LIVE: Monster Truck / The Picturebooks @ Electric Ballroom, London

By Christopher Lee

Canadian heavy hitters Monster Truck return to London’s Electric Ballroom for an intimate yet explosive headline show. 2016 was a pretty big year for these guys, which saw not only the release of the bands second album, the acclaimed ‘Sittin’ Heavy’ but also an appearance on the main stage at Download Festival before hitting the road in support of Nickelback.

It’s a cold, wet evening in Camden and after what seems like an eternity of queuing all the way down Camden High Street to get into the venue it’s the job of German two piece, The Picturebooks to get the crowd well and truly warmed up. Opening up with an epic instrumental that only adds to the atmosphere of the evening they then explode into producing a sound with their unique playing technique (No symbols on a drum kit?) that transports you straight to the deep south of America.

What’s unique about these guys is the huge sound they manage to create between them. Philipp Mirtschink produces drumbeats with a relentless sense of impending doom, making the hairs on your arm stand up. While Fynn Claus Grabke although admitting he only knows one chord insures you’ll be imagining you’re sat around a campfire, outside a tepee at one with nature on a sandy open plain. The venue mighty only be half full to begin with but by the time their mammoth 45 min set is over they’re applauded of stage rapturously by a full house.

There’s enough time for everyone in the crowd to grab a quick drink and pop to the loo before the house lights drop and cheers spread throughout the crowd as an intro plays a literal countdown. Taking to the stage under cover of darkness Monster Truck explode into life as the countdown hits 1, almost like their namesake vehicle out of the starting blocks in a drag race.

The fast tempo start even takes the crowd by surprise who seem to just gently sway through the opening track which is somewhat ironically ‘Why Are You Not Rocking?’. It doesn’t take long for the crowd to find their singing voices however and before you know it both band and crowd are joined together in an unholy partnership of Rock & Roll.

The guys’ guitar playing is on fire, not literally but it may as well be as riff after infectious riff roll over the crowd who lap up every note. Not to be outdone by The Picturebooks, Jon Harvey & co express their musical talents throughout and even throw in a few instrumentals of their own for good measure. The crowd dance, sing , clap and stomp their feet through nearly 90 minutes whilst never really threatening break out into anything like a mosh pit. But then that’s not really what Monster Truck are about. They’re here this evening to bring a slice of Ontario’s finest rock and good times for all, and that’s exactly what they do.