Monster Truck roll into Bristol on their Tourin’ Heavy UK/European Tour – and it’s a welcome pitstop indeed.

Upon arrival at the venue, the sold-out Marble Factory is filling up early in anticipation for the immense night of rock ahead. 

Support throughout the tour comes in the shape of The Picturebooks from Gütersloh in Germany. The duo featuring Fynn Claus Grabke (vocals/guitar) and Philipp Mirtschink (drums) are on their third visit to Bristol, having last been seen supporting The Answer at The Thekla nearly two years ago. The Picturebooks were good then, and are even better now. 

The stage is their’s as they go through the motions of their set and they don’t hold back for one minute, giving 110% throughout. Grabke’s guitar screams as they hit the stage running so to speak with opener “PCH Diamond” from the band’s debut album Imaginary Horse. Philipp on drums makes some big noise with the aid of his oversized sticks; he beats his kit like it owes him money.

The Picturebooks showcase some heavy grunge fused blues from their new album Home Is A Heartache, which was released earlier this month. “Wardance” has a blistering Native American Indian beat to it, as the name suggests, and it is played with passion. “Zero Fucks Given” is another frantically heavy riff-laden song, which sees Grabke totally mistreating his electro-acoustic – again, clearly living up to the song’s title. Tonight the band are playing like their lives depend on it.

Frontman Fynn performs with flair and skill and is a pleasure to watch, particularly during the likes of “Cactus” whereby he chooses to play the guitar with his teeth. On the other hand during “Learn It The Hard Way” he generates some weird and wonderful sounds from his axe, which in places are reminiscent of a Theremin. The band bring their set to a close with “Your kisses Burn Like Fire” and it’s a brilliant end to an astonishing set, leaving the audience more than warmed up for the mighty Monster Truck.

Having heard great things about this band’s live performances, this writer was seriously looking forward to catching Monster Truck tonight. The four-piece were last in the UK at the tail end of 2016 as main support to fellow Canadian rockers Nickleback during their extensive arena tour.

Hailing from Ontario, Canada, the band are here at the start of a long European tour and they are doing exactly what it says on the tin – Tourin’ Heavy. As Monster Truck takes to the stage they launch straight into “Why Are You Not Rocking?”, from the band’s new album Sittin’ Heavy, which in turn sets the scene for the rest of the night.

“Old Train”, from the band’s first album Furiosity, has the crowding hanging on every word, which certainly brings a big smile from frontman Jon Harvey’s face. Tonight the band include in the set the lion’s share of their latest offering. Monster Truck starts a seven-song stretch of tracks from the record with an old school head’s down rock song – “Don’t Tell Me How To live”.

Monster Truck’s set ebbs and flows with slow building numbers like “She’s A Witch” equally played alongside the the Bad Company-esque “Black Forest”, the southern tinged “For The People” and the anthemic “Things Get Better”. The latter of which inevitably results in a mass singalong from the Bristol crowd.

As the band head into the final third of their set, they delve deep into their back catalogue with “Seven Seas Blues” from the The Brown EP and “Sweet Mountain River” and during the latter of which the crowd have most certainly brought their singing voices. The band closes out their main set with the hard rocking “New Soul”, during which lead guitarist Jeremy Widerman gets up close and personal with the fans in the pit in front of the stage.

The keen crowd get the obvious encore which is again laced with another couple of old favourites. Widerman delivers some superb guitar work during the hard and heavy “Call It A Spade”; his fingers dance across the strings and has the crowd clapping along.

Monster Truck brings the show to a fitting finale with “The lion”, which immediately sets the crowd into headbanging induced frenzy. Frontman Jon Harvey informs the audience that it’s the best time he’s had on a Wednesday night in his entire life, and tonight the Bristol crowd are most definitely in agreement.

Photos by: Becky O’Grady

Monster Truck
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The Picturebooks
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The Marble Factory
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Event Date: 15-MAR-2017