Clutch - LIVE: The Rock, Copenhagen 2011

Fall Tour
November 19 (22:45-00:30)
Capacity 600

Of late Clutch's European activity has been squeezing headlining club shows around trips to undertake either high-profile support slots (the next one being with Thin Lizzy in the UK) or a run of festival appearances. This show at Copenhagen's The Rock, which has since closed down, came amongst shows opening for Volbeat in mainland Europe.

The Copenhagen show as actually the last of a nine-date run through Scandinavia, all opened by Swedish blues rock band Kamchatka, whose vocalist/guitarist Thomas Andersson is also part of King Hobo with Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and Spirtual Beggars/Mojobone keyboardist Per Wiberg. Kamchatka enjoyed a 45-minute set giving them time to pick tracks from all four of their albums, including newest disc Bury Your Roots. Their expert playing and enthusiastic energy went down well with the packed venue, but the stage at The Rock is a strange one, and it does spoil performances a little.

About one third of the way across the stage is a concret pillar. This means that whoever stands on the left of the stage, Thomas Andersson in Kamchatka's case, and later guitarist Tim Sult in Clutch's, spends the entire set completely obscured from view for around half of the venue. For some unluckily positioned fans, even their view of front-man Neil Fallon will have been blocked by the pillar. The stage is also too small for much movement, so that situation barely changes all evening.

The Clutch members take turns to choose the setlist each night, and whoever was in charge that evening decided they would do nothing but big grooves for an hour-and-three-quarters. Aside from Soapmakers, nearly every one of Clutch's biggest riffs was pulled out, including Big News I and Big News II, Spacegrass, Cypress Grove and new slide blues workout Pig Town Blues. They also like to throw surprises in for seasoned fans, this time in the shape of surprise opener Slow Hole To China, and later Minotaur from most recent album Strange Cousins From The West. All in all their song selection was near-flawless, right down to the acoustic versions of Basket of Eggs and Tight Like That in the encore, both of which are better than the original electric versions.

If it hadn't been for the difficult venue (the acoustics aren't up to much either) this would have been one of THE shows of the year. Clutch were simply on fire and rolled out grooving jam after grooving jam well past midnight. They deserve more than just occasional short headlining runs and being relegated to support sets and low festival slots. But their profile is certainly rising, and shows like this will have done them no harm whatsoever.

“ nothing but big grooves ”

Kamchatka Setlist: ? / Breathe / No / Daddy Says / T.V. Blues / Before Things Get Rough / ?

Clutch Setlist: Slow Hole To China / 50,000 Unstoppable Watts / Struck Down > Pure Rock Fury / Minotaur / Newt Gingrich / Cypress Grove / Spacegrass / ?? / Pig Town Blues / Gravel Road > Burning Beard / Abraham Lincoln / Big News I > Big News II / The Yeti > The Devil & Me // Tight Like That (Acoustic) / Basket of Eggs (Acoustic) / Electric Worry > One Eye Dollar

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2011, Albums, Gigs, Southern, Stoner,

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