Coming off the release of their newest album, True Rocker, Canadian thunderchuckers Monster Truck revved up Montreal at the Corona Theatre alongside German rock duo The Picture Books. It was a classic night of classic fucking rock n’ roll, man. A whole lotta AC/DC, Zeppelin and other true rocker apparel could be spotted as the people filled the floor of the venue. Monster Truck have been able to free themselves of all subgenres and have managed to hook into the classic rock sound and demographic with ease.
The Picture Books were first up, and their setup immediately turned heads. With one amp and one drum kit on the stage, people had been anticipating the duo. The strange thing about the setup was that their drummer didn’t have any cymbals! Absurd! Using extra floor toms and snares, the drums provided a specific range of percussion to their music. This setup was probably the most notable part of the band’s performance, unfortunately.
With a lingering crowd that still hadn’t filled the room, it seemed like they were trying to put on a stadium show. The house lights flashed on a million times during their opening set, a move I would usually save for the headlining band at the end of the night. Their frontman also lifted his hand up to the skies so often that you could get seriously drunk if you turned it into a drinking game. After a few songs, the music became very derivative. A lot of ‘oh oh’ and ‘ou ou’ and ‘ah ah’ in the choruses shaved off the impact every time. The lack of drum dynamic didn’t help their case. If you closed your eyes it sounded like a guy playing guitar with a kick drum at his feet. Very two-dimensional sounding. The lads did have a very positive message and energy that they made sure to convey, but sometimes the up-sell could be killer.
Monster Truck was up next with their more traditional setup. Guitar, bass, vocals, drums and keys all ran through pretty conservative rigs to create a nasty sound that was the sum of all parts. The band is coming on the brink of 10 years of being together and holy Christ did it ever sound like it. Tightness. Opening with their 2013 track “The Lion”, the band was locked into their tracks and they proceeded unflinchingly. The stage energy was bumping as guitarist Jeremy Widerman ripped across the stage wielding his cream-coloured SG; in these moments, one could not resist thinking of Angus Young. Vocalist and bassist Jon Harvey towered above the crowd and laid down gross vocals throughout the entire set. It’s insane how much power is packed into that man. A huge plus to their sound was the fact that everybody pitched in for vocals, creating moments of luxurious harmonies that really helped deliver the music.
The sound would often take dips into the depths of stoner rock, as there were many moments of heavy riffage and jams. It’s great to be able to cover so much space on the rock spectrum, from the dirty riffs to the crowd chanting songs like “Evolution”, people were dialed in on many levels. Chants and sing-a-longs rang throughout the night and fans were getting into it. Maybe too much at one point, as many people had the pleasure of watching the show asshole get choked slammed in the pit. True rockers man. At that point in the set, “Sweet Mountain River” was rounding things out for the night and people were clearly very hyped and emotional and wasted.
The show landed on its two feet though, with an encore and loving round of applause from everyone. It’s crazy to think that Monster Trucks first ever show in Montreal was at L’Esco, and they’re now headlining Corona. It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock n’ roll.
Written by Ben Cornel
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito