A near capacity crowd of around 250 welcomed Canadian rockers, Monster Truck, on a miserable winters night, as they called into The Booking Hall, Dover as a stopover on theirway to an 8 date tour of Europe.
The Booking Hall is an excellent, small venue that has welcomed some of the best up and coming, as well as more established names in rock, overthe past year or so and enables bands to get up close to their audience, so having been here previously to catch Massive Wagons I was happy to be back here again.
First up though was South Wales outfit Pearler, who I have not come across before, but was soon nodding to ‘Fortified’, a track from their 2018 EP ‘Belter’. All of these guys have been around a few years playing in various bands, but have come together to form this hard rocking four piece and those who arrived early enough to catch them seemed happy with the opening salvo.
They moved onto the mysteriously titled ‘W.O.R.Z.E.L. Chuggage’ from the same release and then ‘Desert Slut’ from their second EP, 2019’s ‘Another Belter’. Whilst some of the titles are a bit tongue in cheek, the sound is of grinding guitars, pounding drums and thumping bass lines and it went down well.
We were then treated to a new track ‘The Masters Parade’ by which time Wendal Kingpin (is that his real name?) was in fine voice on lead vocals before finishing the set with ‘Money Gains’ and ‘Radical-Eyes’. The band enjoyed themselves and the crowd loved it and gave them a good send off as they left the stage.- thank you lads, hope to see you again soon.
Next up was the main attraction of the evening and Ontario’s finest, who hit us with ‘Why Are You Not Rocking’ – Steve Kiely giving us a thunderous taste of what was to come on the drums then straight into ‘Don’t Tell Me How To Live’ with its great riffs and screaming lead guitar which soon had the crowd dancing before they joined in with the chanting on ‘Old Train’ from their 2013 debut album ‘Furiosity’.
The place was jumping and Jon Harvey was in fine form, as his rasping vocals cut through the stage fog, ably assisted by Jeremy Wilder alongside him. We slowed down a little as Harvey thanked the audience for coming out for the last date of their UK tour, before slipping into the blues infused ‘Devil Don’t Care’ andwe were soon back up to full speed as the band belted it out at top volume and the crowd responded with raised horns.
‘For The People’ was next up from the 2016 album ‘Sittin’ Heavy’ with its Southern Rock vibe, which saw the crowd singing along at the top of their voices. This was a band who were really on form and enjoying the intimate venue.
We were then treated to 3 new songs; ‘Love And Die’, ‘Fuzz Mountain’ and ‘Country Livin’ , all of which were well received by the crowd as all 3 tracks are written in that tried and tested Monster Truck style of blues / hard rock/ southern rock / grunge mix. Then we were onto the much heavier sound of ‘True Rocker’ the title track of their 2018 album.
On the studio version Dee Snider guests, but the band proved they could do just as good a job on their own and nearly blew the roof off the place with a blistering drum beat from Kiely that rattled my rib cage. The audience was now rocking and condensation was running down the walls as the band went into ‘Denim Danger’ which encouraged more of a singalong from the crowd.
We returned to a slower blues influenced track next with ‘For The Sun’, which proves that Monster Truck are not just about belting it out at full pelt all the time – although they do that particularly well – with Wilder proving his quality with some searing guitar solos and Harveyputting in a impressive shift on vocals.
Content with having let the crowd think they were slowing down, the band immediately cranked up the tempo and the volume to finish the set with ‘New Soul’ and ‘Sweet Mountain River’, leaving to cheers and applause from an appreciative crowd who had just seen a band on top of their game.
The crowd wanted more and a swift return to the stage for the encore had the fans clapping and singing along to big, bad and loud ‘The Enforcer’ as Harvey thanked everyone once again for coming out as the very apt ‘The Lion’ started up and Harvey roared his way through it to a hot and sweaty conclusion.
If you want to see a great rock n roll band play ear splitting, ballsy tunes then you need to catch Monster Truck live. They return to Ramblin Man in July 2020 – be there.
Review by Howard Whitelaw for MetalPlanetMusic
Photography by Darren Smith