Words El Jefe.
Photos Andrew Pittman – Mosh Pittman Photography.
I was wallowing in the drudgery of my day job when I received a telegram from El Kapitan. An interesting one. Monster Truck are playing a secret show tonight. Was I able to attend? Monster Truck?? Absofuckenlutely I could attend! I tossed the chainsaw in my hands to the dude standing next to me and told him the whole world could be his if he would just make the right decisions, and hit the road.
Canada’s Monster Truck first popped up on my radar about 18 months ago. I picked up a copy of Furiosity, and dug in. Heavy rock and roll, great songs, great playing and a frontman with the best blues-rock roar since Lesley West. Yep. They ticked all the boxes for me. I have to admit, when I heard they were touring with Nickelback, I had to check to make sure it was the same Monster Truck, what with all the bad press Nickelback get.
I arrived at The Unicorn, and was immediately handed a fistful of playing cards. Interesting. Not being a gambling man, I was luckily able to trade these for beer. Excellent, I thought. What a brilliant start to the night. First up were five piece, Bec and Ben. Fronted by (presumably) Bec, who also pulls off a funky trick by playing a couple of floor toms and a cymbal while punching out some strong vocals. Backed by a proficient band, they hit us with a set of quirky pops tunes. But at the end of the day, Bec and Ben, while being a good band, were really not the kinda shit a rockpig like me wants to wallow in. I found in my notes from the gig this line, which I guess belies my feelings. “Popsicle with a funky edge and slight tribal vibe”. Yeah, that’ll do it.
Bring on the ‘Truck!
Coming hard outta the blocks with Old Train and The Lion, they quickly showed the masses what a powerhouse outfit they are. Jon Harvey’s bass lines are driving and gutsy, with no unnecessary bullshit. Just the way it should be. Add to this his roaring, open throated voice, and you’ve got a lethal weapon spearheading an already impressive band. The drums are muscular and imposing and don’t leave a single crack in the sound, while Jeremy Widerman plays like a man possessed, dropping to his knees and ripping out endless solos, and beefy chords from his crusty SG. The organ also fattens things up, lending more than a touch of the ‘70s to the sound, but also flavouring Monster Truck’s tone with an edge that is far different to what could be achieved with the standard two guitar lineup.
Three or four songs in, and we were treated to a new tune, a funky balls out groove, which I unfortunately missed the name of, but hopefully isn’t too long until they unleash this, and a few more on a new record. “We’re gonna play a couple more, and then we’ll get drunk with you all”. A quote that aptly sums up the stance of Monster Truck. Rock and roll is, and has always been about having a blast, and don’t ever forget this! Closing out with (I think; the aforementioned beer seemingly sapping some of my memory. Who’d a thought it!) For The Sun. It was a slow-burn blast of a song at any rate; starting off quietly, and building to epic proportions. It was a great finish to an all too short show, and also a cool display of the songwriting prowess, and sheer power this band has.
Monster Truck are tight, punchy and a whole lotta fun to watch. Great tunes, and filled with a flat-out adrenaline rush, it’s easy to see why they’re getting so much attention right now, and great news it is too. More Monster (Truck) r’n’r, less video driven, Casio keyboard flavoured pop “classics” from talentless, egomaniacal fuckwits with nothing real to say!
With this being a showcase gig, we only got 6 or 7 songs, which left me seriously wanting more. Luckily, the signals from the rumour mill indicate a full tour of their own in the near future. And you’d better believe I’ll be there when this behemoth hits town again. I give ‘em 10/10.