Clutch @ O2 Academy, Glasgow Dec22

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Clutch @ O2 Academy, Glasgow

 

Clutch @ O2 Academy, Glasgow

Well, Clutch finally decided to come back to Glasgow and were rewarded with a sold out show proving they had better upgrade to one of our arenas next time.

Due to the early start I arrived just as openers The Inspector Cluzo were finishing and the sight was pretty awesome. As I walked in all I could hear was some bluesy riffs with a constant chant of “Put your hands in the air with Inspector Cluzo”.

I was surprised to see just two members and even more surprised later to find they have six albums out already. I was also shocked to see the venue completely packed this early and I have to say I have never witnessed such a gathering for an opener in this venue.

The crowd were like zombies, following the stench of brains. The show was just starting as Phil Jourdain started to dismantle his drum kit with a left boot(or finely polished shoe) and the two members got down to jam.

What I saw was brilliant and I will be waiting patiently to see these boys again.

I knew what to expect with next band up The Picturebooks. Again we would see just two members and again it was just drums and guitar but we are looking at a far more extreme concoction.

I had seen the band a few years back also in support and I stood in awe that night so I made sure I was front and centre for when the intro finished and “PCH Diamond” started. The crowd had not moved and everyone was here to hear and take part in the rhythmic start.

The beat continued with “Wardance” and the heat was building up in the audience but none of us were building up a sweat like Philipp Mirtschink, that man is an animal. He is not a drummer, he is a human pneumatic drill. With his hair flying and his huge bass drum pads he has you mesmerised the whole show.

With “Learn the Hard Way” the tempo is building and the crowd are on edge awaiting some sort of signal to go batshit crazy…a signal that came on “Zero Fucks Given”. At this point I had went upstairs to take a few shots and I could not take my eyes of the crowd, it was like the dance/orgy scene out of The Matrix as the bodies all swayed in unison and stuck their fingers in the air. The slide guitar lead into the heavy beat and attitude and to be honest rather than Glasgow’s slogan of “People Make Glasgow” I think “Zero Fucks Given” suits us much better and we sang it as loud as we could.

We only get a short set tonight but I cannot complain as this set was incredible and it was going to make for a difficult task to beat. The Picturebooks may not be able to fill a stage but their sound fills a venue to bursting point and they bow out on the incredible “Your Kisses Burn Like Fire”.

Catch them on this tour or if you cannot make it look out for a headlining tour next year…I want to see this purely to see how they make it through a full set.

It was no surprise to see Clutch out on tour after the release of the brilliant “Book of Bad Decisions”, one of their best albums for a while(if not ever).

It is hard to believe this band dates back to 1991 and I remember when I first heard them I thought what the hell just happened. I was steering clear of grunge back then but this was totally different and the band have been with me ever since.

The crowd tonight were definitely warmed up and ready for “Weird Times” when it started, that groove had us all going from the start and kept us going all night, especially as the band were mixing up songs every night of the tour with a different setlist.

We had no idea what was next but as “is everybody cool” comes forth the place goes wild…and on a side note I think most of America would vote for Neil Fallon as president. If the next song was a request it worked as “The Mob Goes Wild” is next and my pants are adjusted and we are ready to boogie. The stoner sounding anthem went down a treat and the bikers present were in their element.

The riffs come forth, the main man prowls the stage spouting forth his messages that are not so evident at times but nobody here is dissecting them as the groove has taken control. The band go totally against their president(but who isn’t?) with “Open the Border” and it also opens up the pit for a short while as these and crowd surfing has been classed as a no go area tonight with signs all over the venue.

The tone alters for “The Face”, the Sabbath esche sound dies a bit as we get some messages from the soap box/pulpit. We are all waiting on the break down to go crazy and I can assure you we did. I have no idea what it was like on that stage but in the hall it was becoming sweltering and reminded me of the old Glasgow Apollo where I used to run my hands over the walls as I left to feel the sweat running down them.

All too quickly we get to the encore and “In Walks Barbarella”, an absolute beauty of a track and it does what it says on the tin with its weaponised funk. The horns are missing live but the soul is still there and kudos to the guys for putting this one at the end. That just left “Pure Rock Fury” and it finished like it started, crazy, fast and furious.

Clutch deserve to sell out in every town. They have been at the top of their game for over three decades now and as I said showing no sign of letting up. They are every bit as relevant and industrious as when they started and with a live show this good long may they reign.

Images and words Ritchie Birnie

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