London Highbury Garage

Unfortunately, neither the riffs nor the band have aged well.

[a]Clutch[/a] are four greasy fat dudes from Maryland USA, who live on a diet of Kentucky Fried Chicken and beer. They sweat a lot, have beards and make heavy rock music. They’re also responsible for inventing the riff that every single nu-metal band in the world has based its career on.

Back in 1993, it was the greatest riff you’d ever heard and [a]Clutch[/a] were one of underground rock’s coolest bands. Unfortunately, neither the riffs nor the band have aged well. Tonight, [a]Clutch[/a] start their set with a load of songs that sound like the Fun Lovin’ Criminals – all ‘funky’ basslines and hoarse white-boy rapping. It’s not why we came here.

Neil Fallon is still a great frontman, stalking the stage like an overweight boxer, but given the lacklustre new material, even he’s struggling to kick out the jams. But when they play songs from their incredible ‘Passive Restraints’ EP, it all makes sense again. Fallon growls, “My father was Black/My mother was Decker/Believe me, my friend, it doesn’t get any better” and you realise ‘the riff’ sounds better in [a]Clutch[/a]’s hands than anyone else’s.

Sadly, songs like these are few and far between and we end tonight’s performance on an interminably dull jam that’s neither heavy or intense. When those two adjectives don’t come into the equation, [a]Clutch[/a] have little else to offer.