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Clutch / Planet Of Zeus / Black Delta

Rock euphoria from the US heartland

It’s hard to name many bands a quarter of a century into their careers who could get away with playing a set almost entirely composed of cuts from their last two albums to a euphoric sold-out crowd who greet each new song as if it’s long been sewn into their DNA.

Yet off the back of the near-perfect one-two of Earth Rocker and this year’s even better Psychic Warfare, this is the enviable position CLUTCH [9] find themselves in, truly deserving of the air of goodwill and respect. The easygoing swagger of **WELCOME BACK DELTA [7] **and PLANET OF ZEUS’s** [8**] muscular riffs and raucous presence certainly play their part in setting the tone, leaving Neil Fallon’s wild-eyed presence to merely mop up the stragglers, triumphantly leading the way through the absurd fiction of X-Ray Visions and Sucker For The Witch.

Clutch’s Tim Sult conjures the magic

Clutch’s Tim Sult conjures the magic (Image credit: Duncan Everson)

Jean-Paul Gaster and Dan Maines deliver their contagious rhythms with ease, setting a platform for Neil to wander the stage conducting the crowd, who sing along to every warped tale and hypnotised by the inimitable riffs of Earth Rocker and the gallant Son Of Virginia that Neil and Tim Sult conjure from their instruments.

The Mob Goes Wild and The Wolf Man Kindly Requests bring down the curtain on a set that sadly flies by on a wave of sheer, rhapsodic enjoyment.

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.