THE Diamond Rock Bar in Ahoghill is said to have a family feel to it, despite it being a rock venue that blazes out massive tunes from bands far and wide - and when Trucker Diablo kicked off their Trucktober tour lead singer/guitarist Tom Harte even had his mother present.
This tour is another important step for Trucker - with the first run of Songs of Iron CDs sold out (vinyl still available) and Classic Rock débuting the video for Maybe You're The One on Tuesday (8th October) they will once again see the Big Truck rolling on to more success.
The first date of the tour had Glaswegian rockers Attica Rage kicking off proceedings. Despite a tentative start the band grew more comfortable with the mid-tempo numbers allowing the melody to survive amidst the metallic assault.
Singer and guitarist Johnny Parr and lead guitarist Steve Bell are comfortable leading the line with support from Colin Wilson on bass and vocals and Richie Rage pounding out behind the kit.
Tracks from album 88mph were played with aplomb: coming at the end of the tour backing that release this came as no surprise.
Overall their set was rewarding and entertaining, but ending with two cover versions (Overkill and Paranoid) was probably an error as it detracted from their own songs.
By then the Diamond family was set-up for Trucker...
There can be no doubt that Trucker have melded together as a stronger more potent force since their first release (The Devil's Rhythm).
More recent album from Songs of Iron have been receiving very positive reviews and it was a declaration of confidence in that album that the majority of tracks on this date came from that release.
Taking the stage with a roar of Year of the Truck the band were quickly into the groove; the bottom end of monstrous sound not over-bearing songs' structures or the huge melodies in their choruses that are infectious in the best way.
Singles Drive and Rebel were given an outing, with Rebel and Red Light On driving the set along at a massive pace.
However, Trucker are not a one-dimensional beast. Tom and Simon keep the guitars and vocals ripping when needed, but equally sensitive tracks like Baby You're The One and the 'best song Skynyrd have written in years' Highway Radio are carried with a light, deft touch.
But Trucker are a unit - Glenn's bass and Terry's drums lend a weight and solidness to the entire ensemble, like a rumbling eighteen wheeler of rock.
Bulldozer and the aforementioned Year of the Rock are both an articulated lorry of riffs and huge basslines.
While Songs of Iron was to the fore - Shame on You and Rock Hallelujah particularly notable in the set - Devil's Rhythm was not forgotten.
Drink Beer, Destroy was the party anthem it always has been, but played at breakneck pace, while Voodoo and Juggernaut assaulted everyone in the room with their incessant rock attack.
Trucker Diablo are now setting forward on their Trucktober tour full of energy and when they hit their English dates and an appearance in France their can be no doubt audiences are in for a hard rockin' treat.
Tom, Simon, Glenn and Terry have always been a tight unit, but they have been incrementally growing on record and now their live sets have reached the next level.
The Big Truck is now knocking down all in their path. Jump on board or get flattened in its path.