Trucker Diablo – Diamond Rock Club, Ahoghill – Saturday May 18th 2013

Trucker Diablo at Diamond Rock ClubI cannot be the only one struck by the irony of the coincidence… just days before Black Star Riders – basically, Thin Lizzy with a bit of makeover – release their much-vaunted but ultimately disappointing ‘debut’ opus, the one band acclaimed by many as the natural heirs to the crown of Lynott, Moore et al officially launched their sophomore album, ‘Songs Of Iron’, onto an unsuspecting world, with this intimate show in the little country pub that has become the living, breathing heart and soul of the Norn Iron rock scene…

Known for their driving, in-your-face anthems, it was somewhat of an unusual step for the Truckers to choose to support themselves by playing an acoustic set, but it was a gamble which paid off, very handsomely, and showed a different aspect of the Big Truck as its four drivers momentarily eased their foot off the gas and then slowly slipped into ‘Park’ mode.

It’s an impressive hors d’oeuvre, made up of tracks from their ‘The Devil Rhythm’ debut, including the groovy ‘Voodoo’, the anthemic ‘Drink Beer, Destroy’ and ‘Stand Up And Fight’ and the appropriated ‘Juggernaut’ (the original recording, of course, featured a certain Ricky Warwick), as well as a poignant ‘We Are Forever’ (one of the tracks which did not make the cut for the new album).  It may be an acoustic set, but it raises the roof and the whole place feels like its ready to implode with excitement by the time the ‘Big Truck’ pulls off the makeshift dancefloor stage…

Trucker DiabloThe main set is a run through of ‘Songs Of Iron’ – but the Trucker boys are not merely content to start off with Track 1, press play and blast their way through the songs in their recorded order:  rather,they mix it up a bit by translating them to a more fitting live running order.  Of course, these are songs which are designed to be played live (and loud) and so the quartet proceed to crush all before them with ‘Rebel’, fill ‘Not So Superstar’ with extra vim and vitriol, and almost succeed in bringing a tear to many a middle aged eye with the powerful ‘Maybe You’re The One’.  Other set highlights – if it is fair to pick out individual songs – are the always rambunctious ‘Rock Hallelujah’ (dedicated to the late Ronnie James Dio in the week of the third anniversary of his untimely passing) and the pulsating boogie of ‘Highway Radio’ – written, as Tom Harte wrily informs us, backstage at Download – possessed of the sort of riff the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd would pay huge bucks to plagiarize, the superb ‘When’s It Gonna Rain’ (do they really need to ask that question in this part of the world and the badass bar-room stomp of ‘I Want To Party With You’.

I’ve said it before, but I feel no shame in repeating myself… the Big Truck is on the roll and you better jump on board or get the hell out of its way, because this juggernaut has a baseball-capped devil at its wheel and the accelerator placed very firmly to the floor…

‘Songs Of Iron’ is out now on Ripple Music.

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Photographs courtesy of Paul Wharton (

About Mark Ashby

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