Live Review: Clutch, Cosmic Psychos

4 March 2016 | 4:45 pm | Tom Hersey

"Ross Knight's unshaven face should replace the Queen's on our $5 notes."

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Walking into the Triffid tonight feels like a wonderfully refreshing tribute to 'sticking to your guns'. The two bands we're about to witness tonight have been doing what they do (swearing like yobbos over fuzzed-out punk and playing blues-rock for the metal set, respectively) for longer than some of the audience have been breathing, yet here they both are, getting ready to do their thing in front of the sold out Triffid crowd, who are anticipating the evening's entertainment like it's the freshest thing to hit the music scene.

As beers are getting crushed like it was a Friday night in the outdoor area, the excitement inside the venue is already feverish by the time Cosmic Psychos take to the stage with absolutely zero fanfare. That's the great thing about these pub-rock champions and veritable Aussie legends (Ross Knight's unshaven face should replace the Queen's on our $5 notes) — whatever they do has such an honesty to it. Even when they venture into the obscene and fantastic material off last year's Cum The Raw Prawn and play songs that could so easily be dismissed as being cheap little jokes, there's the sense that the trio are really only trying to entertain themselves. That lack of pretence makes the audience more willing to accept the bawdiness, and give themselves over to the pulverising fuzz of Knight's bass — which no matter how many times you see the Psychos still kicks the shit out of you.

But if you want to talk about musicians who can kick the shit out of a crowd with their instrument, you can't look past Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. Really though, you can't look past the guy, he's a man mountain and looks like a Game Of Thrones extra. He also attacks his kit with all the violence of the HBO program, but beneath the thundering power there's also the foundations for the band's signature groove. For all of Neil Fallon's wailing and strutting around the stage, the audience's eyes are drawn past the frontman to watch what Gaster's serving up behind the kit. He has the magnetism of Dale Crover as he serves as the lynchpin for the quartet's mammoth sound on Psychic Warfare cuts like X-Ray Visions and Firebirds. Gaster leads guitarist Tim Sult and bassist Dan Maines as they jam like they're holed up in a garage. The grooves hit the crowd in the chest as Clutch delve into their massive back catalogue. Even with such a wicked new record to promote, it's like the band is trying to play everyone's favourite track. By the time they've finished decimating the crowd, it's hard to imagine any Clutch show not being sold out.