By Jon Jarrett
Well, I did Brighton (may be no surprise to some of you...) and it was quite good. The venue, the Concorde II, had changed a bit since I was last in it to see Porcupine Tree a few years back. Not only changed, but moved about half a mile further down the sea front. Since it used to essentially be a beach cafe, and is now, apparently, an erstwhile tea-room and mini-theatre, this is not a bad thing, and the sound system was bloody good. On the other hand they had no real beer at all, except Newky Brown which was 3 pounds twenty a bottle. I stopped drinking quite early on. Anyhow.
We arrived in time for the last few numbers by a local band called Killing Mode. Some kind of attempt to be a hard-core high-speed Iron Monkey without the sludge quotient. The bass player was a loony who never stopped moving, and despite looking Neanderthal got a lot of well-timed notes out; the guitarist looked like a taller Will with a Satanic goatee, and the drummer was invisible and not as good. The vocalist was a fat bastard in a football shirt and I couldn't take him at all seriously. If they were the only people doing it they might go somewhere but as it is they're not and they'll never be seen outside the town.
Followed by Landmine Spring. I'm sorry, LANdMINE sPRING. Hmph. I had to admit that I didn't completely dislike this but largely because they seemd to have a very clear sense of what they were doing. Again the guitarist and bass-player had the talent, they seemed to be being played by the song, everyone else was trying to stay with it. Vocalist actually not a bad voice which he misused horribly in best nu-metal style. Also seemed to be on some very odd drugs. both he and the previous vocalist in fact, never stopped pacing about at high speed, I guess it was benzdrine, anyway, they were nothing to write home about really.
Next up, Candiria. Okay, I may not know much about this metal malarkey. But I can't agree with Jimmer that they're shite. I was bloody impressed. Not slabs of rap and funk, but short four-bar sections of them, and not just rap and funk but bursts of lounge music, theatrical feedback, atmospheric space guitar, goth even, all got whisked in and out of a thoroughly eye-opening performance full of sudden changes and odd intervals. Art-thrash, if you will. Zappa would have had to concede some tehcnical merit to it. The bass-player in particular dominated the stage, thoroughly enjoying himself in the easy bits and being calm and satisfied during the difficult bits. The vocalist, I had two problems with, well, three. Firstly the pants that Jimmer mentions, clearly designed to be visible as he kept adjusting the waistline of his shorts (Neil Fallon almost only performer not wearing shorts this night) so as to keep the pants showing. Secondly, I couldn't hear the words because he was being 'fashionable'. But I can't hear the words when Lemmy sings either so hey. Thirdly, he looked like the drill sergeant in An Officer and a Gentleman. The drummer was excellent and had some evil device which he worked with his left-foot for a machine-gun-fire attack on the kick-drum. Both guitarists were thoroughly competent and everyone was clearly enjoying themselves being good enough to do what they were doing. I may (and given what they actually *sound* like, this is a serious concession) have to get an album or two of theirs.
But let's face it, I wasn't there for thrash. I could have stayed home and waited for WUS </grat.flame>. I was there for Clutch, and Clutch we got. Neil Fallon announced that he would be swimming to France after the gig if anyone wanted to join him and I noticed that everyone seemed to have lost weight. Jean-Paul Gaster looked young again, and Tim Sult looked extremely ill, since he'd lost it round the middle but not the shoulders or face and overall he did not look or play like a well man. Lots of feedback and fuzz and very little in the way of notes. One-trick pony was what sprang to mind. I hope he gets better again.
Anyway, the set went like this: the order isn't right but this is what they played (bar 'Shogun' which I'm guessing from what Sherman tried to yell in my ear when it started as I don't own it):
Pure Rock Fury
Raised By Horses
Careful With That Mic...
<new song, went all the way up and all the way down a lot, like a series of hills taken in a high-speed tank> [Jimmer's note: it's called "Sea Of Destruction"]
The Great Outdoors
Big News I -;> Who Wants To Rock -> Big News II
Red Horse Rainbow
A Shogun Named Marcus
Open Up The Border
There was no encore, which considering there was half an hour left on the schedule was a bit disappointing. Everything was good, of course, though Tim Sult got rather better when he changed guitars, and rather worse again when the old one came back supposedly fixed. Jean-Paul Gaster amazing as usual, the only one in the band to get a solo spot as ever and they know what they're doing with that choice. Rhythm faultless throughout, vocals great (bar one slight elision in 'Careful...' but give the man a break, all right! It's a difficult song!), everything else good when Tim's guitar was working/being worked. It was Clutch at about ninety per cent, I guess, and that's got to be worth seeing.