Trucker Diablo – Ahoghill, Diamond Rock Club 07/03/2015

Tom Harte - Trucker DiabloThey say that a week is a long time in politics, but a year is an extremely long time in the music business.  Fans can lose interest in a band who have been quiet for any length of time, never mind a full 12 months:  after all, it could be argued that many fans have an attention span shorter than that of your average goldfish, as they constantly search for the next cool act as heralded by certain sections of the media who constantly succumb to the financial clout of big name record and PR companies to give thousands of, often ill-deserved, column inches to their latest little dahlings…

However, when Northern Ireland’s hardest rockin’ crew, Trucker Diablo, went on hiatus last year, the clamour for them to return, as reported frequently on this very site in the intervening period, was almost deafening… and it was an acclamation which the band – coupled with their pure desire to write and perform – the band found impossible to deny.  And so, here we are,  exactly one year and six days after their last live appearance, crammed into the best little rock club in the northern part of the island of Ireland, with sweat dripping from the walls and beer taps running dry, awaiting the big truck’s engine to roar back into life…

Matz Fitzsimons - Gasoline OutlawsFirst of all, that engine needs fuelled and oiled and who better to do that than the Gasoline Outlaws?  Having emerged from the shadows of the early part of the year, this exciting new quartet features former and current members of the likes of Black Freeway, Last Known Addiction and Pay*ola…  From a darkened stage, the drums start to beat and as the lights come on the band bounce on stage with the energy that any teenager would be proud to have.

The crowd steps back not sure what is coming their way.  Matt’s husky blues vocals draw the crowd forward again, still unsure of what’s happening, only to be stunned with ‘Nothing On Me’.  The intro to the next track is “Let’s get this amazing night started”.  ‘Lie’ brings another up beat high energy song and you can see the doubters starting to warm to this new band on the scene.  “Come on and feel me now” introduces ‘Let Me Out’, the only cover from the band and, as the funky rock/blues beat blasts out, the raspy sandpaper vocals send shivers down the spines of the whole crowd.  This new band has the crowd eating outs their hand.

As the set continues, the hard sexy guitars and vocal ejaculation of this tight new band have has the sweat quickly running down the walls of this amazing venue, and as the final song ‘Outlaws’ is announced the whole crowd are sorry that this amazing band are leaving the stage; but they really whipped the crowd up for main attraction of the night…

Simon Haddock of Trucker Diablo at Diamond Rock Club, March 2015“We are Trucker Diablo, back from the dead!” proclaims Tom Harte, bringing 12 months of silence to an end with that handful of intentive words and the opening chords of their breakthrough anthem and statement of intent, ‘Drink Beer, Destroy’, which sounds faster and more intensive than ever before.  The brakes are most definitly off and the renascent Big Truck is once more racing down the highway, as ‘Drive’ sees the quartet nail the accelerator to the floor.  ‘Party Like They Started The End Of The World’ has both the band and the audience fully intending to do just that, while ‘Fight Life’ – the opening track from their third album ‘Rise Above The Noise‘ – pulls no punches and has even those who have not yet heard the new opus singing along to the chorus.

The jump and jive of ‘Red Light On’ demonstrates the immediate integration of new bassist Jim McGurk into the Trucker family, and he brings a thicker, bluesier edge to the bottom end of the band’s sound, especially on the likes of the dirty and swampy ‘Voodoo’, the absolutely huge ‘Murder Ballad’ – which evokes one of the most emotional responses of the night – and the darkly sweeping swell of ‘Take Me To The River’.  Harte and fellow guitarist Simon Haddock are clearly enjoying being back on stage and in front of friends, as they banter back and forth with the front rows, in between trying to wipe the biggest grins imaginable off their collective bakes, while Terry Crawford threatens, one more than one occasion, to demolish his kit with the ferocity of his playing.

Jim McGurk of Trucker Diablo at Diamond Rock Club, March 2015‘Juggernaut’ suitably crunches through the Big Truck’s gears, while the beautiful ‘Don’t Cry’ contrasts pathos with its crunching riff, and ‘I Wanna Party With You’ brings the main set to a suitably rowdy finale.  After a short break to catch their breath, the two song encore finally brings proceedings to a riotous finale with the combination of the Lizzy-esque ‘Girl In The Photograph’ and a terrific version of ‘Rosalie’, which hoarsens what few voices are left and wrings every ounce of sweaty passion out of everyone present.

The Big Truck’s well-oiled engine is roaring louder and smoother than ever.  It’s so good to have it back on the roll and keeping on rolling…

Trucker Diablo will headline the main stage at the Pentrich Rock and Blues Festival in Derbyshire on Friday July 24.  They also play the Steelhouse Festival (with UFO, Dee Snider, Y&T, Tyketto, No Hot Ashes, Massive Wagons, Skam, Florence Black and more to be announced) on July 25/26, and HRH House Of Horrors at Pwllheli (with Saxon, UFO, Black Spiders, Rock Goddess, Toseland, Screaming Eagles and many more) from November 12-15.

Gasoline Outlaws review and all photographs by The Dark Queen.

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About Mark Ashby

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