Those Damn Crows, to be fair, don’t have much to worry about these days. They’ve got an album ready, an ever growing fanbase and are one of the finest rock bands in the UK, but Shane Greenhall is troubled. “We love KK’s” says the effervescent TDC singer, “but they’ve changed the venue round since we were last here. Don’t mess with the Welsh, we don’t like change.” Handy then, that they appear to be just as good as when MV saw last them (staggeringly it was 2019, but that’s only a year ago isn’t it, seeing as nothing from March 2020 to August 2021 counts?). But that does mean that we haven’t seen them play anything from the masterpiece they put out in 2020, “The Point Of No Return”. It was going to put them in the big leagues. “Who Did It?” underlines why, as does “Long Time Dead”. The Crows, though, they few high a long while before the second album. Listen to “Don’t Give A Damn” from the debut and it’s class shines through. A special rock band, and one that knows it too. “Wake Up”, the new single, from an album which Greenhall proclaims to be “awesome”, certainly lives up to that epithet, but they are just as content to dip back to the past for “Blink Of An Eye”. More than anything, TDC just look like a gang of mates who love playing these tunes, and when they’re as good as “Go Get It”, why wouldn’t you. They end with “Rock N Roll Is Dead” (it isn’t, obviously, as the thousand or so in here would attest), but it’s kind of their anthem at this point. Indeed, so confident is Greenhall that they are going places, he places his drinks order in its last chorus: “Bartender, five tequilas, we’ll be with you in a minute….” And he probably got them too. Look, its obvious. Next time Those Damn Crows play here, they headline this room. Those big leagues, they still beckon.

My predictions aren’t always great (for example I saw Muse open for Feeder once in the 90s and told everyone they’d never be heard of again), but my god I got one right in 2013. On the 31st October 2013, to be precise, I saw what was then my favourite new band open for Vista Chino. On the blog two before this website I wrote this: “The Truck are monstrously good, get on board and tell them we sent you.”

That night, they’d done “Sweet Mountain River” last song. I remember because there was me and one other bloke that cheered for it. Tonight, they do it last song before the encores and the flames go off like its Wembley. There’s just a little feeling of “I told you so!” about it.

They are something of a throwback band. That is to say they’ve got this far by being too good to ignore, and this idea that they have done it all on their own terms rather permeates the songs too. “Don’t Tell Me How to Live” is something of a statement of intent – there are others.

“Old Train” from that “Furiousity” record that I loved so much, “She’s A Witch” and “Denim Danger” (it’s line “this is our town” seems to suggest they intend on taking them all one at a time) are all kind of hors d’oeuvres ahead of the main event if you will.

You see, today is not only about the tour, today is about the new “Warriors” record. Out this morning, I am aware that people haven’t had the luxury of fanboying all over it for weeks like I have, but even at a first time, you can’t resist the million miles an hour filth of “Golden Woman”.

“Black Forest” acts as a kind of filling in the new stuff sandwich, because “Fuzz Mountain” is stunning and its groove huge. The variety in the record is shown by “Live Free” (for which the middle finger on the t-shirt they are selling in the foyer might have been invented) and “Country Livin’” sort of does the same thing but with a more barbecue flavour.

“For The Sun” a song that was from their very early days, underlines the fact there has always been a chemistry here. Jeremy Widerman is, well, a wild man on the guitar and Brandon Bliss on organ have – like singer Jon Harvey – been in the band since 09 and the new drummer, Theo McKibbon, has fitted in neatly. It adds up to a sound not quite like anyone else’s. Indeed the new song “Get My Things And Go” is not quite like any other “dumping” song either.

Warriors for rock n roll that they are these days, The Truck afford themselves an encore – and a shed load more pyro – the new album’s title track deserves nothing less, neither does “Why Are You Not Rocking?” which has the hook, “rock n roll might save your life tonight”. So energised are MT that it feels like they might be the denim clad crusaders we need.

As they offer up the Clutch flavoured “The Lion” as a parting gift (there’s more flame) then you reflect on a couple of things: first how Monster Truck might be the hardest working, longest serving overnight sensations there is, but also this: why isn’t all music this good, this real and this viscerally exciting? That’s true of both bands by the way, but Monster Truck have basically won the battle for supremacy in the hard rock wars. True warriors, right here.

Photos Keith Tracy.