Belgian power trio Triggerfinger have got something going on. They rock hard with a set of diverse material that has a freshness and purpose too often lacking in cliché ridden rock and they deliver it all with a welcome sense of humour.
Tonight they’ve added a keyboard player who gives them some of the sonic detail that makes their new ‘Colossus’ album so interesting.
Sharp of suit and steely of riff, they tap into one of rock music’s main arteries to rise above a huge wall of sound and shape their songs with an array of tonal colours, killer riffs, sharp dynamics and booming hooks.
The band’s name doesn’t quite convey their musical elasticity. They don’t so much go for the kill as build things up by degrees. Their volume levels shakes the 100 Club to its foundations, before they effortlessly shift gears as only a great rock band can do.
They take the stage to a warm reception and effervescent drummer Mario Goossens plays up to the crowd by standing on his drum riser to encourage an even bigger response, and all this before they’ve hit the opening chord.
Goossens is a hard driving presence in the band and could potentially a great front man in his own right. His own moment comes later in the form of a gargantuan drum solo, but for now he locks horns with bassist Paul Van Bruystegem to generate a thunderous wall of sound.
The band makes an opening statement with a huge double bass led drone that evokes both the feel and the title of their album ‘Colossus’.
Front man and principal songwriter Ruben Block might look like an accountant, but he strikes a confident pose – business like and to the point – before launching himself into some one man physical theatre and performance art. He’s all angular poses and a wiry presence as he literally leans into the songs.
At one point he nearly doubles up and then launches himself towards the ceiling with a thrust of his guitar neck.
Triggerfinger fill the room with an ominous sound that could be shifting tectonic plates. They are voluminous, intense and just plain big, but they never lose sight of the essential dynamics of presentation.
The funky antecedent of ‘Upstairs Box’ finds Ruben mixing choppy lead guitar with vocals that go way beyond his natural range. It’s a killer track with an eerie hook that ignites the crowd.
‘By Absence of the Sun’ leads to lots of fist pumping at the front and more physical contortions from Ruben, before the rhythm section kicks in like a jet plane taking off.
It’s a quarter of the way into the set before Ruben finally welcomes everyone, and with a twinkle in his eye he asks; “It’s too loud isn’t”, before thanking the crowd for being there.
They steam into the riff led and exclamatory banshee wail of ‘Flesh Tight’, which receives an even bigger ovation than the more familiar fare that’s gone before.
It’s short, sharp, in the pocket, rocks like a mother and defines what they are about.
Triggerfinger know they are on to something. A sprinkle of Pearl Jam, Maiden and Zeppelin T-shirts confirms the broad based constituents of an enthusiastic crowd that laps up the band’s original mix of rock, electro and grunge, all delivered with punk like energy levels and plenty of volume.
And yet in spite of all the rock bluster, they are a band for whom the primacy of the song remains paramount, even if they aren’t given to sharing the song titles.
From the chant-along hook of the crowd pleasing Colossus’, to the feral rocking of ‘Bring Me Back A Live Wild One’ and Goossens OTT drum solo, Triggerfinger press all the right buttons and thoroughly deserve their encore.
Earlier on acoustic singer songwriter Peter Shoulder – a Blues Grammy award winner and once a band member of UK band Winterville with Mario Goossens – works hard to generate interest with well structured songs and some startling phrasing.
His songs reach deep for emotion and spark and he receives a warm reception for his efforts.
Review by Pete Feenstra
Photos Bruce Ackroyd
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Power Plays w/c 17 September 2018
THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Try As I Might (KScope)
JAWBONE Two Million Heartbeats (indie)
BAD TOUCH Hammer Falls (Marshall Records)
SARI SCHORR Thank You (Manhaton)
MALLEN Polarity (indie)
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09:00-12:00 GIOELI-CASTRONOVO Set The World On Fire (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 FEDERAL CHARM Passenger (indie)
14:00-16:00 PAUL CARRACK These Days (Carrack-UK)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
18:00-19:00 JOURNEY Raised On Radio (1986)
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