CLUTCH have created bad-ass, blues driven hard-rock for almost 22 years and as we see them headline in the biggest venue they have ever played on Irish soil, you can’t help but have a smile on your face. Tonight we were treated to a line up that is all about cracking open a beer and letting go of your daily woes, as CLUTCH bring PLANET OF ZEUS and our very own The Mighty Stef, along for the ride.
Taking to the stage shortly after the doors open is The Mighty Stef, who brings with him his band of misfits and rock n’ roll stragglers! A sparsely populated Olympia sticks with front man Stefan Murphy, as he bashes out his trade mark low husky vocals over catchy, well constructed songs. The Might Stef deliver a captivating set, that pleases the slowly increasing capacity of the venue. Having only played the Bataclan venue in Paris, three weeks earlier to this show, where the tragic terrorist attacks took place on November 13th at the Eagles Of Death Metal, Stefan reminds us that we should enjoy life, love rock n’ roll and remember our friends and families. A poignant statement for the rest of the night and one that should be remembered at all times. Finishing on a high, The Mighty Stef, bid farewell and make way for the mighty Planet Of Zeus! (3.5 / 5)
Hailing from Athens, Greece, Planet Of Zeus waste no time in dropping riffs that smolder from the venues PA system. Front man, Babis Papanikolaou is no stranger to grabbing the audience by the balls and taking them on a mountain-heavy journey, through the bands 15 year history. New album “Vigilante” has attracted the eyes and ears of international press and it would see that the effects have made the band even tighter than when we saw them level Bloodstock earlier this year. See review here. (4.5 / 5)
As curiosity grows, so does the number of banging heads and horns held high in the now rammed on the main floor of the theater. Winning over fans with each key change and pounding guitar chugging, Planet of Zeus are proving to be one hell of a band, that immerse their everything into each performance and giving the fact that they are an independent band, who self release their own albums, their connection between each other is undeniable and visibly tight. Tracks from Macho Libre make an appearance with Vanity Suit being a particular highlight of the performance. Keep an eye on these guys, as big things are inevitable. (4.5 / 5)
As with every Clutch show, we have no idea what they are going to start with, let alone play during their set list. Tonight we were treated to the infectious “X-Ray Visions” which see’s vocalist Neil Fallon in full on groove-attack mode. Stalking the center of the stage like a possessed preacher, Fallon hits the notes with his trademark charismatic presence with the help of the always spectacular performance from sticks-man, Jean Paul Gaster.
Another slab of piping hot brilliance comes in the form of ‘Firebirds’, which seems to have made an appearance in the set a little too early, but none-the less is fantastic! How do you top an opening with that? Well, with ‘Cyborg Bette’ and ‘Burning Beard’ that’s how!
Sounding warm and well oiled, Clutch push on with, ‘A Quick Death in Texas’, ‘Doom Saloon’ and the outstanding, ‘Our Lady of Electric Light’. It’s a little strange to see Clutch in a venue of this size, as I’ve only seen them in sweaty clubs, so the experience is a little strange. Almost like seeing your friend all cleaned up and wearing a suite for the first time!
With a now packed venue, the opening notes for “Earth Rocker’, come fast and burning hot, much to the delight of tonight’s capacity. Neil is a man of few words between songs, but why would you need to talk, when you have hot slices of audio genius up your sleeve? A blast from the past comes in the form of ‘Spacegrass’, which just levels the place and inspires arms in the air chanting and mud-slide riffs from the magnificent Tim Sult.
With the Clutch engine now fully warmed up, we are treated to ‘D.C. Sound Attack!, Decapitation Blues, Son of Virginia’ and ‘Gravel Road’. All of which do exactly what expected, before an encore consisting of ‘The Mob Goes Wild’ and ” The Wolf Man Kindly Requests…”
Tonight’s performance had all the right ingredients, however there was something that seemed a little underwhelming about it all. Even though each song is executed with precision, a certain ‘something’ was lost in translation between band and audience tonight. That electrifying magic that usually pulses through the air when Clutch perform, proved a little elusive at times, most likely due to the size and layout of the venue.
All in all, Clutch threw down a zero bullshit set of blistering toe-tappers that turned the fancy surroundings of the iconic Olympia Theatre into your local dive bar for a few moments here and there and that in itself, is quiet an accomplishment in its own right. (4.6 / 5)
1. X-Ray Visions
3. Cyborg Bette
4. Burning Beard
5. A Quick Death in Texas
6. Doom Saloon
7. Our Lady of Electric Light
8. Earth Rocker
9. Cypress Groove
10. Nobel Savage
11. Your Love is Incarceration
13. D.C Sound Attack!
14. Decapitation Blues
15. Son of Virginia
16. Gravel Road
17. The Mob Goes Wild
18. The Wolf Man Kindly Requests
Check out our interview with Tim Sult, coming next week!
Words – Oran O’Beirne
All Photography – Down The Barrel Photography
© OVERDRIVE 2015
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CLUTCH – DUBLIN’S OLYMPIA 20/11/2015
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