It was a cold old evening outside in Birmingham, but the O2 Academy warmed everyone up with some amazing music from Green Lung, Tigercub and the fantastic Clutch doing what they do best.
Clutch – Green Lung – Tigercub
O2 Academy, Birmingham – 14 December 2022
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
Tonight, the main event is the brilliant Clutch, who bring their own brand of blues-orientated rock. From the first note, the crowd sings every word. They kicked off with Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone) and Nosferatu Madre from the new album Sunrise On Slaughter Beach.
Frontman Neil Fallon is a whirlwind of action, pointing and moving around the stage like a caged tiger. The Mob Goes Wild is up next, then straight into X-Ray Visions. Each song blends into the next, and the audience loves it.
Firebirds rolls into another new song, Slaughter Beach, before Burning Beard, after which Fallon says, “Good to see you in an intimate setting,” before romping through Ghoul Wrangler, Earth Rocker and Subtle Hustle.
A guitar is then brought on for Fallon for the new song Mountain Of Bone. On a really sparse stage Tim Sult on lead guitar, Dan Maines on bass, and the brilliant Jean-Paul Gaster on drums and percussion are a real force keeping the rhythms going and some amazing virtuoso performances.
Willie Nelson was followed by another new song, Skeleton On Mars, after which Fallon introduced Per Wiberg onto the stage to play keyboards. Wiberg, the former keyboardist of Swedish Progressive Death Metal band Opeth, stays with them for the rest of the set.
They carry on with Power Play, Mice And Gods, and The Devil & Me. “We want everyone leaving with a smile on their face except me… am in default mode as a cranky fucker,” Fallon says before finishing their set with Jackhammer Our Names.
Returning for the encore, Fallon announces, “we needed a keyboard to play this, and it just so happens we have a keyboard here tonight,” before launching into 10001110101. A brilliant slide guitar intro leads into the amazing Electric Worry, a classic blues/rock track that has everyone jigging and singing along.
Clutch finished with The Face. A brilliant set by a brilliant band, and long may Clutch continue to rock our world.
You can read/watch our interview with Neil Fallon here.
Green Lung are a psychedelic/occult rock quintet based out of London, drawing from occult and pagan themes, along with folklore, myths and legends of Britain. They started with the title track of their first album Woodland Rites, and this proved to be a brilliant start to their set.
Vocalist Tom Templar has a really powerful voice which compliments their powerful sound. He gesticulates and storms around the stage. Green Lung were then into Leaders Of The Blind from their latest and second album Black Harvest, alternating tracks between albums throughout the set.
The whole band are a really tight-knit outfit, producing a fantastic sound leaning on their themes with spellbinding lyrics and the great weaving of John Wright’s Organ playing and Scott Black’s guitar playing. Next are The Ritual Tree, Graveyard Sun and the stunning Old Gods.
The Academy crowd loves them and reacts to Templar’s every move. They finish the set with some good old-fashioned occult rock with Reapers Scythe and Let The Devil In. Green Lung are destined for big things over the next couple of years.
The openers were Tigercub, a Brighton-based three-piece who provided a strong performance. The set leant heavily on their latest album, As Blue As Indigo. Starting with the new song Favourite Song, Jamie Stephen Hall’s vocals and guitar playing are the focal point of Tigercub, and he cuts a dashing figure on stage.
Then it’s a couple from their latest album – Sleepwalker and Blue Mist In My Head – giving drummer James Allix and bassist Jimi Wheelwright the chance to provide an impressive backbeat to their sound.
The new single, The Perfume Of Decay, was brilliant, and Tigercub sounds like they are moving forward with purpose. Stop Beating On My Heart (Like A Bass Crum) left Tigercub to finish with the amazing track Beauty to round off a great set and a nice opening to the evening.