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CLUTCH / STINKING LIZAVETA Nottingham Rock City

Posted: February 14th, 2006, by Chris Summerlin

Opening up in the big room at Rock City is not an enviable task. You get about 10 mins to sound check, about 4 inches of room to play in as you squeeze yourself around the headliner and other support bands’ massive amps and every noise you make echoes straight back at you off the walls of the slowly filling room.
The chances of a band rising above this are slim. The chance of them playing one of the best gigs so far this year is next to impossible – which makes Stinking Lizaveta‘s efforts all the more superhuman, as they were amazing at 8 o clock on a Sunday evening.
I’ve seen these Philadelphians before in small rooms and they always put on a show and I always enjoy it but it’s surprising how much sense they make on a massive stage at a ‘proper’ rock gig. Surprising because they have an upright bassist, no vocals to speak of, a female drummer and a guitarist (brother of the bassist) who resembles something from Lord Of The Rings. Interesting enough to fill a small room but not the typical set up for an 18 year old in cut-off denim and a peach fuzz moustache sipping on a nervously-bought cider and waiting for the mosh parts. But people seemed to really get into it.
It’s hard not to though, when the band themselves are so committed. Guitarist Yanni is especially animated, balancing precariously on his amp, leaping around, screaming into his guitar pickups and at one point traversing the whopping Rock City ‘moat’ to strap his guitar onto an unsuspecting girl (after prying it from the hands of a gaggle of wannabe male guitossers) in the front row before returning to the stage to dish out wah-wah apocalypse on us while the girl stood there pawing the instrument. Lizaveta are super arranged, technical metal but by putting so much of themselves into the performance you forget about it, things seem natural, you don’t really try and follow the changes because you follow the people.
Clutch are a band I’ve heard on record plenty but never seen live. On record they have an unnatural heaviness that’s replicated tonight in volume but not in overall sound somehow. They are massively loud but the guitar especially sounds croaky and blubbering. Not to say Clutch don’t rock. They resemble a compressed, more aggressive ZZ Top with Dan Higgs from Lungfish on vocals – complete with bizarre shamanisms and facial hair. But whereas the mighty ‘Top have an elasticity to their rhythms that means I could listen to Frank Beard play a shuffle beat all day, Clutch rely a bit too much on a straight fonky rhythm that never allows them to break out and run. Couple it to the sometimes-overbearing New Orleans-y keyboard sound and it makes too much Clutch a bit hard to take. It’s lucky the sheer vocal presence of Neil Fallon is commanding enough to make it seem like they’re not repeating themselves even when maybe they are.
It was Stinking Lizaveta’s night though.
(Corrosion Of Conformity headlined but I tried to review two gigs in a night and didn’t see them. Here’s what my friend Annie thought: “Dark loud raw R-n-R, played old and new – heavy sounds from the deep” so there you have it!)



Chris Summerlin

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.

http://www.honeyisfunny.com

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