When you go to a gig headlined by ‘the best band that’s ever existed’ according to Josh Homme, you suspect you’re going to be in for a good night. And the awesome Truckfighters delivered on that impressive acclaim along with fellow Swedish band Deville and the incredible French rockers Dot Legacy at the O2 Academy in Islington on Friday evening.
The gig kicked off by the visually impressive Dot Legacy, whose frontman and six-string bassist Damien Quintard looking dapper, guitarist and keys player Arnaud Merckling dominating the stage with his huge hair and crowd pleasing antics, and the shirtless guitarist and drummer John Defontaine and Arthur Ménard. They looked cool, but the musical masterclass that followed was even better.
The Frenchmen opened up with keys and guitar followed by a huge burst of drums then flew into a huge instrumental mix of massive guitar noise, then cutting out and shouting the chorus and then back into more fantastic instrumental interludes. It was an almost never-ending, but absolutely superb opening track with some really cool vocal effects from one of Quintard’s two microphones and ended with an insane guitar solo.
The third track was a particular highlight, kicking off with a few hits of a cowbell then flying into a huge musical intro of really funky high-pitched guitar blasts between a mash of manic musical noise. Then the suspense built followed by a few more cowbell hits and more awesome instrumental interludes, particularly Merkcling smashing out some great guitar solos.
Next up was the impressive 5314, where Quintard’s vocal excellence was highlighted by a section where he screams out a tune which is then imitated by Defontaine on guitar, and bursts of almost scat-like vocals.
Dot Legacy bowed out with the excellent Pyramid, which began with cool guitar effects supporting rap-like vocals followed by a funky bass line supported by soft drums and guitar licks. This was followed by some wild guitar bursts and blasts of noise then silence filled by shouts from Ménard which led into a long full band rockout, portraying Dot Legacy at their brilliant best.
This has to be one of the best opening acts I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been loving listening to their new album To The Others, which I bought at the gig, ever since. You absolutely have to check out the wonderful musical talent of Dot Legacy.
This impressive opening was a tough act to follow, but the musical excellence was continued by Swedish four-piece Deville, who are signed to Truckfighters’ Fuzzorama Records label.
My first impression to seeing them come onstage was there was a lot of hair, and they opened up to a huge reverb sound, all crowded around the drummer then smashed into their wonderful brand of rock. If you’ve not heard Deville before then they kind of sound like a blend of the aforementioned Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age and Orange Goblin, which means they sound pretty damn good.
There were big guitar chords aplenty fused with some awesome fast riffs and a lot of devil horn action. They closed out with the awesome Rise Above, which began with ominous laboured guitar chords that led into a slow repeated guitar riff that looped a few times before the drums entered. It’s impossible not to enjoy their low, heavy riffing and the engaging vocals. Check out their epic riffs for yourself on their dedicated Deville Riffs Facebook page.
Two fine support acts had seen the crowd building gradually but by the time the main event of Truckfighters arrived the venue was absolutely packed.
The Swedes opened up with Mind Control, which kicked off with a trademark awesome guitar riff from the incredible Niklas ‘Dango’ Källgren.That was followed by more awesome riffage as Truckfighters took us back to 2009 with Traffic. We then quickly came back to the present with The Contract, from this album’s V, which began slowly with a bassy introduction and slow laboured vocals then bursting into life with more cool guitar riffs from Dango as he spun round and round in small circles to get the audience moving.
Possibly the best track of the night was Monte Gargano, which had the audience going crazy with its infective riffs and Dango’s amazing facial expressions as he intertwined huge solos with massive riffs. A huge reverb and huge drum solo led us into The 1, which is one of my personal favourite Truckfighter tracks with its awesome guitar riffs and almost Soundgarden-like vocals.
The main set was brought to an end with another return to 2009 album Phi in the form Atomic, with its jumpy guitar solos and Dango playing an awesome solo behind his head while spinning in quick circles – all in all it was an unbelievably impressive guitarist masterclass.
After a brief encore the band returned with the epic final track of 2014’s Universe, Mastodont. The near 14-minute album track was simply superb live and featured probably the longest and most amazing guitar solo I’ve ever seen, along with the most fantastic instrumental music performances you’re ever likely to see.
Truckfighter closed out with the awesome Desert Cruiser and its signature riff and fuzzy chord and winding solos, to bring a superb gig to a fitting end.
All three of these bands were absolutely superb, and I urge you to check them out if you ever get a chance.
Truckfighters are heading off to America in the New Year for a country-wide tour before a couple of festivals back in Europe in March, keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Dot Legacy on Facebook and Twitter, and also follow Deville on Facebook and Twitter.