Clutch with support from Tigercub and Green Lung, 15th Dec 22, Manchester Academy

The band take the crowd back to some older tracks such as "Subtle Hustle" and "The Mob goes Wild" taken from the 2011 album 'Blast Tyrant'

Words and Pictures: Ange Cobham / (C) Cobspix Photography

For my penultimate gig of 2022 I had a beauty lined up on a very cold Thursday evening. A quick jaunt into that there Manchester and a bill headlined by Maryland rockers Clutch, who, thirteen albums into a career that has seen them gather a huge following worldwide, rightly packed out the Academy, confirming that the fan base is as big in the UK as it is back in their home country. First up though, once I’d managed to leave the house and head over to Manchester, thanks to heating issues with the boiler, I arrived just in time to catch the end of the set from Tigercub. 

Tigercub

Even though I wasn’t able to shoot them, I could hear the riffs beating down Oxford Road before even entering the venue! They are trio from Brighton who know how to rock, were giving it their all when I arrived, that drummers beats just rattle round your body! They were well received by the gradual growing crowd braving tonight’s freezing conditions. Their setlist was packed with tracks including their new single ‘The Perfume of Decay’ and ‘Stop Beating on My Heart’. The closing song was ‘Beauty’ which saw an extended jam to crowd cheers. Great heavy raw sound, I suspect we will be hearing more of these guys. Check out their latest album ‘As Blue as Indigo’.

Green Lung

Next up was Green Lung who bounced on stage to a raucous applause. The London 5 piece were bathed in a sea of green light and burst into their first track ‘Baphomet’ Frontman Tom strides around the stage belting out his huge extended vocals with ease. Almost immediately he’s grasping the crowd in his hand, their response clearly suggesting that the Clutch crowd are big fans as well.

For those with a nervous disposition, Green Lung belt out some seriously demonic heavy hymns. Guitarist Scott Black is partly to blame, smashing killer solos and holding a great stance pose for the camera! [See the gallery below]. John Wright on keys gave the show a fabulous symphonic flair, and, together with Matt on drums and Joseph on bass who hold the strongest of backlines, the band give us a swirling vortex of sound that builds up to one of the best songs of the night. ‘Reaper’s Scythe’ is so well received, with the crowd throwing horns in the air and chanting YES at full volume to Tom’s “Manchester… Are you with us?” Not sure where else the crowd might be, they are in the same venue after all, but the sentiment rings true!  The demonic element continues when the crowd is encouraged to “Give me a hey, give me a hail, give me a hail Satan!” before launching into “Let the Devil in”. 

These guys definitely conjure the wild and witchy spirit of British occult rock and it’s one that should inspire a new generation. With a new deal sealed with Nuclear Blast and 2 albums released, they are only on the up. Great set.

Clutch

Time for the main act, Clutch, veterans of the rock scene yet this is only the first time I have seen them! The fans go wild when the band come onto the stage and Neil immediately has the crowd going. The buzz from the crowd suggests they knew what they would be getting and I’m sure they weren’t disappointed with this setlist. Bangers from the off with “Red Alert” with a very animated Neil right from the get-go. He flies around the stage, pointing, gesturing and acting the songs out whilst comfortably holding his notes really well [unlike many other artists we could mention]. The band take the crowd back to some older tracks such as “Subtle Hustle” and “The Mob goes Wild” taken from the 2011 album ‘Blast Tyrant’ Thrown in was an extended version of “Cypress Grove” also from the aforementioned album.

It’s clear the audience are loving every minute with fans dancing around and singing every word. The test though is always when the new material gets played. 13 albums in and the fan base will always favour the older stuff. Or will they?? When the band announce the title track from their new album “Sunrise on Slaughter Beach” they play the joker in their pack and announce a special guest who joins them on stage to play keys. None other than “Per Wilburg” of Opeth, he then stays with them for the rest of the show. He’s a welcome addition as the keys plays a big part in the next few tracks especially the hard hitting “Burning Beard” and “Sea of Destruction”.

Of course the focus isn’t just on Neil and the band’s guest musician. Tim on guitar and Dan on bass are in one spot all night, but blast out huge rhythms none the less. As the night continues, they play move onto a more bluesy style track, “The Devil & Me” which I found to be a cool foot tapping number, and showcases their musical genius being able to deliver on such a range of styles within the rock genre.

As we move towards the end of the show, Fallon interacts a lot with the crowd throughout announcing how much he loves coming to Manchester and hanging out in the Student’s Union Bar and thanks the audience for coming. A groovy “Spacegrass” is played as one of their main set closers, a classic anthemic track and an ideal one to leave the crowd on a high.

The crowds chant for them wanting an encore following their stage exit which is answered when the re-emerge with “10001110101”, “Electric Worry” of which saw Neil playing the opening on guitar. They closed their set with “The Face” and what a set that was, tight, powerful performance and one I will be seeing again.

SETLIST: 

Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)
Nosferatu Madre
Subtle Hustle
The Mob Goes Wild
Earth Rocker
Cypress Grove
Rats
X-Ray Visions
Firebirds!
Slaughter Beach
Burning Beard(with Per Wiberg)
Sea of Destruction (with Per Wiberg)
The Devil & Me(with Per Wiberg)
Mice and Gods (with Per Wiberg)
Three Golden Horns (with Per Wiberg)
(Notes from the Trial Of) La Curandera (with Per Wiberg)
Spacegrass (with Per Wiberg)
Encore:
10001110101 (with Per Wiberg)
Electric Worry (with Per Wiberg)
The Face (with Per Wiberg)

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EXTREME’S UNMATCHED MUSICAL MASTERY AND ELECTRIFYING STAGE PRESENCE: A DEFINING FORCE IN ROCK HISTORY LIVE AT MARS MUSIC HALL, HUNTSVILLE, AL

EXTREME’S UNMATCHED MUSICAL MASTERY AND ELECTRIFYING STAGE PRESENCE: A DEFINING FORCE IN ROCK HISTORY LIVE AT MARS MUSIC HALL, HUNTSVILLE, AL

Photo Credit: Myglobalmind

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