Hamilton’s Monster Truck have wrought themselves in the great fires of early 1970’s stadium rock. In that grand tradition, they blew the doors off The Republik on a snowy Sunday night in Calgary.
Consisting of members Jon Harvey (vocals bass) Jeremy Widerman (guitar vocals) Brandon Bliss (organ vocals) and Steve Kiely (drums vocals) the band are a hard working and touring unit currently in support of their latest album Furiosity. That title, when held up against the spectacle of their live performance, is apt indeed.
Monster Truck took the stage in a no nonsense manner right on the dot at 10:30. That was the end of their civility. Inciting a near riot of head banging, the band kicked into high gear right out of the gate with a trio of bombastic numbers. Old Train, The Lion and Running were so full of massive guitar/bass riffage and epic chanting choruses that all doubters took the bait. Hook line and sinker.
Harvey’s powerful, impassioned and expressive vocal delivery growled out the message that this is no middle of the road rock band. One might be reminded at times of Ian Gillan except Harvey was also deftly wringing the neck of his bass guitar.
Steve Kiely was the heartbeat of the unit and drove the band hard. His creative beats and fill ideas revealed a thoughtful approach to the band’s clever arrangements.
Jeremy Wideman played his guitar like an escaped mental patient. It always amazes to watch someone fly around the stage this way and never miss a trick. Wideman squeezed almost every possible note out of his S.G. and did it with a searing tone that killed.
Brandon Bliss manned the Hammond organ with cool confidence. His almost continuous grin made it plain he was taking none of this for granted. My only complaint was that his handy work was not present enough in the mix.
The crowd was giving back as much as they got and the energy level continued to rise through the night. Silhouetted by their behind the stage lightshow, Monster Truck delivered one great song after the other, each with seemingly cooler hooks than the last. I Am Freedom, My Love is True, Space Lord , Sweet Mountain River, Death Mistake Power of the People and on.
Finishing their hour and forty minute set with an encore of Righteous Smoke, (perfect for leaving the audience wanting more) the four stepped off the stage as quickly as they came.
I don’t like to make musical comparisons, but it does help the reader to understand what was on the table. There are shades of old school blues based southern rock, punk, Deep Purple/Black Sabbath type metal and maybe a bit of MC5 for good measure. It all boils down to a style that will allow them to make their own unique contribution to rock music.
Monster Truck deals in high energy hooks, well crafted arrangements and a monsterous sound. Get into your 1969 Firebird, jam this in the 8-track, turn it up loud and hit the road. There it is.