Pics taken by @elchicohache
If there is an iconical European stoner rock band from the last 15 years, that is Truckfighters. For both their amazing live performance and their flawless discography, the Swedish trio has become a force of nature and one of the best known acts of the genre. If, besides that, they are playing their opus magna 14 years after its release and an indefinite hiatus, we have the perfect storm.
For those who don’t know them, which will probably be quite a lot outside the Spanish stoner scene, Electric Monolith might be a pleasant surprise. The Barcelona trio plays a 70s hard rock with pretty obvious influences from Led Zep and Jimi Hendrix. Even though that is not the most groundbreaking tag ever, the truth is that Electric Monolith push the right buttons to keep you engaged. Psychedelic blues with an upbeat soul when required, which shows in amazing tracks like “Resurrect the Dead” or “Hole in the Sky” that there is still room for a good old dose of smoking amps.
The voice of Óscar Chamorro and the easiness to build vintage structures of the rhythm section (formed by Pepo Villena on drums and Ramón Vinya on bass guitar) are probably the main strengths of this charged stoners, whose only flaw may be to get sometimes a bit too close to sabbathian areas. Anyway, the simple effectiveness of their studio sound (pay attention to their “Resurrect the Dead” record from last year) was for sure matched with a restrained but awesome live exhibition in an already pretty crowded Gruta.
As I said, after their temporary two years separation, the hype to see Ozo and Dango back on the road was through the roof. Despite the well-deserved fame they have earned through the years, in a small venue like the Gruta (maybe a bit too small, since the visibility from the sides was too poor), these Swedish seem to be in their element. To keep things brief: Truckfighters’ show wasn’t an average gig, but a continuous ascent towards the perfection of the riff repetition.
After a recorded intro in the shape of “Altered State”, the trio began rocking with “A. Zapruder” (probably, their song with the coolest name). With the audience totally surrended from the beginning, “In Search of (The)” was the first real highlight in a long series. That is the good thing about a mythical record whose first half is absolutely outstanding. The only way “Gravity X” could be improved is the one Truckfighters chose for this world tour: playing it in reverse. That way, the riffs end piling up in an extraordinaire final leg whose end is the most recognizable and legendary stoner rock song ever.
Before that, the strength of “Manhattan Project”, the catchy chorus of “Gweedo-Weedo” and the aggressiveness of “Freewheelin’” had us all on our knees. Even without the element of surprise, the arrival of the final three songs was a moment to retain. First, the strangely emotional “Momentum”, with its slow crescendo so many times imitated (even by themselves). Then, the much more straightforward “Gargarismo”, with those trademark stop-and-go’s. And to finish, well, you already know it. And they did too, so they tried to trick us by teasing its monumental riff over and over until they threw us all into a pool full of crowdsurfers, sweat and joy. “Desert Cruiser” sounded like the desertic heaven it depicts. Without any doubts, the best of the three times I have seen them play it.
It is safe to say that the whole audience (as well as themselves, according to their expressions) were both exhausted and exultant after such a stoner rock hurricane. But Truckfighters wanted to add a bit of surprise to their sandy cocktail. With that in mind, they played an encore consisting of two of their most acclaimed songs from other records. The old pearl “Mexico”, strongly begged by a group of die-hard fans. And the not less demolishing “Mind Control”, from their second to last record “Universe”.
So like that, banging our torsos like Dango and goin’ down to Mexico with the foot on the gas pedal is how Truckfighters left us all. Iommi bless these guys.