THE INSPECTOR CLUZO
As the lights rose, 2 dashingly dressed figures walked on stage and saluted the audience left, right and centre. They announced “We are from France, but not from Paris.” Just one man on drums – waist coated Phil Jourdain – and one commanding guitar and lead vocals – suit-jacketed Malcom Lacrouts – but both with enough sound and crowd appeal to soon have the occupants of Bristol O2 enthusiastically joining their fun. The Singer’s voice alternated between gruff force and high-pitched melodies with ease as they powered through their rousing set of soul-ridden rock n’ roll. Having requested a light be shone onto their backdrop – a large photograph of a Goat, who they introduced as ‘Miguel’ – they pronounced that they are also real farmers before announcing “F**k off Monsanto” this proved to be a nice introduction to one of their songs ‘We the people of the soil’ from their 2018 album We the people of the soil. This had the drummer also providing percussion in the form of a glockenspiel and shakers. The music was heavily instrumental at times which showcased their strong skills and they kept a consistent rapport with the audience who clapped, cheered and energetically bounced along with them throughout. The singer stated “We are an entertaining rock n’ roll show. You have to sing with us!” whilst the drummer paraded along the front of the stage beating his sticks together to increase participation. This worked beautifully. As the set came to a close with their song ‘Put your hands up’ from their album The 2 Mousquetairesthe crowd willingly chanted the chorus as the duo began to quite literally kick the kit apart. All whilst still playing. There was huge audience appreciation for this band and rightly so. Find out more at: http://www.theinspectorcluzo.com
Hailing from Gutersloh, Germany (although also partly based in California), Vocalist/ Guitarist Fynn Claus Grabke and Drummer Philipp Mirtschink brought their hauntingly atmospheric blend of Alternative Rock/Blues to the stage. Launching straight in with their track ‘PCH Diamond’ from their album Imaginary Horse, the pair demonstrated strength in both musical talent and physical capacity, punching out rhythm with a drum mallet and vigorously throwing each guitar note. Moving directly into the second song ‘Fire Keeps Burning’ from the album Home is a heartache, the singer used a series of varying harsh then softer vocals to further represent every word uttered. A brief “Bristol, how the f**k you doing?” was greeted with loud cheers from the audience and the band continued to check in between their dramatically charged songs, which they played wildly. The Drummer, his kit set up much like that of a timpanist, used an assortment of musical equipment; a stick of steel bells in one hand; drumstick in the other or a tambourine; in addition to the drum mallet, each seeming as natural a transition as the next. Middle fingers were raised at the band’s request as they introduced ‘Zero Fucks Given’ from their album Home is a heartacheand dedicated the track to Clutch who had invited them on this tour. As the Singer paused to tune his guitar “to a chord” he casually chatted to the crowd, mentioning a previous run of gigs in Bristol – Louisiana, Thekla and more recently The Marble Factory. He also announced a new album and a further gig in Bristol, 9th May 2019, at The Exchange. They requested that “Bristol make some noise!” and Bristol did. The track ‘Cactus’ from theirHome is a heartachealbum – opened by the guitar being played using teeth – was dedicated to the singer’s Dad, who they mentioned was fulfilling both roadie and merch stall duties on their tour. The band further energised the excitable crowd with their track ‘I need that Oooh’ also from their Home is a heartachealbum. Time had flown and it was down to the final two songs of the set. ‘Rabbit and the Wolf’ from the Imaginary Horsealbum had the crowd independently clapping along as the drummer relentlessly pounded down on the drums and beat out a tune on the fixed bell. Whilst the last song of the evening ‘Your kisses burn like fire’ also from the Imaginary Horsealbum, ramped up the audience participation by darting between crowd and band singing the chorus, with the final turn coming from the singer “Your kisses burn like f**king fire, Bristol” and the crowd was indeed ablaze with applause. Find out more at: www.thepicturebooks.com
The crowd exploded into cheers as Guitarist Tim Sult strode on to stage, followed by Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster, Bassist Dan Maines and finally harmonica-brandishing Vocalist Neil Fallon, as he casually suggested “Let’s have a party!” and the band plunged straight in to ‘DC Sound Attack’ from their Earth Rockeralbum. The O2 was bursting with the sound of the fans singing along as NF tapped out the funky beat on a cow bell. The second song ‘The House that Peterbilt’ took things way back to the 1995 album Clutchand NF conducted the crowd with his movements whilst preaching the lyrics in his deep American voice. A fleeting guitar solo by TS whilst the singer grabbed his own guitar and it was straight in to song three ‘Spirit of 76’ from The book of bad decisionsalbum. Next up was ‘Open up the Border’ from Pure Rock Furyalbum along with some subtle humour from NF “We do have a new album out but we’re going to be doing a lot of old ones for you too. At least that’s what the set list says!” The audience were spellbound as TS executed a guitar solo. “Happy Tuesday!” Grinned NF as he sipped his water, “Yeah it’s F**king Tuesday” and the band played the album’s title track ‘Pure Rock Fury’ with another guitar solo from TS. For the 6th song, NF confessed to being a ‘Sucker for the witch’ whilst the band treated the crowd to the track from their Psychic Warfarealbum. “Good Morning, Rise and Shine” teased NF. ‘Decapitation Blues’ also from the Psychic Warfarealbum was up next. This featured a strong bass riff from DM.
Drummer JPG was impressively powering through anthem after anthem and the song ‘Gimme The Keys’ from The book of bad decisions album had his drum beats hurtling alongside NF’s Bear-growl voice. Introduced plainly as “Another one about doing stupid things whilst in a vehicle” the 9thsong of the set was anything but stupid, ‘Firebirds’ from the Psychic Warfare album even ended with a drum solo that bounded neatly in to the next track ‘Burning Beard’ from the Robot Hive/Exodus album. The crowd was huddled in a passionate jarring motion as there was simply no room for any more movement and so hands raised in horns, they moved as one. As the singer briefly stepped sideways to wipe the sweat from his brow and glug more water, keen eyed security staff also handed drinks to the dry revellers at the front who were quite clearly going nowhere. “That’s the spirit” joked the singer “No concerns about Wednesday.” The pace was slowed temporarily as the band played ‘Emily Dickinson’ from The book of bad decisions album and NF chose to say a few words about the next song: “We’ve been a band for a while now……never thought our most controversial song would be a recipe.” As the band flung themselves in to the charming riffs of ‘Hot Bottom Feeder’ from The book of bad decisions album, the crowd showed they were hungry for this song by eagerly singing along. NF clearly enjoying playing guitar throughout as well as throwing himself into the actions that the tune required. ‘In walks Barbarella’ also from The book of bad decisionsalbum kept the fans attentively singing along and as the singer stated “Lets make some noise for The Inspector Cluzo and The Picturebooks” the spirited response made it clear that these support acts had been a hit with the crowd. Perhaps the most awaited track of the evening came next, ‘Electric Worry’ from the From Beale Street To Oblivionalbum with a twist on the last verse to include Bristol. When it came to the 15thsong of the set, ‘The Mob Goes Wild’ from the Blast Tyrantalbum, a keen crowd surfer made it into the pit and was swiftly ejected from the stage by security.
The band left the stage to thunderous applause. Coupled with clapping, stamping and chants for ‘more’. More water was handed to those fans front and centre stage and within just a few minutes the band had returned. “Thank you all. If You weren’t here, we wouldn’t be. It’s reciprocal” assured the singer to the crowd. The next song ‘A Good Fire’ from The book of bad decisionsalbum was introduced as being “about drinking beer and listening to Black Sabbath”. A slightly more off-beat song with several tempo changes. NF proved his vocal talents on the final song ‘Weird Times’ also from The book of bad decisionsalbum with plenty of carefully timed high pitched screams and distortion all delivered seamlessly. Find out more at: www.pro-rock.com
Review : Suzi Turner
Photography : Emma Painter https://www.pacificcurdphotography.co.uk