Thousands of Britain’s heavy metal fraternity may be currently pitching tents and sinking pints at Donington, but there’s still enough eager beavers packed into the Underworld tonight to send temperatures soaring to almost unbearable climates. So scorching in fact, that it’s difficult to say whether there’s more free-flowing liquids coming from the beer taps at the bar or the foreheads of those presently in attendance.
But however unsettling the conditions there can be no excuse for the coma-inducing stall set out by Chicago quintet Soil this evening. While their distinct brand of hard rock packs more than the odd punch, it’s delivered with all the visual intensity of a dead fish. Not even a crowd pleasing rendition of old favourite ‘Halo‘ is enough to provoke more than a smattering of applause from those outside the lacklustre pit area.
While Soil may resemble the tiresome younger sibling, Clutch are the perma-cool older brother. One who will pick you up, drive you home and provide a soundtrack of super suave blues-laden rock in the process. With a set consisting heavily of tracks from their recent ‘Robot Hive/Exodus’ album, the band has almost everyone in attendance in the palm of their hand from the off. Front man Neil Fallon is the focal point as ever, jiving and stomping his way across the stage like a man possessed; belting out the likes of ‘Burning Beard‘ and the anthemic ‘Mice & Gods‘ with all the supercharged conviction of a man half his age. It’s therein that lays the true beauty of a Maryland’s finest, because much like many of the finer things in life they remain a band that seemingly only ever improves with age; and as the riotous ‘Cypress Grove‘ erupts with such explosive energy that it threatens to take the roof clean off only a fool would dispute such statements.
As ever, Clutch remain a truly magnificent live spectacle. Here’s hoping they don’t apply the brakes any time soon.