these two have been tirelessly ripping it up across Europe for years now, living on the road with a remarkable number of live shows performed over 1100 in 65 countries and counting! With a new album due next year, they’re here to remind us that post pandemic they ain’t gone nowhere with their gnarly in your face, raw as fcuk and have an intensity that demands your full attention.
The chemistry between the two is “C’est magnifique” from the moment they walked into the stage greeting the Belfast crowd – acknowledging those who made the journey down early to their crowd interaction from song to song, it’s a totally immersive experience and one that will win over the Belfast crowd tonight. Their sound is a bluesy garage rock vibe that resonates from the off. Their drummerPhil Jourdain works beautiful intricate patterns as guitaristMalcom Lacrouts slams out gnarly riffage to capture the imagination, the two are absolutely killer and I cannot recommend them enough should you get the opportunity to catch them live, either on the remaining date side the Clutch tour or in their solo ventures. These guys had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands by the end of their set, the limelight was rocking to a bit of Gallic flair! Put your hands in the air for Inspector Cluzo! As they wrapped up their closing track somehow they manage to dismantle the drum kit while playing the most amazing finale and Belfast goes absolutely ape shit when it finally ends, what a performance what a crazy duo!
After a blistering performance from Inspector Cluzo, Clutch will need to be on their A-game tonight, but the Maryland rockers have one of the best reputations in the business for their live shows, so I know Belfast is in for something special tonight. With twelve studio albums and a lifetime on the road honing their craft as one local music scene aficionado explained tonight Fallon is like a rock preacher of sorts, his sheer presence as a frontman is second to none and Clutch’s hefty sound just glued everything together when they hit the stage, live is what Clutch is all about.
The stage is fairly sparse, a drum kit at the back, a 4×12 stage right and a bass cab stage left, and no monitors. Simplicity in itself, which makes a statement all of its own. Let the music do the talking, let’s do this.
As the lights drop and the band set off with their own brand of magic I totally get it, what a sound and what a vibe they put out live! A funky infused track that lifts the energy in the room off the charts, Fallon spitting out vocals like RATM delivering them with precise accuracy as if delivering a sermon. With the bass thumping behind him and more wha-wha than you can shake a stick at in one song, you get why Clutch is such a multi-faceted band. Hard-hitting tracks with a soulful edge and melodic backbone it is complete escapism while they whip you away for two hours of sonic ecstasy! As expected they are tight as a tiger, bringing a lifetime of finess to the live stage whilst keeping their live performances as raw and visceral as they do, the room is absolutely packed with an army of dedicated fans who just love this band, the beer is flowing and the crowd are in fine form as dudes and dudette’s boogying their asses off to the groovy riffage. With a new album recently announced ‘Sunrise On Slaughter Beach’ and with a back catalogue from a sumptous twelve studio album collection and a beautiful thirty-year-plus career that has cemented Clutch as one of the finest live bands on the scene today.
The great news is for anyone who has not been lucky enough to catch the guys this time round you will have your opportunity once again at the end of the year when they tour in support of the new album, with a US tour kicking off in Sept/Oct and a few selected dates in the UK in November so get your hands on tickets now as they will go fast, the legion of Clutch fans looking a hit after two-plus years on the sideline will be enormous so sort it asap!
Clutch shares more in common with The Grateful Dead, Rush, and the Allman Brothers than their heavy riffs and heady twists-of-phrase might suggest. Because like those bands, the supporters who adore Clutch are there for the experience, community, and authentic connection. To love Clutch is to feel a sense of ownership, membership, and belonging.
Seneca Valley High School classmates Neil Fallon (vocals), Tim Sult (guitar), Dan Maines (bass), and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) share an unshakeable musical and personal bond now three decades strong. Shaped by the same region which birthed Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and Rites Of Spring, Clutch crafts hyper-literate and libertine jams informed by hardcore fury and fuzzy, athletic, stoner rock.
Today, those classmates announce Sunrise On Slaughter Beach, the band’s thirteenth studio album – a slamming summary of everything that makes the band great and another giant leap forward into career longevity.
New bangers like “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone),” “Nosferatu Madre,” “Skeletons on Mars,” “Jackhammer Our Names,” and “Mercy Brown” take their rightful place alongside Clutch classics. Sunrise On Slaughter Beach is the natural culmination of what Clutch began as teenagers in the early ‘90s.
Recorded at the The Magpie Cage Recording Studio, Baltimore, MD, the album was produced and mixed by Grammy nominated Tom Dalgety (Ghost, Royal Blood, Pixies) with additional engineering by J Robbins (Jawbreaker, Against Me!, The Sword).
Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)
Mountain Of Bone
We Strive For Excellence
Skeletons On Mars
Three Golden Horns
Jackhammer Our Names
Clutch have shared two new songs with fans so far. The first single, “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)“, was released in April to much acclaim from fans and critics alike. The track has notched 415k streams on Spotify alone with the official music video clocking up 384k YouTube views. Last month, the group unveiled “We Strive For Excellence” which is closing in fast on 250k Spotify streams already. The track is available digitally from all DSPs here.
Jean-Paul Gaster initially thought album thirteen would be an opposite reaction to the polarisation and uncertainty of the pandemic years. Perhaps something more upbeat, in the vein of 2013’s Earth Rocker. “The more the songs took shape, the less I saw that kind of an album. Something different took shape. The record we ended up with is, in some ways, the most different record we’ve made in a long time.”
Sunrise On Slaughter Beach introduces some “firsts” into the Clutch canon: vibraphone (from Gaster), theremin (J. Robbins), and female backup vocals from singers Deborah Bond and Frenchie Davis. The album’s nine songs are a diverse ride, destined to please long-time fans and intrigue newcomers alike. It’s a new chapter in an ever-unfolding story which means as much to the fans as it does to the band.
Clutch have extensive tour plans to support the new album, including a set of US headline dates this Autumn. Joining them on that 26-date run will be Helmet and Quicksand who will be rotating the main support slot nightly and special guest JD Pinkus. Ticket for the tour are on sale now from ClutchOnTour.com.
Sep 13 – Toronto, ON @ Rebel
Sep 15 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Sep 16 – New York, NY @ Palladium Times Square
Sep 17 – Baltimore, MD @ Hammerjacks
Sep 18 – Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz
Sep 20 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Sep 21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Franklin Music Hall
Sep 23 – Louisville, KY @ Louder than Life*
Sep 24 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
Sep 25 – Atlanta, GA @ The Eastern
Sep 27 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
Sep 29 – Houston TX @ Warehouse Live
Sep 30 – Dallas, TX @ The Factory in Deep Ellum
Oct 01 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
Oct 02 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
Oct 04 – Phoenix, AZ @ Van Buren
Oct 05 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent
Oct 07 – Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock*
Oct 08 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Oct 09 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theatre
Oct 10 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Oct 12 – Salt Lake City, UT @ the Depot
Oct 13 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
Oct 14 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
Oct 15 – West Des Moines, IA @ Val Air Ballroom
Oct 16 – Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
The band have an equally packed touring schedule outside of North America, including summer festivals, further headline dates, and a return to Europe.
European fans can find them at the following dates:
Nov 11 – Glasgow, UK – 02 Academy
Nov 12 – Newcastle, UK – 02 City Hall
Nov 13 – Leeds, UK – 02 Academy
Nov 15 – Exeter, UK – Great Hall
Nov 16 – Brighton, UK – Brighton Dome
Nov 18 – Hannover, GER – Capitol
Nov 20 – Hamburg, GER – Markthalle
Nov 22 – Berlin, GER – Huxley’s Neue Welt
Nov 23 – Munich, GER – Neue Theaterfabrik
Nov 24 – Wien, AT – Arena
Nov 25 – Zagreb, CRO – Culture Factory
Nov 26 – Milan, IT – Fabrique
Dec 2 – Toulouse, FR – Le Bikini
Dec 3 – Lyon, FR – Le Transbordeur
Dec 5 – Zurich, CH – X-TRA
Dec 6 – Stuttgart, GER – LKA Longhorn
Dec 7 – Frankfurt, GER – Batschkapp
Dec 9 – Cologne, GER – Live Music Hall
Dec 10 – Paris, FR – Bataclan
Dec 13 – Bristol, UK – 02 Academy
Dec 14 – Birmingham, UK – 02 Academy
Dec 15 – Manchester, UK – Manchester Academy
Dec 16 – Nottingham, UK – Rock City
Dec 17 – London, UK – The Roundhouse
For the most up to date list of shows worldwide and to buy tickets, click here.
“There’s no question that Clutch etched themselves a name in the pantheon of great rock bands,” Lambgoat wrote in 2004. Classic Rock counted 2013’s Earth Rocker and 2015’s Psychic Warfare among the 50 Best Rock Albums of the 2010s. Rolling Stone described 2018’s Book of Bad Decisions as “bathed in the grit and liberal fuzz tone that have made their live shows legendary.” The global accolades across their acclaimed catalogue are numerous.
Live shows over the years include tours with Slayer and System Of A Down and more recent co-headlining treks with Dropkick Murphys, Killswitch Engage, and Mastodon. Like Slayer or Iron Maiden, Clutch outlasted rock bands anchored to “hit songs” and the pressure of replicating them. The foursome from Germantown, Maryland, isn’t bound by trends. Across thirteen studio albums and assorted releases since 1991, they’ve earned a reputation as one of the best around.
Neil Fallon likens Clutch’s longevity to the story of The Three Little Pigs. “You can quickly build a house with sticks, but it falls apart. It takes a lot longer to build it out of stone. I feel like that’s what we’ve done. This has been a marathon. It took a long time to build, but it’s gonna be here for a long time.”