at O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., April 22, 2014

On their last visit to these shores, Clutch supported Thin Lizzy round the corner at the legendary City Hall. With their latest album Earth Rocker garnering rave reviews they returned for an extensive run of dates running the length and breadth of the country.

Their show in Newcastle was the opening night of their European tour and the final leg of their yearlong treck in support of Earth Rocker. Joining them along the way were the recent signings to Clutch’s very own Weather Maker Music label, Lionize.

Lead singer Nate Bergman enthused prior to the show about their first ever date on UK soil and his enthusiasm spilled over into a spirited 45 minute opening slot that was both complimentary and varied to the headliners.


Built around the granite hard, rasping vocals of Bergman, the funked up bass of Henry Upton and the stabbing Hammond organ of Chris Brooks, this was big on groove and heavy on guitar. As a band who cover a lot of ground musically and wear their diverse influences with pride, Lionize combine a potent blend of Hard Rock, Blues, Funk, Reggae and a few other influences for good measure. Their recently released album Jetpack Soundtrack is their most diverse yet most direct release to date with the super Funky “Breather” being the perfect example of the Hammond organ driven groove that makes their album so thrilling.

On album the songs are more compact but live Lionize spread out and show their chops coming across at times as a intoxicating mix of Mountain jamming with Deep Purple Mark III backed by Sly and the Family Stone. Watch out for Lionize as Jetpack Soundtrack will be the album that breaks them out to the next level.

Packing a punch that few can match Earth Rocker sees Clutch releasing their best album in over two decades of consistently impressive records and with a healthy eight of the albums eleven tracks being featured on stage, the band clearly think so too.

ClutchAs a rabid Neil Fallon launches headlong into “Crucial Velocity” stalking the stage like a demented preacher, Clutch show their class right from the word go. While Fallon takes centre stage the contribution of the rest of the band cannot be understated.

Drummer Jean Paul Gaster packs one Godzilla sized groove backed by the Funk driven bass of Dan Maines. While guitarist Tim Sult may have the appearance of shy retiring librarian hidden beneath a low hanging cap, his Gibson spits out towering riffs and glorious wah soaked solo’s with “The Mob Goes Wild” ticking all the boxes.

When the band lock in tight during the cowbell clanking Funk fest of “DC Sound Attack” it is truly an earth-shaking moment. Fallon’s love of DC Go-go and Chuck Brown’s Trouble Funk clearly evident on the grooveilicious mid song jam.

A wonderfully understated “Gone Cold” allowed the band space to breath and “Electric Worry” getting down to some pure dirty Blues while “Unto The Breach” saw them at hardest, face punching best


Clutch’s minimalist no frills stage set actually enhanced the show. No distractions or side shows were needed here with the band on such fiery form. Fallon said prior to the show that the band were a little jet-lagged and may take a show or two to find their stride. If this is Clutch finding their stride then who knows how potent they’ll be in a couple of nights time.

ClutchFor too long now Clutch have remained a cult favourite loved by fans and musicians alike. Their refusal to compromise or chase trends has ensured their credibility has remained intact throughout their career. Earth Rocker and the follow up planned for early 2015 might well see them step out of the shadows to take their rightful place at Rock’s top table.



  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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