Review: Clutch – O2 Academy, Glasgow

Maryland rockers Clutch kick off their UK tour in support of their new album ‘Sunrise on Slaughter Beach’ at the O2 Academy in Glasgow and I’m here to see them for the first time. Dead excited doesn’t really cut it.

South London’s Green Lung have a lot of hype surrounding them. The emerging doom-laden heavy metal band are still riding high from their 2021 release ‘Black Harvest’ and are out on the road delivering their black sermons. A heady blend of Black Sabbath, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, Ghost and Mercyful Fate, with lyrics leaning heavily on the occult and paganism. Muscular riffs, spooky keyboards, and Iron Maiden-esque guitar solos all get chucked into the cauldron. Opening with ‘Woodland Rites’ it’s clear the Black Sabbath fandom is strong and it doesn’t take the band long to get the audience head banging in unison. ‘Graveyard Son’ is dedicated to Brooke from Black Moon Botanica, an artisan candle maker and occult shop in Edinburgh who is celebrating her birthday. This song is a particular standout in no small part to the utterly epic guitar solo played by Scott Black. With only thirty minutes to warm up the crowd, we only get six songs but it’s enough to convert me from someone that kept walking past the CD in HMV to buying it.

By now the Academy is absolutely packed and the temperature is going up! As the headliners take to the stage the reception is thunderous. There is a lot of love for Clutch in this room and it’s a few moments before they can kick off the first of many many crowd-pleasers.

The drum intro to ‘Impertus’ echoes over the frenzied mob and when singer Neil Fallon walks onstage, the intensity of the crowd increases to the likes I’ve not seen in many years. The place is bouncing along to the heavy riff as Fallon barks his lyrics. The band wastes no time diving straight into ‘Worm Drink’ before Neil addresses everyone; “Thank You Very Much, Glasgow, Friday night what could possibly go wrong?” Next up a song that perfectly describes the reaction ‘The Mob Goes Wild’. Every note, drum hit, and lyric delivered with passion and high speed! Four songs from the latest release ‘Sunrise on Slaughter Beach’ make it into the set and all happen to be my favourites from that album. ‘Slaughter Beach’, Red Alert, Nosferatu Madre’, and ‘3 Golden Horns’ all sit nicely along older material and are naturally lapped up by the fans. Fallon is handed a gift from the front row, “A Maryland flag? Just what I was trying to forget, Thanks!” I detect a hint of sarcasm and he seems to appreciate the gesture.

‘Hot Bottom Feeder’ (a personal highlight for me) sees Neil strapping on his guitar to play the bluesier guitar part to Tim Sult’s riffing. A last-minute change to the set sees the inclusion of ‘A Shotgun Named Marcus’ allowing Clutch to indulge their earlier hard-core style. As far as encores go Clutch knows how to treat us and ‘Electric Worry’, ‘X-Ray Visions’, and ‘Firebirds’ nearly bring the roof down!

It’s a career-spanning set of hits, obscurities, and fan favourites, but it is worth noting nothing from ‘Robot Hive’ or ‘Earth Rocker’ made it into tonight’s set. Having said that, the crowd seems ecstatic having thoroughly gorged on Pure Rock Fury tonight.

Review – Colin Plumb

All images from previous Clutch shows – credit Rob Wilkins

Interview with Tim Sult, here

Remaining UK tour dates:

Nov 15 – Exeter, UK – Great Hall
Nov 16 – Brighton, UK – Brighton Dome

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

Find Clutch Online
Apple Music / Spotify


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