GIG REVIEW: Clutch, Lionize & Valient Thorr Live at Birmingham Institute
And here we are, my final gig of 2016 and consequently my final gig review of the year. I’ve been to a lot of gigs this year (The Black Dahlia Murder, Metal Church, Amon Amarth, Machine Head, Bullet for My Valentine, and many more), but to conclude the year I went to see American groove titans Clutch, being supported by opening bands Lionize and Valient Thorr.
The first band to perform were Lionize, a hard rock band composed of a singer/guitarist, bassist, drummer and keyboardist. I’m going to be honest here: I had never heard of this band before this gig which is a positive in some ways because it presents the possibility to be pleasantly surprised, which has happened with “unknown” support bands in the past. That being said, the band played perfectly well and were quite enjoyable granted how little I knew about them beforehand. They were a good way to start the night off, in my opinion.
Up next was Valient Thorr, who was again another band I hadn’t heard of prior to attending this show (please forgive me for that). What initially struck me about this band in particular was the fact that all of the members (except for the drummer) exhibited fantastic on-stage charisma and energy, particularly the frontman. While their actual music itself did not click with me as much as that of the previous band Lionize, they were still a pleasure to watch. The only negative was that I felt the singer rambled on a bit too much in between songs. More music less chat please – that’s why we’re here after all.
Finally, it was time to witness the live concert spectacle of Clutch. What a wicked way to end the year when it comes to seeing rock bands in the flesh. A 100-minute set filled to the brim with arguably the finest examples of music in terms of what that style has to offer. Finally getting to see “The Regulator”, “Electric Worry” and “X-Ray Visions” live was so brilliant, which made the multi-year wait since I discovered Clutch through an episode of The Walking Dead so worth it. But while they didn’t blow me away like some bands I’ve seen this year did (Behemoth…), Clutch were just great fun, which is what you need sometimes at a show. It was just fantastic entertainment to round the year off, before I venture back into gig venues in February to see Black Sabbath. Yeah that’s right, Black Sabbath. Be jealous.
There are some gigs you go to and they end up being a “before and after” moment in your musical life purely based off how unspeakably good they were, and there are other shows that are just straight forward enjoyable rock shows. This was the latter, which while seem like a negative to some, is a positive in the most wholehearted way possible. Clutch, Valient Thorr and Lionize were all wicked. If this trend of great gigs continues in 2017, then I cannot wait for it.
P.S. Some guy was brushing his teeth in the crowd during Valient Thorr. I don’t think I’ve seen a more bizarre thing at a show, ever.