LIVE: Clutch / Green Lung / Tigercub @ The Roundhouse, London

By Ellie Odurny

It’s the week before Christmas and all through the Roundhouse, quite a lot of people are stirring actually as Brighton three-piece Tigercub are about to open up a night of rock for those who have made it here despite the rail strikes and lingering wintery weather. The stage setup has each band’s drumkit lined up one in front of one another, placing drummer James Allix front and centre. It’s an unusual formation, but allows the band to interact with each other throughout their set in a way that wouldn’t usually be possible with the drums set further back from the rest of the band.

Tigercub have previously toured with Royal Blood, and the similarities between the two bands are clear. Big, bass-driven riffs and catchy hooks combined with bluesy vocals make a great combination, and ‘Memory Boy’ presents each of these elements with well-balanced simplicity. An understated melody joins a rumbling bass intro and grows into a big , chunky number that oozes cool. New track ‘Perfume of Decay’ is also a belter, with fuzzy bass and distorted guitar tones adding a prog tinge to the classic rock sound of the band.

By the end of their set, the crowd has grown considerably in size and Tigercub seem to raise their performance level accordingly. They’re skilled musicians, and they’ve more than warmed up the crowd for the rest of the night. Ones to watch for sure.

Flanked by screens depicting the Sabbatic Goat image adopted by the band, Londoners Green Lung take to the stage with swathes of energetic confidence. With dark, heavy riffs and Sabbath-esque vocals, the band are powerful and in sync from the very first note. Vocalist Tom Templar rouses the crowd from the moment they step on stage and judging by the reaction from the now close-to-capacity room, it’s working a treat.

Visually they’re an interesting bunch. Templar is every inch the rock star, clad in all black with a statement leather jacket, guitarist Scott Black looks like he’s stepped onto stage directly from an 80’s hair metal gig. Sprinkle in a heavy dose of metal, some hippie vibes and just a touch of East-London-art-student cool and you’ve got a band. This eclectic style is echoed in Green Lung’s output, with obvious influences from the pioneers of UK Heavy Metal as well as the stalwarts of the Stoner Rock scene, mashed together with big rock’n’roll hooks, doom and prog touches.

As excellent as Templar is as a front man, the vocal range over the songs is limited. If it weren’t for the strength of the rest of the band and the overall showmanship on display, there’s a chance the songs could begin to sound slightly samey. Thankfully, the fans are lapping up each big drumbeat and stirring chord, cheering every track with increasing eagerness. From the slick guitar solos in opener ‘Woodland Rights’ to the slow organ intro for ‘The Ritual Tree’ and the closing riffs of ‘Let The Devil In’, the band are polished and the crowd are captivated from start to finish.

The cheer as headliners Clutch take to the stage is huge, and there’s something about the humble yet quietly-assured way that Neil Fallon responds simply with “Oh My Goodness” that encompasses the level of passionate professionalism that this band display. Opening with ‘Slaughter Beach’ from the latest record, they’re classy and confident, the rest of the band channelling contained energy as Fallon delivers every word with animated charisma. There’s not so much of a mosh pit as a core group of organically-flowing appreciative bodies, absorbing new and old material with equal joy.

Clutch manage to keep hold of a distinctive sound that is very much their own, but also experiment enough to keep things fresh and relevant. New track ‘Skeletons on Mars’ includes a theremin, an instrument which is brought out this evening before Fallon introduces the track with the simple line: “Alright, let’s get weird”. Following this, the crowd erupts for favourite ‘X-Ray Vision’, and it feels like a peak already when we’re only half way through proceedings.

Just in case anyone needed any additional talent to wow them for the second half of Clutch’s set, they introduce Per Wiberg of Opeth on keys, adding additional texture to the band’s solid rock’n’roll foundations. ‘Nosferatu Madre’ drips with bluesy, heavy rock, and by the time we get to main set closer ‘The Mob Goes Wild’, the mob certainly seem to be enjoying themselves immensely. A four-track encore wraps up the night with even more blues-drenched riffs, seamless tempo changes and growling, grooving brilliance. On the last Saturday before people think about winding down for the festive season, Clutch have certainly given us all a real gift of a show tonight.