Thunder / Terrorvision - Bristol, Colston Hall - 16th February 2016 Print E-mail
Written by Jonathon Kardasz   
Thursday, 03 March 2016 03:00

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When the ticket and the website both say doors 7pm, you think that means if you get to the venue before 7.30pm you’re gonna catch the first support band, so arriving a tad after that (due to Bristol’s permanently godawful traffic chaos) it was exceedingly disappointing to discover that King King had taken to the stage at 7pm and finished their set. Bummer.

 

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Terrovision are from Bradford. They are also one of the big three of British ’90s PunkyPopMetal (a genre I have just invented) along with Therapy? and The Wildhearts. These bands (and of course many others) were a delightful antidote to the fashion police-approved fervour around shoegazing and Britpop and far more fun and inventive than any of their contemporaries over the pond. As a result of their turn of the century hiatus the Bradford boys have produced much less new material than T? and the WHs, so their set was heavily loaded towards their ’90s output. They blasted their way through a high octane choice that reminded you how many great tunes they released; rifftastic bouncy songs loaded with catchy choruses; all quirky and full of unexpected twists and turns – a feast of inventive danceable rock.

 

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Frontman Tony Wright was impressive throughout, in fine raspy voice and with the stage demeanour of Tigger running an aerobics class whilst simultaneously shadow boxing with the Duracell bunny. The rest of the band just about managed to keep up with their singer, cranking out the material with plenty of vim and vigour. Opening with 'Discotheque Wreck' the band barely drew breath as they packed their allotted time with tunes – 'Alice, What’s the Matter' with its pummelling riff; 'D’Ya Wanna Go Faster' delivering a demented metal rave at a million BPM, and 'Oblivion' remaining as catchy as ever. Stand-out cut was 'Josephine', possibly the catchiest ever rock song to celebrate transgender relationships (and arguably the first ever song to do so – ironic it should be a hairy-arsed metal band from Yorkshire that did so rather than a fey indie band from Brighton). The band are touring 'Regular Urban Survivors' in the autumn, you’d be a mug to miss out.

 

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There is no doubt that Thunder are the best extant hard rock band in the country and they proved it yet again to a sold out Colston Hall. Opening with 'Wonder Days', they proceeded to deliver a career-spanning set packed with hits. This was rapturously received by the assembled throng, and that’s the secret of Thunder’s success – they have an incredibly loyal audience that hang on every tune, recording and gig. This is no surprise, though, as the band write classy, catchy rock songs, packed with memorable riffs and choruses that you just have to sing along with every time you hear them.

 

Danny Bowes has a fantastic voice that shows no sign of aging, and he orchestrates the proceedings with evident delight, the crowd following every request (no matter how daft) making the show more a communion than a gig. There are those who mock his so-called dad dancing, but then from what I’ve seen of your average journo’s dance moves, they make our Danny look like James Brown. Whatever the merits of his dancing, it’s the voice that really counts and he is a superb singer, soulful and powerful and free from all the clichés beloved of so many classic rock singers. His partner in crime, Luke Morley, delivers more riffs than you can shake a stick at and provides plenty of understated solos. His song writing is arguably better than ever, and the material from the first incarnation of the band was hardly shabby. Catchy, crunchy tunes, free from clichés (mostly – there’s an enjoyable strand of Carry-On letching about some of the songs) and whilst there’s plenty of variety the band have never chased trends or tried to follow the zeitgeist, which mostly leads bands up their own bums.

 

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The band themselves are on fine form throughout, Harry holding down the beat albeit rather more subdued than usual (despite the crowd chants of his name), meshing beautifully with Chris Childs’ bass. Fantastic to see Ben Matthews clearly enjoying himself again after his health scare: subtle rhythm guitar, classy keyboards and more cowbell during 'I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll'. He’s a great lead player too, smokin’ during the dual lead finale of 'Like A Satellite'. The three guitar men also provide exquisite harmonies throughout the set, another subtle touch that separates the band from some of their more lumpen contemporaries. The set closed with an extended 'Dirty Love', which came within millimetres of pantomime as Danny coerced the crowd on to even more ridiculous shape throwing singalongs, but, hell, no one was complaining and no one left disappointed.

 

Footnote: if only Thunder had played their own transgender tune ('Amy’s on the Run') then the fashion police would have been faced with two bands from the misogynistic world of rawk defying received wisdom and probably imploded. Shame.

 

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[Photos by Mike Evans - https://mikeevstog.wordpress.com/]

 

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