Thunder, Colston Hall Bristol
Day two of our trio of gigs across the bridge, this time it was indeed time for something completely different with a night of hard rock lined up in the beautiful Colston Hall. On this night much like the previous one we faced the same traffic problems that had plagued us on our trip to Kataklysm this meant that we were late to the gig, in fact we were very late to the gig as we missed openers King King but by all accounts they were superb. Still there is always next time and on the murmurs I heard talking about the set in the foyer the band will be worth the wait when I eventually do see them. Myself and my good friend Nick forgoed the second support band Terrorvision due to not really having an interest in the band, so we walked into the auditorium as they were wrapping up with Alice What's The Matter? and Perseverance.
The beauty of the Colston Hall when it is not a fully seated venue (lamented by Steven Wilson the previous artist I'd seen here) is that down the front it's hot and sweaty as a rock gig should be, but it means those who prefer seating, like myself, can take a seat at the back and not have our views interrupted by those that want to shake their ass, something that is almost guaranteed with a band like Thunder. With the intro playing and lights swirling it was time, the cheers built and as the lights fixed on the curtain, it dropped, Thunder appeared on stage, there was an almighty cheer. Luke Morely hit the stage first and pumped out the riff for Wonder Days one of the six tracks aired from their most recent album of the same name, the song is a perfect opener in this kind of setting, which could be seen as a sort of comeback for Thunder, with lyrics that talk of the bands early years it took everyone back to the halcyon days when rock was pure and unaffected by popularity and sales but was just about having a good time. This really could be Thunder's mantra, they are all about having a good time and encourage everyone watching to do the same, the heavyweight blues of Black Water came next (also off Wonder Days) and saw frontman Danny Bowes burst into his expert Dad dancing which always brings a smile to your face, after the blues the rock kicked back in with dirty River Of Pain. A small break but not much of one, breath caught and then into the triumphant Resurrection Day which kept the pace fast and powerful and steeped in rock history.
What's instantly noticeable about Thunder every time I see them is how damn good at what they do every member of the band is, special praise goes to Ben Matthews who plays everything from rhythm guitar and keys to cowbell and lead guitar, seeing as the problems in his recent history are well documented he looked happy, healthy and delighted to be performing again. The set slowed and Like A Satellite came next with the crowd singing every single word. Danny had the crowd eating from his hand telling them to be louder with every shout, sometimes just using a hand signal, either way the baying fans obliged in kind. The filthy The Devil Made Me Do It kicked in with Harry James shuffling drum beat driving it in conjunction with Chris Childs' bass, once again the night slowed for the epic Empty City which left the crowd awestruck as it was delivered with the same passion it was sung with when it was written, Bowes not dropping a note in the interim time. At the conclusion there was huge roar from the crowd as 'that' riff kicked in for Backstreet Symphony, cue more Dad dancing from Bowes and another showstopper in I'll Be Waiting before the party began again with newie The Thing I Want telling the tale of women of ill repute, the cowbell driven When the Music Played finished this double header of new songs but then as the acoustic was brought on to Morley's side of the stage everyone new what was coming the slow build, the harmonies and one of the finest key changes in rock and cued the mass sing along of Love Walked In.
This was fantastic stuff indeed the new songs blended well with the classics and the band performed with the same flair and excellence that they have always shown. The main set was rounded out with I Love You More Than Rock N Roll which featured yet more cowbell (obviously they had a fever) after a short gap they came back with the encore of another new track, the cracking Serpentine then with some more call and response it was Dirty Love that finished the show as the crowd erupted for the final time. When Thunder opened for Whitesnake and Journey a couple of years ago nearly everyone agreed Thunder stole the show and seeing them in full flight was a treat indeed, Thunder were fantastic but don't fret if you missed them this time they are coming to both Ramblin Man Fair and more importantly they are headlining July's Steelhouse festival right here in Wales, I suggest you get a ticket as you will not be disappointed, I promise!! 9/10