Monster Truck at Electric Ballroom, LondonSupport: The Picturebooks
March 22, 2017 at Electric Ballroom, London
It was a particularly cold and miserable Wednesday in Camden. The type of weather that dissuades most punters from going to gigs in the city. But the ratio of hipsters to rockers was full throttle. Disgruntled girlfriends were precisely dispersed amongst the throes. It was clear this was THE place to be, Monster Truck were THE act of the week.
I rocked up to the Electric Ballroom stylishly late. Support act, The Picturebooks, were already onstage.
Now I’m not going to use this as a platform to express my disdain at the current influx of two piece rock “bands”. I won’t use this to share how playing in a band is extremely hard work, jamming with your mate isn’t. How turning yourself into a two piece act is a cop out for the musicians themselves and the promoters alike, as I assume it’d only be half the price to book these acts. (I could be horribly wrong here, but this is the online generation. Who needs facts.) How I really urge any of you to remember any great rock song that has NO bass line…
Instead, let me purely focus on The Picturebooks. Their energy and presence was through the roof. Their charisma was unbridled and there was no way you couldn’t like these guys. Not even I, after an hour long journey in shitty weather, could remain cold to their spirit. For solid heart and effort, the …… two piece (shudder) won me over. I spoke to them briefly at the merch stand after their set and everything I just said was wholeheartedly confirmed. Great, great guys. Any editor can now probably see I’m rambling, avoiding the writing of my opinion on their sound. Okay here goes. The song structures were great! Presence was captivating. Dynamics….. Well, see above I guess. Fair enough you’ve taken away your cymbals to reduce the high end but, you know… Cymbals! That’s a huge dynamic in any band. Taking them away is just ludicrous and removing that frequency range won’t help I’m afraid. The riffs were all there. The vocals were solid but alas, nothing ran you over. No one was caught in the high beam, there was no aural head on collision.
Unlike headliners Monster Truck who, like their name sake, treated the crowd to a demolition derby of sound. We were the Toyota Corolla to the Canadian four piece’s, four wheeled behemoth. Their set completely ran us over. “Why are you not rocking?” fired up the evening and asked a very apt question to the sold out Camden venue. The next few numbers ground through us pulling the mighty machine on top, crushing the audience beneath.
The end of the set rolled the mighty Truck straight over us with ease into the encore. Here they reversed up and over the sweaty mass of wreckage. Hipsters and rockers crushed together alike. Attached girlfriends were debris amongst the carnage. This was a much needed lesson in musical dynamics. All parts were oiled and working together to create a (no pun intended) monstrous sound. Guitars and keys complemented and battled each other furiously. Drums and bass dislodged your bowels as is their job. Harvey’s vocals powered through the cacophony.
This was Monster Truck at what they do best. This was rock and roll executed perfectly. No bullshit, no banter, no brakes. Just high quality, high torque rock and ‘effin roll!!