Tag Archives: Clutch

ALIVE N’ KICKIN’ 2013

Let’s go on with the best of this year.

Checking my daily planner I’ve counted  approximately 46 shows (probably some more I forgot to write down), and 4 festivals attended: Primavera Sound (2/3 days), Kristonfest, Cruïlla, and Siberia. Compared to previous years I’ve been more relaxed this 2013 at the time of choosing which bands to see.

The variety of live shows available in Barcelona is huge lately, hard to cope with, and there are on one hand very expensive tickets for barely 1 hour performances, and on the other hand promoters booking small bands every 6 months which eventually get audience bored. Personally speaking, I reckon those promoters should look after both the bands and the potential audience to start with, assume more risks bringing different bands, and start seeking for sold out shows at less benefit which will ensure bands to feel like coming back and achieve fans loyalty for future shows. Of course I’m not a promoter, and I don’t put my money on the table, but I’ve attended shoes enough as to assure a sold out show for 10 Eur/ticket rules much more than a half empty venue for 22 Wur7ticket, if you understand me. Considering the tight and hard times we’re going through live music must me supported and audience encouraged, and not the other way.

Once this said, let’s talk about my top 5 favorite live shows of the year.

NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE, Àrenes de Nîmes

neil young

The best show for obvious reasons. You never know when it’ll be the last time you will be able to attend one of his shows, plus this time he was accompanied by his pals, as I had seen them the first time in 1996. Promoters in Spain don’t think it’s worth taking the risk bringing him here, thus we had to move our asses to France. The whole experience was tiring yet very cool, as some guys in Girona hired a mini coach for the trip, and 20 people met by chance only moved by our love for the musician. Patti Smith opened for him offering a surprising excellent show, and then the boss came onto stage and made the old stones of les arenes, vibrate with his tunes.

CLUTCH, Music Hall (BCN)

Even though the set list was reduced due to the early curfew imposed by the venue, the atmosphere, the crowd, the band, the attitude and the powerful songs, and of course, the wonderful companion, contribute to turn this show into something memorable. I felt the fan scent I was missing, the passion and the excitement, and I went crazy.

VALIENT THORR, Razzmatazz 3 (BCN)

sadat n nitewish

Every time I see these guys on stage I have a crush, really. They are so powerful and straight and on the other hand so good at interacting with the audience, their shows are a blast. I loved ther previous show in 2012 in Madrid, and this one was excellent. There were some friends who had attended the show just because who finished very enthusiastic about the experience.

THE SWORD, Razzmatazz 3 (BCN)

I was pretty sick of my stomach and had been sleeping 18 hours straight because I felt like shit, so I wasn’t at my best for the show, but as soon as Kyle Shutt started playing his riffs and the crows d started headbanging uniformly as a respond I started to feel better and better and enjoyed lots.

Can’t wait to see them again soon. Here’s their show at the Hellfest few days earlier, so you can get an idea.

ORANGE GOBLIN, Kristonfest (BIO)

chris and toi

What can I say? I’ve attended to their shows since 1998 and always claimed their live act is solid and amusing. Any time I get the chance to see them I’ll be there. I reckon their show at Kristonfest was superior than the previous I had attended years ago at Azkena Rock Festival. No doubt A Eulogy for The Damned has been a great pusher to finally get more recognition and attention, although here in Spain they haven’t been booked for playing at venues yet. A pity.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring up. At the moment there are already several awesome shows ahead: Monster Magnet, Red Fang, The Wildhearts…We’ll see.

 

MY TOTAL 13

Happy holidays to y’all!

Once the few family Xmas commitments successfully finished, it’s time I start focusing on closing this 2013. I’m gonna start with the easiest part, which is the list of my 13 favorite album releases.

I reckon this year has been marked by harder sounds and styles compared to the last years. Somehow it seems that my current mood is also looking for more energy in music. Truth is that, as usual, there are many albums I haven’t listened to yet and perhaps with the passing of time the list would change, but right now these are the albums I’ve been enjoying most this strange 2013.

13. VALIENT THORR: OUR OWN MASTERS

vt

Rage and pure energy, Valient Himself and his guys nailed it once again with this album. Lyrics with message, so to speak, wrapped in exploding riffs and superfast speed. Very happy I could attend another of their burning shows last month.

12. SUN & SAIL CLUB: MANNEQUIN

ssc

This is the project of Scott Thomas Reeder, Kyuss former bass player, Bob Balch and Scott Reeder (the drummer) of Fu Manchu. Vocoder robotic voice melodies can prevent some people from loving this album which is a masterpiece of powerful riffs, intense bass lines and kickin’ ass drums. Respect for the veterans!

11. TOUCHÉ AMORÉ: IS SURVIVED BY

touche amore

Post-hardcore bands are not within my usual range of music, however some of them manage to step into my universe from time to time. This time was Touché Amoré, recommended by my dear friend (and mentor) Jordi, personally and through the magazine. Confessional lyrics, lots of yelling, weird writing, but with an overwhelming intensity.

10. MONSTER MAGNET: LAST PATROL

last patrol

The return of Dave Wyndorf and his gang to the fields of psicodelia. I had the chance to interview the leader for Rockzone magazine and thanks to his explanations and remarks I could enjoy the album even more. As a whole, as a journey, some sort of confession of experience and release of emotions. There are great songs such as ‘Paradise’ or ‘The Duke (of Supernature)’ of ‘I Live Behind The Clouds’. A great comeback superior to their previous releases. Can’t wait to see their show in February.

9. NEKO CASE: THE WORSE THINGS GET, THE HARDER I FIGHT, THE HARDER I FIGHT , THE MORE I LOVE YOU

neko case

This is the hardest album of the artist and the most confessional. She leaves the story telling aside and focuses on expressing what’s she’s going through, marked by the loss of important members of her family, and a state of depression she eventually underwent to for some time. it is Neko, the woman, the human being here, you can feel closer to her, identified with some of her songs. ‘Man’, ‘Nearly Midnight, Honolulu’, ‘Calling Cards’ are thrilling.

8. ORANGE GOBLIN: A EULOGY FOR THE FANS

eulogy

This live album is the celebration of the success achieved with their last and most solid up to date studio album A Eulogy For The Damned. The only BUT I find here is that sound doesn’t capture their performance 100%, but still it’s a good document to confirm that not only their at their best moment but also that the Brits are a live band.

7. AMERICAN SHARKS

american sharks

This crazy trio from Texas blew my mind with their single ‘Overdrive’ and reached my thrashy side with their debut album. Every time I have a dj session I play one of their songs. Energy and fun, sometimes they remind me of Gluecifer for some reason. Wish I can see them playing in Spain in 2014.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2013/09/19/the-power-of-a-single/

6. DANNY & THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD: STAY TRUE

danny

I feel ashamed for not having written about this wonderful album already, because it deserves a special attention and I don’t think many people are aware of this wonderful work. I couldn’t find the proper time or the mood to write about it as a week album, however I’ve been constantly listening to them when looking for a realm of peace and relax. Danny and the Champs leave the Bruce Springsteen formula so present in Hearts & Arrows and focus on more rooted sounds.

5. MICHAEL MONROE: HORNS & HALOS

hh

The blonde Finnish is a God of some kind. every time he releases a new album everybody’s expections end up completely fulfilled. This time I was a bit afraid of the change from Ginger Wildheart to Dregen of Backyard Babies as the main guitar and writer, but the result has been very positive, in fact Horns & Halos is superior to Dregen’s first solo album which has left me completely indifferent and not interested at all. Listening to any Monroe’s album means feeling  something inside you unsettled, which at the end of the day you realize it’s the need for partying crying for good times. I don’t understand the reckless energy of the singer, and I don’t care. I just take it as it comes and enjoy the most of it.

4. RED FANG: WHALES AND LEECHES

whales and leeches

No need to comment much about this album after what I wrote. It’s brutal and can’t stop listening to it. I really needed this badass music in my life. Exactly one month remaining for their show in Barcelona. I know it’s gonna be insane.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2013/11/10/album-of-week-45-whales-and-leeches/

3. HEY! HELLO!

heyhello

Ginger is a sort of Kind midas in music, but fortunately every project he starts is worth listening and the results are usually great. This time teaming up with Victoria Liedtke, he’s surprised the fans with more partying and very fresh tunes, and perhaps it’s been the key to retake and resuscitate his main son, The Wildhearts.

Hey! Hello! will open for The Wildhearts in April and I’ll be at The Electric Ballroom to tell you about it. it’s gonna be awesome, probably one of the best 2014 shows.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2013/08/29/album-of-week-32-hey-hello/

2. CLUTCH: EARTH ROCKER

earth rocker

Clutch has been the greatest discovery of this year. They’ve become a complete reference and have also awaken the spirit of the fan which was a bit in stagnation. Earth Rocker came demolishing and I devoured it with devoted passion. The impact of the self titled single on my was one of the most intense I remember in the last years. It left me breathless, and when I recovered I had the full album which was an injection of energy I really needed. I also relate the album to many personal highlights this year, among others writing for Rockzone magazine and coming back to the company I had been fired from last year.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2013/03/19/album-of-weeks-10-11-earth-rocker/

1. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE: …LIKE A CLOCKWORK

Well, after not so much thinking I’ve finally reached the conclusion that Like a Clockwork is my favorite album of the year.

like

It was an instant crush since the very beginning and has been settling throughout these months. When I first listened to the album I compared the experience as dating someone you idolize, therefore now I could regard my relationship with the album as a consolidated. Yeah, we’re a couple, we can flirt with others but at the end of the day it will be Like a Clockwork the one I’ll always choose.

Josh Homme has improved not only his singing but also his writing, and his evolution, very criticized by many of his fans in Kyuss, is fascinating from my point of view. Probably ‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory’ is my favorite song of the year, but I love the whole album and regard it as an indivisible unit.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2013/05/17/like-a-clockwork/

THE DAY I GOT PUBLISHED

A couple of months ago I got the chance to attend a great festival in Bilbao and  write the review for July-August issue of Rockzone Magazine. Needless to say, when the bosses handed me a copy with hot Josh Homme on the cover and I discovered my review occupied almost a full page I got immensely happy for the achievement and very proud of myself.

Rockzone-julio-agosto-2013

Truth is that it’s not the first time some of my reviews are published on a real and physical magazine, however  because I was talking about one of my favorite bands whose members are friends from my London years, this article was very special to me.

You know summer is being too warm, crazy and very very busy, so to be honest I haven’t found the proper moment to translate what I wrote until this evening. I hope you like it even though it might miss some of the “Spanish” essence and style, but at least I think you’ll get the picture of the experience. and those who’d like to read it in Spanish, please, don’t be stingy and buy it. I promise to sign it before I become famous, inaccessible and a prick 😉

kristonfest rockzone

In February, when Kristonfest confirmed British band Orange Goblin to be part of the line up this year, next to Clutch, Truckfighters and Karma to Burn, who unfortunately cancelled just 10 days before the show, I didn’t think twice and arranged a flashtrip to Bilbao.  No matter how many times I’ve seen the band led by Ben Ward -last time was at Sonisphere in 2012-, the opportunity of enjoying one of their powerful shows at a venue such as Santana27 for the first time in Spain, was an irresistible bait. No doubt it was a rad lineup for all the stoner fans.

Therefore on Saturday, suffering a (light) hangover after Clutch show at Music Hall in Barcelona the night before, relieved with the help of some beers and pintxos, we arrived at the venue.

Surprisingly Truckfighters, the Swedish championed by QOTSA, had started with beyond British punctuality, so we couldn’t enjoy the actual startup of the fest. Even though many more had been caught by surprise, when we arrived you could feel the party atmosphere, with the audience in high spirits all the time. However, even though the band sounds pretty solid and powerful, there’s something worng. They wanna be but they’re not able to be. They have good songs but these are not overwhelming, and even thought their live performance is quite acceptable, but they couldn’t blow our heads at all.

During their set we really missed Karma To Burn, an absence wisely handled by the organization of the fest, affecting positively to the most interesting shows extending their act.

Orange Goblin opened their set with Red Ride Tiding, the first song of their terrific last studio album A Eulogy for the Damned, which has caught the attention of many people, and has confirmed they’re enjoying their best moment. Their set list was mostly based on their last work, including Acid Trial, The Fog or The Filthy and the Few, but had room for classic songs such as Quincy the Pigboy, Some You Win Some You Lose, Time Travelling Blues or Blue Snow. They didn’t give us a break, and the audience was getting nutter thanks to the huge and exultant frontman, who was cheering everybody up nonstop. No doubt Ward is the most outstanding member of Orange Goblin for obvious reasons, but Joe Hoare’s work on guitar is impressive. There were sound issues at the beginning of the show, but luckily everything was improving. I’ll never get tired of repeating the Brits are a 100% live band.

Finally the main course was delivered by Clutch. We were all ready to face what was coming, and some of us were playing in advantage as we had seen them earlier that week in Madrid or Barcelona, but the show they performed got Santana27 crazy as I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  Perfect sound, Neil Fallon completely out of control, , and a bombing proof set list  to keep us breathless. Crucial Velocity, Cyborg Bette, groovie Mr. Freedom, and Book, Saddle & Go as the first part of the show, blew our heads. Once on the track, nothing could fail, and the venue turned to host mass mayhem. They continued playing song from Earth Rocker, but also recovered awesome hits such as 50 Thousand Unstoppable Watts, The Mob Goes Wild, Burning Beard, and of course, Electric Worry. Neil Fallon is THE frontman, with an overwhelming energy, and the remarkable ability of balance the lack of charisma of his band fellows Dan Maines and Tim Sult, accomplishing his tasks impressively on the other hand. Regarding JP Gaster, apart from taking our hats off and bow, nothing else could be done. This guy on drums is definitely not from this world. Probably one of the current best active drummers. Huuuuge.

This Kristonfest evening was terrific, and we all ended very pleased , neck aching, and willing for some more. Let’s hope this fest becomes a fix event in calendars so we can visit Bilbao in the future to enjoy this celebration. Congratulations to the promoters, the venue and the bands for an incredible evening.

 

*** Thanks to Jordi Meya and Richard Royuela for everything. You’re fuckin’ great, guys!

ALBUM OF WEEKS 10 & 11: EARTH ROCKER

earth rocker

Probably some of you are thinking I’m having some kind of mental short-circuit, mistaking weeks. Let me confirm you they are correct. No matter that Earth Rocker has been world wide launched today, March 19th, also St Joseph and the Father’s Day in Spain, the album leaked few weeks ago, and since then I’ve been listening to Clutch’s last work intensely.

For those pointing a finger on me, let me remind you I seldom download music, Earth Rocker was pre-ordered more than one month ago but this time I couldn’t resist listening to it immediately, and as far as I can tell, the band has been publishing videos and also streaming the albums these previous days…

I’ve been holding myself up in order not to post on the album earlier. It had to be today, on the proper date of release.

Pre-ordering was determined by the impact of the first single, Earth Rocker. I had to listen to it 5 times in a row, totally blasted by its power. To put it into words, the 20 seconds intro already reveal you should take a run-up to face a massive sound stroke right in your face. A repetitive, catchy and brutal chorus created to become an anthem, and  a sequence of awesome lines working as a strong declaration of principles:

IF YOU’RE GONNA DO IT, DO IT LIVE ON THE STAGE, OR DON’T DO IT AT ALL

I WILL SUFFER NO EVIL, MY GUITAR WILL GUIDE ME THROUGH

I WILL SUFFER NO EVIL, AND THIS TIME, I WANT TO HEAR IT FROM YOU

This song is a mega upper. Completely proved. You know this feeling of empowering music’s effect  all of a sudden you want to throw things through the window and feel kinda Hulk? Eeeeer, nope? Ok, I’ll bring out this subject the day I visit a shrink, I promise. Anyway, this hit single is perfect to attract people like me who, at that time, weren’t proper fans of the band. Considering I was experimenting my first moments of pleasure related to Clutch thanks to Strange Cousins, this was definitely a propeller to seek for more.

I like the way this band has been promoting the album for the last two months. People weren’t yet recovered from this first burst from Earth Rocker when Clutch decides to send us another gift, also to celebrate the world tour start in the States. Crucial Velocity, the second cut of the album first opens with the amazing wonders played on drums by JP Gaster, followed by a slower stanza marked by a groovie repetive guitar riff, and the voice of Fallon which reminds me here of good ol’ Wyndorf’s melodies and phrasing. Chorus is faster and powerful, but perhaps not as overwhelming as the previous song. Still, with this second song, it was already assured Earth Rocker was to be a winner.

Temptation was there, and when the album leaked a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t resist and attacked it eagerly. The verdict is simple and predictable: direct to 2013 top 5 albums released, no matter it’s still March. Impressive.

Earth Rocker makes a difference from last stuff released, and well, having in mind I’ve recently become  a fan and am literally swallowing as much as possible in a short period of time, it’s true I’ve found a return to earlier stages, leaving behind part of their groove, recovering a heavier sound and harder riffs.

party earth rocker

The first 5 songs are demolishing, one after the other, not only the two singles mentioned, but also Mr Freedom, and D.C. Sound Attack which sounds super classy thanks to the harp. The turning point created with the slow and intense Cold Gone is required and welcome, so to take a deep breath and count till ten, and face the second half of the album, which the more I listen to it, the more I’m appreciating its songs. In fact Oh Isabella is one of my favorite tracks, and Book, Saddle, And Go is a killer.

So this is my first Clutch’s new release experience, and I have to admit I’m thrilled because it’s a great product.

Even though I attended one of their shows at a festival, truth is that Clutch played at 2AM on a Saturday night, which was the third in a row party animal night, and considering I wasn’t acquainted with them plus all the booze in my blood stream, frankly I can’t remember anything. Thus, now I’ll have to wait and get ready for their upcoming visit to Spain in June to complete the whole Clutch experience. I really can’t wait, this has been one of my greatest discoveries in a really long time.

By the way, my CD hasn’t arrived yet. I’M NERVOUS!!!

ALBUM OF WEEK 7: STRANGE COUSINS FROM THE WEST

strange cousins from the west

Clutch have been there all the time and I never paid any attention. In fact when I was aware hewhocannotbenamed is a huge fan, I tried to avoid them on purpose, so I wouldn’t have another thing in common. However, eventually I had to leave my prejudice aside because I know some people whose musical taste I trust, and they reckon Clutch is one of the hottest rock metal bands.

Would that be the appropriate label to define them? Not very sure, even though it’s true they combine lots of metal, rock and stoner features to create their own sound.

Clutch aren’t new, their career has been constant and stable for more than 20 years delivering both studio and live albums and some Eps. Now it’s time I dive into them and see if the guys from Germantown are as good as everybody says. At this point, I’ve listened to several of their and the outcome is very positive. Not just positive, actually I can’t stop listening to them. Moreover, I’ve already pre-ordered their last release due March 19th, Earth Rocker. I’ve listened to the same titled single and wow! It’s a very appealing teaser of what’s coming. Can’t wait! It’s got an added interest as it will be their first release I’ll be able to share with other fans, you know, first impressions in forums, all this excitement of something knew coming out, and the band visiting Spain in June….Perfect timing to become a fan!

clutch

I’ve been listening to Strange Cousins from the West these past weeks nonstop. It’s got the groove. Rhythm is so perfectly marked by drums and riffs, songs end up being very catchy. Pattern is easy listening and production is so neat you can identify all parts and instruments very easily.

Fallon’s voice is strong and powerful, very attractive. It makes me think of Corrosion of Conformity’s former lead singer Pepper Keenan, even though Clutch’s is more melodic. By the way, I love this song in Spanish “Algo ha cambiado”. It’s way too cool!

Nevertheless, who’s caught my attention in first place is the drummer. Jean-Paul Gaster. Most of you know I dig drums, and once I’ve listened to the whole stuff I go on focusing on each part of the band. In Clutch’s case it’s true they way this album is produced is very easy to analyze the work of the different members of the band and their instruments. And damn, they’re all amazing. But it’s the drummer who marks the outstanding difference from the rest. This guy is awesome. I hadn’t listened to such great quality drummer in very long time, his technique is amazing, and his style is impressive. A great beat marker, not abusing of cymbals, the typical drummer you don’t notice until you start paying attention and you end up flipping for so many tiny arrangements he’s constantly adding. One of these natural born drummers.

After so many albums Clutch have their own sound and their own quality stamp, however I can’t stop thinking of earlier Monster Magnet, being Clutch less progressive and trippy and more straightforward, but having something special in common.

I’m glad about still discovering bands with such energy and rage able to hook me up in the same way as 15 years ago. Now I wonder what if I had discovered Cluth in the 1990’s..Insane!

Hopefully at the end of March Earth Rocker will be commented here. Stay tuned!