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Saturday 17 June 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Sergeant Thunderhoof (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Sergeant Thunderhoof, Prattens Sports & Social Club, Midsomer Norton, Radstock, 10.06.23

Celebrating 10 years surround by friends, family and fans from around the globe (more on that later), Sergeant Thunderhoof (10) put on special anniversary show in their hometown to raise money for MND.

Promising an elongated set spanning their albums, for me it was too good to miss so with my comrade in arms in the navigator's seat, a hotel across from the venue booked and drinking weather promised it was over to the Wild, Wild West Country.

Arriving in plenty of time a mini pub crawl was in order, usually consisting of cider, though the last offered Bath Ale, so it was switch to that before too much but rot set in. We arrived at the venue as the doors opened, a big spacious sports hall with a decent bar a raised stage and high ceiling ensured a pefert sound.

A chat with singer Dan before the start told us that the initial song would be an instrumental (B Oscillation) meaning he could get into the groove before heading on stage. Darren (drums), Jim (bass) and Mark (guitar) began to crank out the throbbing instrumental as Dan worked his way through the crowd, the atmosphere build and build until he took the stage and they opened with You've Stolen The Words from their most recent record The Sceptred Veil.

It's a perfect opener, full of psych wanderimg, steady grooves and a dynamic vocal performance, I can see it opening sets for another ten years, after this delightful none minutes with were treated to an Absolute Blue and Devils Daughter all from the same record, the groove long established and muscular, the guitars varying between fuzzy riffs and sprawling leads, Mark loaded up on painkillers due to an injury. With the three new ones starting the show, the call for people to come forward was made as Planet Hoof took us back in time to the second record.

After landing on Planet Hoof, we were treated to a live airing of their version of Kate Bush's Cloudbusting, originally recorded during lockdown it retained the drama of the original but had that thick groove that the Hoof do so well. There isn't much than can follow Kate Bush so it was time for them to rediscover their Delicate Sound Of Thunderhoof record as two acoustic songs were then played mellowing the crowd but increasing the emotion. It's a chance to hear the other side of the band as Half A Man really got the eyes teary.

It was during this bit they thanked everyone for coming and introduced us to a guy who had travelled all the way from Florida to be there and seemed visibly moved by the whole experience. Photos taken Darren and Jim back on stage and we were plugged in again for the chest beating Another Plane, the cry of "She's Made Of Metal. Are You Entertained?" answered emphatically with a yes. Keeping on Terra Solus it was Tree And The Serpent that followed before they threw it right back to the Lunar Worship the main set concluding with final part of The Sceptered Veil as they closed with Avon & Avalon Part II.

Just over an hour and a half of music that came from 10 years of hard work, the crowd erupted but they wanted more, so more is what the got with the last song of the night going to the Sabbath Worshipping Reptilian Woman. With this one anniversary set Sergeant Thunderhoof showed why they probably one of the most overlooked bands on the UK scene, they have a glut of stage ready riffs that they have cultivated over a decade. More promoters should be booking them asap!

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