Grain Audio

CULTURE:The Inspector Cluzo battle for the hearts of punks in Santa Cruz

Earlier this month I came across something truly special. Normally the opening act at a hardcore/trash show would be written off. Generally consisting of local or newer bands that are trying to pay their dues and haven’t quite figured out how they fit into the grand scheme of musical entertainment. However, on the night of December 18, 2013, I witnessed one of the most original and hardest working bands, the world has seen in a long time.

Consisting of merely two determined Frenchmen, in the form of Laurent Lacrouts on Guitar and Mathieu Jordain on drums. The Inspector Cluzo mashes together elements of rock, funk and soul to create a perfect melody of unabashed distain for the establishment.

Rolling out their newest album on Suicidal Records and touring the west coast with Suicidal Tendencies should have given this duo enough credibility, but not all of the hardcore ST fans understood their brilliance. Standing in the back with their arms crossed (to show their distaste) were most of the early arrivers. Making their ignorance known by trying to slam dance and mosh to the soulful rock of The Inspector Cluzo, the hardcore ‘punks’ and ‘thrashers’ were immediately called out.

Laurent called out ‘you guys are dancing to our music all wrong… especially you guys in the back…Why don’t you all come closer and we will teach you how to dance…’ At which point Mathieu stood up on his bass drum and proceeded to dance seductively with his back to the audience, and Laurent tried to get the crowd to sing ‘Moving on up’ by Curtis Mayfield. An attempt at bringing one of the girls at the front of the barrier on stage to dance with proved un-successful as security didn’t allow her to pass up the stairs.

The Inspector Cluzo didn’t falter however, and continued to belt out another half dozen songs, including the heavily lauded ‘Fuck The Bass Player.’ At the end of their set, Laurent took great pride in kicking over the drums Mathieu was sitting at, and throwing his high hats off the stage, until he was forced to tip his bass drum over and play only that and one snare.

When all was said and done, The Inspector Cluzo managed to infuse more soul and funk with only two instruments than most big bands I’ve seen with full horn sections, not to mention that Laurent, could pass for an easy French double of Jim James of My Morning Jacket, in both physical and vocal abilities.

Hailing from the French countryside of Casconha, and putting on some impressive displays of D-I-Y music production, The Inspector Cluzo have toured more than 35 countries in 5 years, all while handling production, booking, management and merch, all themselves.

Cluzo’s new album will be released in the spring of 2014, and I’m sure they will be roaming back through the US and hitting some festival dates in the summer. If you understand the true spirit of punk rock and like a good show, I would highly suggest you check these guys out