[Photographer Andrei Chlytchkov’s last assignment of the decade was to get some shots of Monster Truck at Lee’s Palace on December 27. Text by L. Benny Sanders. – AC ]
It was an all-Canadian rally at Lee’s. Hamilton’s Monster Truck, supported by local Toronto good ole boys F. Scott and The Nighthawks. The house was packed (sold out!) with disappointed non-ticketholders stuck on the sidewalk.
The Nighthawks, six buddies, pickin’ and blowin’ (the harp) opened the show and set the evening in motion. As leader F. Scott Taylor said they are “Northern boys steeped in Southwestern sounds out there bustin’ their humps to make sure you’re havin’ a gas at every show.”
Taylor has a voice reminiscent of Tom Petty and the boys are energetic sons of rock ‘n roll, with a country twist. The drummer is acutely animated, and the principle party playing out front pulled the audience in with great original tunes like “Drunken Prophet Soul,” “Movin’ On,” and “Straight to Heaven.”
They played a cover of Dallas based Old 97’s “Let’s Get Drunk & Get It On” (what Nighthawks set would be complete without it?). I had been expecting them to open with “Kiss the Sun” but they saved that tune until next to last, and finally closed with “Honey Bee.”
Monster Truck motored in with “Why Are You Not Rockin’” and set the mood for their 16- song set. They rolled the crowd with ”Don’t Tell Me How to Live” (2015) from the album Sittin’ Heavy, “Old Train” (2014) from Furiosity, a tune that was featured in an episode of the Canadian sci-fi show Orphan Black) and “Devil Don’t Care,” a song that reminds me of Robert Johnson’s meeting at the crossroads.
The band includes lead singer and bassist Jon Harvey, guitarist Jeremy Widerman, keyboardist Brandon Bliss and drummer Steve Kiely. During the night, MT played music that wheeled through their decade of mowing down the Canadian music scene. They even traveled back to 2011 to include “Seven Seas Blues” (The Brown EP).
Their encore navigated through “Righteous Smoke” (from 2012’s Furiosity), “The Enforcer” (the 2016 track from Sittin’ Heavy used as the goal song for the Toronto Maple Leafs) and “The Lion” (more Furiosity).
One note: I was surprised that they didn’t play “Evolution” (a song from Monster Truck’s third studio album, True Rockers), but maybe it was because the studio recording featured Dee Snider, and he couldn’t make it to the Monster Truck Bash.
In the end though, a rockin’ good time was had by all.