Musically out-sized Ontario based blues rockers Monster Truck careered into Dublin on Tuesday night (14th March), for their first ever club date in the capital. More used to the enormodomes of Ireland, thanks to high profile support slots with Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators and fellow Canadians Nickelback, the show was a chance to get up close and personal with the retro rockers.
Preceded by The Picturebooks, the billing proved to be one of the rare occasions where the opening act proved a worthy adversary to the headliners, challenging even the most hardened of Monster Truck supporters to move away from the bar to watch the mesmerising act.
With a raw primal stomp, the Germanic duo's hard hitting, tripped out sound enthralled, as the wailing guitars, feedback and impassioned vocalisation of Fynn Claus Grabke did battle with percussionist Philipp Mirtschink's unconventional sweat-drenched approach. Coming on like the unshaven hillbilly cousin of Royal Blood, their abrasive nature might make them less of a commercial sure thing than the acclaimed Brighton act, but none the less a band to watch.
Taking time to watch The Picturebooks from the wings, and perhaps geed on by what they saw, Monster Truck took to the intimate Dublin stage with the same unbridled passion that has seen them challenge the headliners time and again on their arena dates. Opening with an explosive 'Why Are You Not Rockin?', before plundering their recent 'Sittin' Heavy' release, the four-piece proved just why they are one of the most exciting rock bands to have emerged in recent years.
Addressing the crowd, and clearly delighted with the response that they were receiving, Jeremy Widerman revealed that the band had almost missed out on playing in the Irish capial. Said the animated guitarist; "You know we almost didn't come here? We looked, and Dublin wasn't on the tour".
Raising the roof with a number of classic tracks including the bombastic 'Don't Tell Me How To Live', and impromptu crowd singalong of 'For The People', bassist and lead vocalist Jon Harvey meanwhile, was just as stunned, quipping; "Holy shit, they know some of the words! I like you guys".
Going on to play a number of deeper tracks, including the brooding, bewitching piano-led blues of 'Black Forest' featuring keysman Brandon Bliss, Wilderman sad that it had been great to get the opportunity to dig out some lesser played songs. Said the guitarist; "It's been a long time since we played a headline show. We're gonna play songs that we never get to do. I feel sorry for this guitar i never get to play it. it's been sitting in its cage."
Finishing off their main set with an uproarious 'New Soul' before coming back for an incredible three song encore, Monster Truck's debut Irish show - save for their appearance in Belfast the previous night, left The Academy Green Room hot, sweaty, and shook to the core.
Monster Truck and The Picturebooks continue their jaunt across the UK and Europe on Wednesday night (15th March), with a show at Bristol's Marble Factory. The pairing finish up in Bilbao, Spain on April 9th before Monster Truck return as special guests to Deep Purple for a number of Continent dates.
Look out for eonmusic's interview with Monster Truck's Steve Kiely, to be published shortly.
Monster Truck And The Pitcurebooks UK & Europe 2017 Dates:
15 Mar - Marble Factory, Bristol, UK
17 Mar - O2 Institute 2, Birmingham, UK
18 Mar - Club Academy, Manchester, UK
19 Mar - O2 ABC, Glasgow, UK
21 Mar - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
22 Mar - Electric Ballroom, London, UK
24 Mar - La Batterie, Guyancourt, France
25 Mar - Café Charbon, Nevers, France
26 Mar - Luxor, Cologne, Germany
28 Mar - Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
29 Mar - Rockfabrik, Ludwigsburg, Germany
30 Mar - Rockhal, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
1 Apr - Columbia Theater, Berlin, Germany
2 Apr - Uebel & Gefahrlich, Hamburg, Germany
3 Apr - Theatrefabrik, Munich, Germany
5 Apr - Schüür, Lucerne, Switzerland
7 Apr - Bikini, Barcelona, Spain
8 Apr - Caracol, Madrid, Spain
9 Apr - Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao, Spain