Truckfighters + Sierra + Mooch @ Bar le Ritz – 15th August 2019

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I admit that when I showed up to Bar le Ritz last Thursday night to see Truckfighters I felt a little out of place.  I was female, over 45 and I thought Desert Rock was a spa in Arizona.

Regardless, I am always up for discovering new music and heard good things about the opening acts.  

Mooch is local Montréal band that calls their style of music “Desert Rock.”   Originating in Southern California in the 90’s, it’s basically a groovy mix of psychedelia, blues, heavy metal, punk rock and alternative rock and is very close to “Stoner Rock.” (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss)

I had a chance to speak with them after their set and was immediately taken with their positive vibe.  Mooch is Ben Cornel on lead guitar and vocals, Julian Iacovantuono on bass and vocals and Alex Segreti on drums and vocals.  Together for about 3 years, they are currently shopping for a label and have 11 tracks that are ready to be recorded.  They all agreed on their love of 70’s and 90’s rock, listing Black Sabbath, LED Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix as well as Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss as influences.

Last year they got to work with one of their idols Brant Bjork in California.  (Bjork is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and producer from Palm Desert, California. He was the drummer and founder of the influential Californian stoner rock band Kyuss and has a very strong presence in the stoner rock and Palm Desert scenes.)

I had to cut our conversation short because I ended up missing most of the second band,  Sierra. This “Stoner/ Prog/ Psychedelic band from Ontario had got the crowd pretty hyped.  By now Le Ritz was packed from the stage all the way to the door and the thick haze of weed that wafted from outside, combined with warm beer and sweat had permeated the club.  

As I shoved my way through the mass of spaced out fans I heard a voice that was truly made for rock.  I caught a glimpse of Jason Taylor’s long, silky blond hair, I felt transported back to 70’s. Backed by Robbie Carvalho on bass and Ky Anto on drums, Jason’s guitar skills were as powerful as his vocals.

The Truckfighters hit the stage around 10:00 but had some technical difficulties with their equipment.  The crowd became restless and started chanting “Truck Fighters! Truck Fighters!” until the band hit their first note.

This Stoner Rock/ Heavy Metal power trio hails from Örebro Sweden.  Formed in 1991, and after quite a few lineup changes, the band currently consists of Ozo (Oskar Cedermalm) on vocals and bass, Dango (Niklas Källgren) on guitar and Pezo (Oscar Johansson) on drums.

Storming onto the stage, the first thing Dango did was rip off his t-shirt and throw it into the crowd.  He raised his arms over his head and roared some kind of Viking battle cry and then that buzz that everyone was waiting for,  finally kicked in.

I was close enough to see the athletic tape on his knee and that his long brown hair had started to grey but that didn’t stop his toned, lanky body from thrashing around the stage.  After almost a year hiatus, these boys were ready to play and they played hard.  

Opening the set with “Altered State”, they wasted no time pleasing the fans with all their favorite jams, working them into a frenzy.  I got lost in a swarm of sweaty, bearded, Truckfighters T-shirt wearing headbangers and the concept of Desert Rock became very clear.  The August humidity, the full Aquarius moon and the supercharged vibe of the music lovers, turned the Ritz into a Stoner Rock shvitz.

If you missed the show or want to learn more check out their film titled “ Truckfighters (Fuzzomentary)” by Joerg Steineck and Christian Maciejewski.  Released in 2011, it features interviews with Josh Homme of (Queens of the Stone Age). And provides an entertaining view of the three “ordinary” guys who transform into “Fuzz Monsters” onstage.

So, in the true spirit of being a Montreal Rocks contributor, my evening was full of music, adventure and I got to meet some groovy people.

I was invited to join The Stoner Rock Army (thanks Eric) and Marc-Andre from the band Black Sheep gave me a copy of their new CD State of Mind.

Review – Annette Aghazarian 

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