Clutch @ Gazi Music Hall, Athens (GRE)

CLUTCH / PLANET OF ZEUS

Date: 14th July, 2013
Venue: Gazi Music Hall (ex-Entertainment stage)
Ticket: €25 ($33)
Promoter: We Are Ejekt


Right in the middle of July in Greece there were a couple of interesting events that would be great to attend, and one of them was definitely the CLUTCH gig. After the venue had been changed twice due to the big ticket demand and some family issues of the band, I was happy to see them finally in Greece.

Following the Greek tradition of always being late, I unfortunately missed the PLANET OF ZEUS set. When I walked into the venue I couldn't believe how many people were there. PLANET OF ZEUS was surely an excellent choice for a supporting band and in fact CLUTCH praised them as one of the best supporting bands they’ve ever had. So, when I walked in, the Greeks stonerheads were playing their last song of the set, “Eat Me Alive”, and the crowd was really going crazy, jumping around and I think I saw some serious crowd-surfing action. I believe that there were a lot of people who just came to see PLANET OF ZEUS in a bigger venue supporting a great band.

By the time the soundcheck had ended, the place was packed and the venue had become hot like as steaming sauna. When CLUTCH came on stage I started wondering whether Greeks had grew taller or the guys listening to Stoner Rock are just tall because I could only see heads; I guess the fact that the stage was extremely low had something to do with this. Before starting the set, Neil asked if we wanted to party hard and so we did! The crowd was extremely loud and sang every single line of “Earth Rocker” that was the setlist opener, but the sound was not of the best quality and volume. After the show a lot of fans were complaining that the sound was rather weak and one could have a discussion in proximity to the bar. Anyway, under normal conditions I would be complaining also, but the CLUTCH show was so good that erased all the distractions.

Next came “The Mob Goes Wild” and was one of the climax moments of the show with lots of crowd-surfing and so loud singing-along that I bet one could hear everything outside the venue. When it was time for “The Promoter”, from the album “Blast Tyrant”, the sound had improved a bit. The setlist was mainly based on the latest album “Earth Rocker”, so it included every song from it; “DC Sound Attack”, “Unto The Breach”, “Crucial Velocity”, “Book, Saddle & Go”, “The Face”.

There were some microphone issues and many times Neil complained saying "what's wrong with this shit?" and after a while things were fixed. The band’s frontman did not waste time speaking and let the music of CLUTCH do all the talking; the only thing he said was that they have played all over the world in this tour in cities like New York, Chicago (for which the report you can read HERE), London and Berlin, but this one in Athens has been the biggest. And to confirm that, once I went home, I also read a posting on their twitter account commenting: “Holy smokes! Biggest headlining show of 2013! Anywhere. Thank you, Athens!” It's so great to see bands of 20+ years of career being finally so appreciated and becoming big.

“Subtle Hustle” and “Mice And Gods” hit us next and then I guess most people knew/saw the setlist and started screaming “The Regulator” before it even had began. The crowd’s reaction was over the top and the singing-along reached record limits in the decibel scale. “Burning Beard” was one more pleasant break from the new album hits (coming from “Robot Hive”) and then CLUTCH were back to “Earth Rocker” with “Cyborg Bette” and “The Wolf Man Kindly Requests...” dropping the curtain of the regular setlist.

After a couple of minutes Neil returned onstage and said that this was not only the biggest crowd but also the best one. Ok, one can say that these are the cliché words a band chooses for every show in order to feed the fans’ hunger, but this time it felt genuine honest coming straight from the heart. After a short pause, CLUTCH were back onstage ready to start the festivities and everybody started chanting “bang, bang, bang” so as you’ve guessed it was time for our favorite “Electric Worry”. This time I think the crowd was over the top loud and once could hear us from some few blocks away.

Even if the sound and the venue were mediocre, the band had so much energy onstage that satisfied everyone that night. I’m really looking forward to watching CLUTCH live again since I think I have become a huge fan...

CLUTCH setlist:

01. “Earth Rocker”
02. “The Mob Goes Wild”
03. “Promoter”
04. “Mr. Freedom”
05. “DC Sound Attack”
06. “Unto The Breach”
07. “Crucial Velocity”
08. “Book, Saddle, & Go”
09. “Gravel Road”
10. “The Face”
11. “Subtle Hustle”
12. “Mice And Gods”
13. “The Regulator” / Drum Solo
14. “Burning Beard”
15. “Cyborg Bette”
16. “The Wolf Man Kindly Requests...”
17. “Electric Worry”
18. “One Eye Dollar”