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Thursday, 20 March 2014

A View From The Back Of The Room: Lords Of The Riff Vol.1

Lords Of The Riff Vol.1: Monster Truck, Scorpion Child & Buffalo Summer, Exchange Bristol

Back from Hammerfest and after a quick change, across the bridge and into the tiny Exchange for what was the sold out first show on the Team Rock sponsored Lords Of The Riff tour which was a showcase for young acts. When I say sold out I mean it as the venue was packed tighter than Coverdale into his trousers, there was no room to breathe and the venue warmed up quickly, still sometimes its nice to see a venue sell out for 3 lesser known bands.

Buffalo Summer

Due to the queue to get in we managed to catch the last half of the set by Welsh rockers Buffalo Summer but when the band were grooving nicely to their brand of Zeppelin-like rock playing selections from their debut album and also some new tracks (which sound very good indeed), with lots of funky old school riffs and tracks like Down To The River which has a sing along middle section, as well as A Horse Called Freedom and the foot stomping She's All Natural. Buffalo Summer did a great job of warming up the crowd and put everyone in that 70's mindset that was needed for the rest of the evening. 8/10

Scorpion Child

This show was a double headliner and the closer switched every show this time it was up to Monster Truck to follow Scorpion Child and boy would they have a hell of a job. The Texan band strolled on to the stage with Orange Goblin's Ben Ward looking on and the now four piece (this band has more ex-members than Spinal Tap) plunged straight into the gutter blues of Kings Highway and it hot me as soon as they started to play that this band are very similar to Percy and co. Kings Highway has a very psychedelic Zeppelin vibe to it with Christopher Cowart busting out the Page like riffs and Aryn Johnathan Black having the mystical stage craft and vocal gusto of Plant (albeit through a mic that was knackered leading to feedback) still for 40 minutes the band managed to bewitch the audience with their heavy, psychedelic rock perfect for those with a some medicine to smoke. The relentless riff of Polygon Of Eyes with its awesome chorus came next as did Salvation Slave (more Zeppelinisms), The Secret Spot, Liquor and their cover of Keep Goin' originally by Lucifer's Friend. The band were a revelation to watch, they were heavy, groovy and slightly unpredictable with Black getting into the audience more than once. Scorpion Child blew the roof off the Exchange with their riff heavy-psych rock which ebbed and flowed throughout the set. An absolutely killer set from the Texans that Monster Truck were going to have to work hard to follow. 10/10

Monster Truck

So on came the Canadians, again a four piece but this time loaded with a keyboard to bring the Purple to proceedings. Considering that Monster Truck are from North of the border they sounded the most Southern of the two band kicking off with The Lion which was all blustering riffs and big organs yes they got the place rocking and worked their debut record playing For The Sun, the ballad My Love Is True, the excellent Sweet Mountain River (which sounds like both Black Stone Cherry and Mountain) before the well known track Old Train came in the middle of the set. Don't get me wrong Monster Truck are good at what they do the bass, guitar, drums and keys all work together and the vocals of bassist John Harvey and guitarist Jeremy Widerman work in tandem and give the band a sound similar to fellow Canadians Priestess, however you can help feeling that the songs are all a bit samey and after the sheer white hot brilliance of Scorpion Child, Monster Truck couldn't follow. I'd go and see them in heartbeat but I think they were just a victim of circumstance. 8/10

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