Live Reviews

The Inspector Cluzo – Soup Kitchen, Manchester: Live Review

‘One night – two gigs’ continues with a quick dash across the city from Satan’s Hollow (Exploring Birdsong review here) to the bowels of the Northern Quarter to see enigmatic The Inspector Cluzo perform in the dingy cellar of the Soup Kitchen.

Despite the small audience of about 60, the atmosphere was perfect when the opening  We Are People Of The Soil began their approximately one and a quarter-hour set. 

The amazing range of singer  Laurent Lacrout, sometimes growly,  sometimes rocky then suddenly piercingly high pitched screaming around this small low ceilinged room, filling it and your head. So many variations in just one song are astounding. 

The grungy sound also completes the ambiance when you feel the music just envelops you and yet their musicianship is ever-present, this is not just noise!  Added to the music is the environmental message expressed clearly in The Little Girl And The Whistling Train, a song of hope for the youth of today to revitalise the countryside. 

These two can rock hard, they can be funky, bluesy and melodic but they also enjoy a touch of audience participation as they enjoyed some camaraderie with the meagre audience clapping along to For The Family especially when one brave lad mimicked Laurent’s high pitched singing granting him immediate Cluzo family status.  The grungy sound paid some homage to Neil Young’s heavier moments with a shortened cover of My My Hey Hey when the audience needed no encouragement to volunteer their own chanting accompaniment.

The duo pride themselves on not needing the traditional bass player, in his introduction to Fxxx  The Bass Player  Laurent likens the bass instrument to the current French president…totally useless.  For the finale, we are requested to put our hands up in the air for Inspector Cluzo and this thoroughly entertaining evening deserving of a bigger venue concluded with some typical French showmanship as drummer Mathieu Jourdain’s cymbals were subtly removed one by one and then kicked over side stage, not with aggression but with ‘panache’.  As well as being able to rock hard these guys are entertainers from Mathieu’s sexy dancing to guitar work in which at one time you could hear similar strains of Page’s Moby Dick riff. 

I hope soon their profile is raised with the rock media as their talent deserves, the falsetto may be an acquired taste for some but for sheer entertainment value and musical presentation more rock enthusiasts need to witness the unique Inspector Cluzo experience.

Read our review of The Inspector Cluzo’s Brothers In Ideals here.

So to sum up having seen a prog group with no lead or acoustic guitar and a rocky bluesy band who shunned the bass guitar in two atmospheric venues, I plodded my way back to Piccadilly fully satisfied with my new venture with the splendid company of photographer Mike who seemed similarly sated.

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The Inspector Cluzo online: Official Website / Facebook / Twitter

Photography by Mike Ainscoe. You can find more of Mike’s work on the At The Barrier Facebook page.

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