Monster Truck @ Newcastle O2 Academy 2, April 23 2019

Watching Monster Truck on a Tuesday night could have been the last resort for rock fans contemplating a date with Papa Roach downstairs. But for a capacity crowd packing the cosy Academy 2, a night in the company of Hamilton’s finest was clearly the first and only choice. 

Forget nu metal nostalgia. This was the loud and proud new wave of classic rock courtesy of a Canadian quartet last seen in the UK opening up for Black Stone Cherry on the Kentucky crew’s arena jaunt. Monster Truck might have been quite at home on the huge stages reserved for their US buddies but the band’s trademark heavy blues and first-pumping emotion is a far better fit for a throbbing club bursting at the seams.

And bringing along fellow countrymen Royal Tusk was a masterstroke. A heady fusion of stoner cool and progressive power instantly caught the imagination of the cramped masses – new single Reflection perfectly mirroring those classic rock behemoths, spawned in the 70s, for whom ambition knew no bounds. The Tusk took no prisoners and pulled no punches as they went about their work with obvious relish: this First Time Tyneside show a fitting introduction to some truly exciting noise.

Had Jon Harvey and Jeremy Widerman been watching from the wings then Monster Truck’s main men must have felt vindicated in their astute choice of support. At the same time, the pair will have recognised the need to maintain momentum given an incendiary set from the evening’s opening act.

No problem. Monster Truck don’t do things by halves and this was a full-on assault of the senses from the moment Harvey fired up his bass and boomed through the mic. Imposing, inspiring and ultimately imperious, the multi-talented frontman – who revealed to Rushonrock that he’s never happier than when he’s up on stage – set about reinforcing his band’s reputation as a rising force in retro rock.

Imagine Soundgarden, Black Country Communion and vintage Deep Purple collaborating to create a no-holds-barred heavy blues hybrid: Monster Truck have nailed a sound that’s familiarly unique. And such is Harvey’s vocal prowess there’s a sense that latest long player True Rockers is merely scratching the surface in terms of this special band’s true potential.

That record’s rousing title track, latest single Denim Danger and 2018 aptly-named teaser Evolution evidenced the quartet’s rapid creative growth but there was something reassuringly flamboyant about For The Sun and Sweet Mountain River – two meandering highlights from 2013’s critically acclaimed debut Furiosity.

Having built their back catalogue with enthusiasm during the last decade, Monster Truck now have the tools to construct an indestructible live show. In 2018 they happily shared a stage with BSC, Guns N Roses and more but this relentless set provided indisputable proof that headline status is a natural fit. True rock doesn’t lie.

Images By Adam Kennedy