The opening band of such a mighty touring package as this evening’s may appear almost irrelevant in the eyes of many – particularly those squeezing themselves into this modestly spaced venue shortly before 7pm. Clearly no one has bothered to tell this to Philadelphia trio Stinking Lizaveta, who with a hyperactive blend of electric style blues and good old fashioned rock and roll quickly win over the rapidly growing audience.
Clutch may have been alive and kicking within rock’s inner circles for over a decade now, but it’s abundant this evening that neither their blinding spark nor rabid fan base have any plans of dying out in the near future. Front man Neil Fallon stomps and jives his way across the stage throughout, and though their occasionally long-winded jams succeed only in slowing down an otherwise energetic set; crowd igniting renditions of The Mob Goes Wild and The Incomparable Mr. Flannery show that when the chips are down, Maryland’s finest are still capable of producing a winning hand.
However, it’s obvious that veteran rock heroes Corrosion of Conformity are the real stars on display tonight. Having been away from UK shores for almost a decade, the air is thick with anticipation right up until the moment the quartet stride onstage in unexpected silence. “We’re Corrosion of Conformity from North Carolina, and this is what we fucking do!” announces main man Pepper Keenan before launching into the opening riff of the explosive Paranoid Opioid. From here on in, Keenan and co produce an hour of flawless and near untouchable hard rocking delights. Treasured classics Clean My Woundsand Thirteen Angels are wheeled out to the ecstasy of all in attendance as beers are raised and horns are thrown from band and crowd alike; and with In the Arms of Godproviding a touching tribute to the tragically departed Dimebag Darrell, almost five hundred people are left safe in the knowledge that they have witnessed the return of one of metal’s true class acts.
Welcome back, boys.