When the doors opened in the Limelight for Clutch, and support band Lionize, the groups slowly gathered, spread out and then went to find the best spots to enjoy the night. When Lionize came promptly to the stage to set up the room livened up immediately, the groups merged as one and the now growing crowd was buzzing for the show to begin.
Lionize played with the familiarity of the 70s greats, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath are the clearest influences to be heard. With the likeness of Wolfmother, but being heavier and edgier, this four piece produced a nice mix of progressive, reggae and rock ladened with synth and effects, creating a very psychedelic feel throughout the performance. Engaging with the crowd, flowing ceaselessly from one song to the next, Lionize left no dead air on stage as they powered through the set, captivating the audience and getting heads to thrash. Sounding clear and pristine, with a lot of practise behind them, the rough vocals of Nate Bergman coupled with the methodical madness from bass, keyboard, drums and guitar, gave a feast for the ears that did nothing if not entertain and warm up the crowd.
Clutch arrived on stage to an introduction of a jazz, funk rap song, which only confused and interested me more to see what would follow. Clutch were greeted with cheers screaming into the air. Playing old hits and testing some new songs from their latest album, Earth Rocker, the response was consistently high from the audience, songs like ‘The Regulator’, or the apparent crowd favourite, ‘Electric Worry’, got heads banging and hands waving. Between songs lead singer Neil Fallon interacted with the crowd flawlessly, telling tales and reminiscing of past tours, the mark of a veteran performer who knows how to move with the crowd and get them riled up to ecstatic heights throughout each song.
Once or twice there were moments of dead air on stage, these slight lapses were breached quickly enough though with a heavy start to another lengthy session of songs. Coming off the stage for a brief while to return for an extended encore set, Clutch proved to be resilient in wanting to stop and could probably have gone long into the night. Rough and groggy vocals combined with a guitar styled closely to Jimmy Paige for the most part, mulled over hard hitting drums and sweeping bass riffs, everything about Clutch that night was well played, well organised and well received. Joe Smyth, GiggingNI.com