Gig review – MONSTER TRUCK & THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT at The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver

commodore

Vancouver’s best live-music establishment, The Commodore Ballroom, was bouncing on this particular night, and not just because of the venue’s famed sprung floor. Two stellar bands, both in their prime, were playing and it was definitely a night to remember if you were part of the audience.

temperance
The Temperance Movement.

First out was British soul/rock masters The Temperance Movement. No doubt, most people in the capacity crowd were there for Monster Truck, but The Temperance Movement had a good share of fans in the audience, and more fans by the end of their set.

It was really a revelation to see The Temperance Movement live. I’ve followed and admired this band for a few years now, and I must have listened to their tunes hundreds of times. Yet, to see them on stage put a new fire and a new light into each and every track. I don’t even know what to say about frontman Phil Campbell, except that this guy is surely a force of nature. His vocals and animated stage presence, combined with the band’s tight and powerful skills… whoa. It’s a special kind of magic when you see it, and feel it, and hear it all come together on stage, right in front of your eyes.

The band mixed up old tunes and new ones from their latest release ‘White Bear’ in a moving (literally and figuratively) and wicked-awesome set. Twist my rubber arm and I’d say that ‘Three Bulleits’ and ‘Ain’t No Tellin’ were standouts for me, but I could pick any tune in the set and make a good case for it.

There were moments when the music was so good that I got goosebumps, tapped my feet, and felt tears of happiness tickle and sting my eyes, all at the same time. I do hope they come back to Vancouver, and soon, because I’d love to see them do their thing on stage again.

monstertruck
Monster Truck.

By the time it was time for the Canadian guys of Monster Truck to take the stage, the Commodore was crackling with energy and anticipation. (There was also a haze of… something hanging in the air. Let’s just say the atmosphere was thick.)

And whoa, you lovely, hairy Monster Truck, you: what a night, and what a gig! This band, people. This damn band! They ripped into a long and strong set, and were on fire from first to last, in total command of the stage and the room. It was essentially a love fest, with the audience singing along, clapping, dancing, stage diving, throwing articles of clothing, and everything else that makes a rock and roll gig spectacular.

If Monster Truck really is a vehicle, one built for the delivery of hard and meaty rock and roll, then it is powered by one hellishly heavy and rumbling and satisfying riff-engine. Those riffs! With those drums! And keyboards! Not to mention: the vocals. All outstanding. (You know the sound at a venue is good when the riffs and drums are that heavy, and yet you can hear every word of the lyrics.) In short: it was bliss. The sprung floor at The Commodore vibrated, my ribs shook, and it was awesome.

Highlights of the set? Every. single. track. Old, new, whatever: ‘Seven Seas Blues’, ‘Don’t Tell Me How To Live’, ‘Old Train’, ‘She’s A Witch’… it was all pure gold.

The sheer joy of Monster Truck’s performance really got to me: it was abundantly clear that this band enjoys itself hugely on stage. They just looked like they were having the time of their lives, and so were we.

By the time the encore rolled around and the band dove into the glorious ‘For The Sun’ from ‘Furiosity’, I wanted to be laying back on a plush couch, chilled out and listening, because that jam could have gone on all night for all I cared. (Though with the last Skytrain home leaving at 1.16 am, it was probably good it didn’t). And then the finale: ‘Sweet Mountain River’ which is pretty much the definition of rock and roll bliss, anytime and anywhere.

Rock is dead you say? If you think that’s true, then get out of whatever graveyard you find yourself in, and get your butt out to see these two bands play.

For all upcoming tour-dates visit Monster Truck’s website & The Temperance Movement’s website.

Setlist – Monster Truck

  • Why Are You Not Rocking?
  • Don’t Tell Me How to Live
  • Old Train
  • She’s a Witch
  • Black Forest
  • The Enforcer
  • Seven Seas Blues
  • Things Get Better
  • For the People
  • Another Man’s Shoes
  • Righteous Smoke
  • The Lion

Encore:

  • For the Sun
  • Sweet Mountain River

Photo of the Commodore Ballroom’s sign via the venue’s Facebook Page.

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