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Review: Clutch at Newcastle 02 Academy

American hard rockers Clutch were in Newcastle on the first night of the UK tour. Simon Rushworth was there

American hard rockers Clutch
American hard rockers Clutch

Clutch are the very antithesis of the modern music business.

No fly-by-night instant success story, it’s taken the American alternative rockers a quarter of a century to attain critical acclaim and commercial success and where better to kick off their biggest UK tour to date than in Newcastle?

With 2013’s award-winning album Earth Rocker delivering long-awaited global recognition, Clutch can finally enjoy the fruits of their labours – investing in bigger shows, better merchandise and a record label that signed fellow Maryland natives Lionize last year.

The 70s-inspired quartet evoked memories of classic Cream, Deep Purple, Zeppelin and Sabbath as they raced through an organ-fuelled support set with supreme confidence. It seems Clutch have an ear for a good band as well as a great album.

Earth Rocker featured prominently in a set perfectly tailored to the nodding pogonophiles relishing every muddy riff and blazing solo.

Clutch have channeled more than two decades of experience and finally unlocked their inner appeal with their recipe for groove-laden rock a delicious main course.

The title track from The Elephant Riders, cult classic One Eye Dollar and Pure Rock Fury paid homage to early creativity but it was the 10th anniversary celebration of Blast Tyrant that really captured the imagination and sparked a frenzied reaction. Five choice cuts – including encore favourite Profits Of Doom – from that Clutch classic almost eclipsed the best of Earth Rocker.

However, it’s testimony to the power, focus and ubiquitous appeal of the band’s most recent album that it comfortably stole the show alongside so many sparkling standards. Confident enough to close the main set with The Wolf Man Kindly Requests… - and cap the encore with the anthemic Unto The Breach - it’s clear a band on a roll knows where its strengths lie in 2014.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
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