Review of Ten Tonne Dozer plus support @ The Market Bar, Friday October 28th 2011
Described as the smallest bar known to man, with also the smallest toilet known to man (and woman, of course), The Market Bar in Inverness is a very intimate venue, and has hosted various rock and metal gigs over the years. Tonight was the turn of Shetland’s Ten Tonne Dozer, who are no strangers to these cramped conditions, having played the venue many times over the years.
However, to kick off the night, we had A Thousand Lies promising us good music, good brews and good times. Hailing from Newcastle, this bunch of heavy rockers delivered on their promises, shaking the foundations of the venue with their own brand of heavy rock; thrashy with a pounding groove. The rhythm section of Dave McQuillan, drums, and Stephen Bagnall, bass, provides the backbone to the A Thousand Lies sound, never failing to get my head moving along to the solid drum rhythms backed by, almost, haunting basslines.
The guitar playing here can’t be commended enough, filled with memorable hooks and harmonizing guitar solos, heavily influenced by the likes of Iron Maiden, all provided by the dastardly duo of “Cpt.” Steve Barclay and Andy Bright. And, finally, Chris Nesbitt confidently demonstrates his melodious, yet aggressive vocal style, whilst throwing in the Geordie charm in between songs, often chatting with familiar faces from their last stint in Inverness last year.
It’s apparent that this band has an incredibly diverse sound. Songs like ‘Heaven Is Wasted On You’ and ‘Last Of The Believers’ are fast and melodic, much like old-school Megadeth mixed with Disturbed. ‘The Hound’ and ‘Fields of Eternity’’ are also both “canny fast”, but with more of a DevilDriver feel, although the chorus in the latter has more of a typical rock n roll influence. There are even hints of Pantera and Alice In Chains in the epic masterpiece, ‘Become How We Were’.
During the break, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of people were in the Halloween spirit. A militia of zombies infiltrated the crowd, led by head zombie, Burns from (yes, you guessed it) Zombie Militia. A jester, a couple of Vikings, Heath Ledger’s Joker and Harley Quinn were all also in attendance and, quite clearly enjoying themselves.
Up next were MonsterTone, a 4 piece heavy rock band who travelled all the way from Holland to be a part of Ten Tonne Dozer’s ‘Mad As A Snake In A Hat’ UK tour. The self-proclaimed “Masters of Riff” claim to have a fetish for 70s rock ‘n’ roll riffage, shown in their ability to produce some fantastically sleazy, and upbeat, rock ‘n’ roll music. With tracks like ‘Thrills, Pills and Kills’, ‘Backdoor Salute’, ‘Satan Is My Sweetie’ and ‘Fistful ‘O’ Nothing’ it’s clear that the band love to do nothing more, but rock out! Ron Debie, rhythm guitar, and George de Ruiter, bass guitar, are so locked into the groove that they actually forget to smile! Raymond de Wit, on drums, lives up to his resemblance to Dave Mackintosh, of power metallers, Dragonforce, by laying down the fattest grooves, whilst throwing in the occasional mind-blowing drum fill to shake things up!
Vocalist, and lead guitarist, Jeff van Dokcum, impresses me the most, however, as he juggles between singing duties and playing most of the guitar solos in the setlist, with such great execution. He’s also seen to have embraced the Highland culture by sporting a Nessie cap, as well as a Viking helmet kindly provided by one of the dressed up punters. Then again, the helmet had been doing the rounds all night between band members.
Watching these guys reminded me not just of the old greats, such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but also of more modern groovers such as Pantera and Corrosion of Conformity, and to end the set, they paid tribute to the greats, performing their own version of Deep Purple’s “Black Night”, much to the delight of the packed bar and myself. Unfortunately, the crowd size had clearly dwindled down to the Market Bar faithful, as most of the attendees wanted to get into the Alternative X rock/metal club night at Cake before the curfew, in order to continue partying into the early hours. Not me, however, as I had been desperate to check out Ten Tonne Dozer, ever since I was informed that they were going to be playing in the Highland capital.
Gladly, I was not disappointed, as the ‘Dozer proceeded to aurally destroy the place with their crushing mix of heavy metal! This Shetland 5-piece pulled out all the stops, ploughing through apparent crowd favourites, such as ‘Black Moon Rising’, ‘Plaguery’ and ‘Reap What You Owe’.
“The Two Keiths” on bass and drums, laid down a solid flowing groove, backed up by the heavy riffage of rhythm guitarist, Michael Tait, and Jamie Duncan on lead guitar duties, who, despite not moving about much, made up for it with his rather tasty guitar solos. To finish off the band’s sound, we have Dave Kok, who boasts an incredibly powerful “rock ‘n’ roll” voice, which, by the fourth song ‘Cool Demon’ quickly developed into a wide range of screams and demonic growls as the set went on.
Ten Tonne Dozer’s live shows have been often described as “an overwhelming intense barrage of sound and visual exhibition”, and tonight is no different, as Dave attempts to cause as much mayhem as possible made for entertaining viewing. His banter was incredibly witty, at one point apologising that this was “not the second coming”, in reference to drummer, Keith’s striking resemblance to Jesus. He was often seen jigging on the spot, made even better to watch with his big Santa beard, as well as heckling the crowd, playing a bit of air guitar and even initiating a dancing contest, with a Right Said Fred cassette as the prize.
Said cassette, ended up being smashed up into tiny little pieces as the band “dozered” through the rest of their set, ending on the brutal ‘Monster of Your Dream’, a song that sounded unlike anything else in the band’s short set. I could hear a huge Celtic Frost/Triptykon influence as the ‘Dozer stomped their way through this doom metal piece. I was surprised that the floor underneath us didn’t collapse! To summarise, this song was the one song that absolutely made my night, and it was a shame that it was all over afterwards.
All in all, a fantastic night of hard rock and heavy metal and, whilst I was disappointed that Ten Tonne Dozer’s set was a bit short, they made up for it with the announcement that they will be back again at The Market Bar on November 18th, with support from Zombie Militia. I know I’ll be there!
Photos and written by Mark Dubanowski