Trucker Diablo/Gasoline Outlaws – Belfast, Bar Sub – 14 October 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Friday, 20 October 2017 04:15

It surely is the mark of the standing of a band, the reputation they have sweated blood to establish and the standing they have worked hard to gain on the scene when a promoter pro-actively tracks them down and offers them a gig – but, not just any old gig, but one of those landmark moments in any band’s career… the official launch of a new album. It’s a rare occasion, but that is the story behind tonight’s little shindig in the basement of the local university’s Students’ Union building… Let me elaborate, if you will…


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Back at the end of March, Trucker Diablo opened for Thunder on the last night of the latter’s UK tour: being the local heroes, they brought quite a crowd with them, who turned up early to sing themselves hoarse (and, of course, drink loads of beer) – the result so impressed the SU promoters that they immediately offered to host the Big Truck’s next Belfast gig. Now, at the time, ‘Fighting For Everything’ was looming just over the horizon, and the boys were actually looking for an idea on where to stage the launch gig: they could have gone with the “easy” option and return to one of their traditional stamping grounds – but, instead, they shrugged their shoulders in their usual “what the fuck” way, necked another beer… and, well, here we are!


In a way, there was only one band who could open this evening’s proceedings… After all, the Trucker lads had sort of “borrowed” their guitarist when Simon was unable to fulfil this past summer’s festival commitments due to those at home (and, as anyone who really knows the Trucker lads will know, there is nothing more important to them than their families): so, it was a no brainer that the Gasoline Outlaws, who themselves had lain dormant for a wee while now, would light the fuse for what proved to be an incendiary evening of straightahead, no bullshit, honest to fuckin’ goodness rock ‘n’f’n’ roll partying.


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Now, I’ve never really been a fan of this particular venue, but right from the opening notes of ‘Nothing On Me’ – and, believe me, nobody has anything on these guys in terms of delivering soul-fuelled hard rock – the sound mix is crystal clear, while at the same time retaining the right degree of bottom end crunch on both the bass and the guitar. And the boys are clearly in the zone: big Adam is wrenching the living fuck out of his guitar, while Chris is laying down those funky grooves on the bass; at the back, Ryan is as solid as a concrete block being dropped on your head, while up front “wee” Matt is guldering his little heart out with a titanic delivery that epitomizes his approach to everything he does.


The biggest response of the evening so far is deservedly reserved for the closest the guys come to a ballad, the acoustic-led ‘Someday’: perhaps it’s partially down to the growing crowd as much as the emotion the boys wrench from the song. But, then, they are pouring their ‘Heart And Soul’ into the set with their simple message of “just play that goddamn rock ‘n’ roll”: that’s just what they do, and that’s just what we want them to do, so it’s a win-win all around as they get the intimate crowd clapping and singing along, before Adam once again winds the neck off his guitar and takes this element of the party to its finale as the lads declare that ‘We Are Outlaws’. Hell yeah! Oh, and Ryan, you can thump that cowbell all night long, brother…


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A quick glance of the Trucker Diablo setlist shows they are planning a mammoth 23 songs: in fact, they can’t fit it onto one side of paper, leading to Simon complaining that he can’t read the sheet taped to his monitor… whether or not they’re going to be able to cram them all in before curfew is another matter – but, if Terry sticks his bass pedal to the floor with his usual degree of acceleration, we might be in for one helluva truck ride…


And so it proves as the lads prove that they are ‘Born Trucker’, the lead song off the new album (which, ironically, hasn’t been delivered in time for the launch show) before inviting us to ‘Party Like They Started The End Of The World’: hey Tom, you don’t need to tell me twice – I’m already heading to the bar!


Tom’s requests for everyone to shout out their favourite songs leads to some weird responses, such as “get her bucked” before they dive back into a heady mix of tracks from the new album and some rarely aired gems from their back catalogue. We go ‘Over The Wall’ to be beaten ‘Black And Blue’ (which features one of Tom’s best ever guitar solos), before they prove that, collectively ‘We Will Conquer All’. As Simon takes to the floor to encourage the audience to move closer to the stage, ‘Detroit Steel’ pumps fuel likes the cars about which it was written, before they flatten us with a mighty ‘Juggernaut’: Ricky Warwick sauntering in and joining the party would just about have been the icing on the cake of tonight’s sense of occasion.


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After the poignant ‘When The Waters Rise’, which Tom translates easily to the live environment, adding a degree of heaviness but retaining the raw emotion of the original interpretation, it’s an accelerated hellride convoy of pure, honest, rock ‘n’ roll tunes, from newbies such as ‘We’re Gonna Ride’ through the obligatory anthems such as ‘Drink Beer Destroy'.


I’ll be honest, I lost count of the number of songs Trucker actually managed to cram into their almost two-hour set, but it didn’t really matter because there was only one way this evening was going to end… and that was drunkenly and rowdily – and that’s just the way it did! And we wouldn’t have it any other way – after all, we know how to party here in Belfast!


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