Inbound weather for Cardiff Thunder is in Town
Do not let the clear blue skies deceive you, Cardiff is in for a British rock invasion with the promise of stormy weather brewing under the mighty hammer of Thor as Thunder hit the stage with an array of cameras. The show was being filmed tonight which added to the eagerness to get the show underway. Opening the evening, Cats In Space filled The Motorpoint Arena’s stage with energy and ready to warm up an already excitable Cardiff crowd. The rock is classic, British taking you back to the seventies highlighted by the entrance to The Sweeney theme tune. The vocalist and frontman Paul Manzi is engaging and sings a mighty fine rock melody, reminding you why they caused a noise a few years back with Too Many Gods, their debut album. The sound was polished with layers of sounds and textures with keys and guitars displaying in all their glories on Greatest Story Never Told a track that stood out from the others. With Andy Stewart behind the keyboard wearing a mighty fine Top Hat adorned quirky decorations the choice of The Mad Hatters Tea Party was a perfect fit and introducing fans to their forthcoming album of the same title. With all the cats launched into space replete with rock. the crowd was ready for the forecasted stormy weather as the mighty Thunder took to the stage.
The Motorpoint was hot the cheering immense as Jungle Boogie from Kool and The Gang rang out and the band took to the stage and Danny Bowes lifted the mic to sing, Brit Rock never sounded better in a set that was full of tracks from their acclaimed latest album Rip It Up. The welcome from the Capital City of Wales was warm and heartfelt we wanted the evening to rock our socks off with energy and surprises and Thunder certainly delivered from the first to the last note. As ever The Motorpoint a vast cavernous space more Sports Hall than Concert Hall the echoes were present but the sound guys had certainly worked hard to reduce them for tonight to a minimum.
Opening with No One Gets Out Alive, from Rip It Up, the crowd were totally immersed into the waves of Thunder sound, the question to be asked would they let the band on the stage? Cardiff was in a mood to party especially with camera’s aloft swooping across the arena. Danny Bowes was in his element engaging and egging the crowd on to be louder as he danced and swirled around the stage with is signature boundless energy. Combining this with never missing a beat and his vocals always clear and soaring majestically out across the auditorium. Thunder is not a band supporting the frontman’s antics they are a tour-de-force to enjoy with rock melodies and riffs cascading through every track. Luke Morley’s guitar playing was immense the solo lead breaks pulling out the emotional energy within the rock with the power of Gary James aka Harry drumming immaculately as ever a demonstration of how cymbals can be subtle as well as clanging with brute force. Completing the quintet, bassist Chris Childs with his solid rhythms and Ben Matthews with his guitar, keys and the mighty cowbell towards the end of the set on Love Walked In.
The perennial crowd pleaser River of Pain (Shooting at the Sun), proves Dany’s voice is as lyrically powerful and full of singing acrobatics as ever and makes Thunder’s rock a fizzy delight, a storm brewing that always refreshes and never cools the Cardiff Crowd. In between the half a dozen tracks from Rip It Up including the title track and yes Cardiff did Rip It Up, the cheering of the crowd was off the Richter scale. Old favourites were given an airing sounding fresh as ever with Backstreet Symphony and Don’t Wait for Me slipped into a set list that was alive with hallmarked British Rock verve and energy.
Friday night provided a big kick start for the weekend and before the encore, Cardiff was having the weekend of their lives. With three more numbers filling in the encore sandwich was She Likes Cocaine from Rip It Up a special track on the album with the addition of Lynne Jackaman’s powerful rock operatic soprano crescendos. Tonight for Cardiff Jackaman stepped on stage and lifted the atmosphere a notch higher. What a way to lead into the last song of the night. A great gig by one of the best live British Rock acts around.