Farewells are always emotional affairs, and none more than when it is akin to bidding goodbye to a close family member… and there was a tangible sense of emotion in the air as the Norn Irish rock family gathered to bid farewell to one of their most beloved brothers – as tonight marked the penultimate gig being played by Trucker Diablo’s Simon Haddock, who has decided to put his music career on hold to look after his autistic twin girls.
Setting the scene for this special evening – which also marked the umpty-oneth birthday of Fiona McFarland, one half of the husband and wife team behind the magnificent DRC – were madcap spaced-out rockers NASA Assassin, whose blend of rap, punk and metal is very much an acquired taste, but once so acquired results in an energetic and hugely entertaining live experience. With bassist Aidy beating the hell out of his instrument and cajoling the band to even greater heights of anarchic lunacy, the Watcher’s is his normal, wild-eyed unhinged maniacal self, while the rest of the band are tight, solid and appropriately under-stated. While the Assassin’s are heavily promoting their recently released debut album, ‘Area 69’, the highlight of their set is a rowdy and tongue-in-cheek cover of ELO’s classic ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’, which has even the most hardened metallian in the audience singing along at the top of their lungs.
The Robe Of Kinky John / White Panacea / Razor / Sexy Nervous Breakdown / One Man Crime Wave / Mystified / NASA Assassin / NASA City Rockers / Don’t Bring Me Down / Super–Collider / Not Givin’ Up Livin. (To Live)
Despite the underlying melancholy of the occasion, the ‘Big Truck’ knows only one way to roll – and that is with a huge smile on its collective face and the accelerator fully depressed. Tonight is no exception as Tom, Terry and Glenn are determined to give their band-mate and friend the best possible send off, with a free-wheeling juggernaut heavy run through of the highlights of their first two albums (including a rare outing for ‘Black And Blue’). In return, Simon doesn’t stop grinning from ear to ear as he laps up the genuinely adoring reaction from the second band of friends in the room – the audience.
The lads fittingly change the lyrics to first encore ‘We’re Gonna Rock’ to mark the aforementioned birthday, before bringing things to a suitably raucous conclusion with Simon taking centre stage for the Thin Lizzy-esque ‘Evil Marie’.
Free Wheelin / Red Light On / Year Of The Truck / Drive / Not So Superstar / Voodoo / Black And Blue / When’s It Gonna Rain? / Maybe You’re The One / Drink Beer, Destroy / The Rebel / Shame On You / Juggernaut
We’re Gonna Rock / I Wanna Party With You / Evil Marie
Photographs by Paul Verner. For more images from tonight’s gig, check out our gallery at http://planetmosh.com/trucker-diablonasa-assassin-diamond-rock-club-ahoghill-08022014/.
Simon bids his farewell to Trucker Diablo at the Enler Delta Blues Club, Comber, on Saturday March 1. Support comes from Baleful Creed: https://www.facebook.com/events/494277170682960/.
NASA Assassin launch their debut album, ‘Area 69’, at the Empire Music Hall, Belfast, on Friday February 21.