When someone mentions Thunder in Wales it is more often than not followed by a downpour, it is Wales after all. However in the current hot weather boom there was no sign of the wet stuff, and thankfully this Thunder was more than welcome.
When it was announced they had shifted 1600 tickets in 3 days – and with the band only playing two outdoor dates this summer in the UK (the other, their Saturday-stealing Download slot) – fans clamoured for tickets from all over the country to see them in this unusual setting of Caerphilly Castle.
Hosted in the courtyard of the castle grounds, Cats In Space walked on stage squinting in the blinding sunlight that bathed the stage.
Cats have been a little quiet of late so it was good to see them back on a stage, the lay off not hindering them at all, their usual perfectly polished sound, a modern day Asia in my opinion.
With such strong songs like the opener ‘Too Many Gods’ and ‘Clown In Your Nightmare’, and exemplary musicianship they are always going to go down well, today was no exception with the crowd wanting a bit more than their 45 minute slot.
A band who seem to be gaining momentum over the last 12 months are local-ish band Hand Of Dimes, they have been spreading their wings on the gig front and are reaping the rewards.
As always, led by the formidable voice of Nev Macdonald , the band waste no time in raising the heat on stage and in the grounds with a handful of the best picks from their debut album Raise.
Nothing fancy just straight forward rock , with memorable choruses. Two of the singles, ‘Looking At You’ and ‘Moonlight Mile’ got the crowd going instantly before slowing it down with ‘Jacobs Ladder’, Nevs voice dripping passion and definitely an early highlight of the set.
Dimes have a habit of throwing a curveball in the set and today it was the turn of an Old Kooga song – ‘Like I’ve Ever Known’ to be included, taking a lot of the crowd back to the 80s in the valleys where they grew up with Kooga.
The band are always on form, with a special guest Jim Kirkpatrick of FM/Bernie Marsden stepping in for Colin Edwards on guitar today and who did a sterling job after only 20 minutes rehearsal time.
Dimes finished of the set with ‘Sail On’, becoming a fan favourite live, with enough time left HOD gave the near 2000 crowd another surprise finishing off with the Skin song ‘House Of Love’, which sent everyone into party mode.
This could well have been the best set I have seen them play I am sure it will be repeated at Stonedeaf Festival in a few weeks.
There isn’t a lot that can be said about Thunder that hasn’t been said countless times over the years, and all of it is positive, you never get a bad show .
Rather than the usual ‘Thunderstruck’ intro the band walked on stage almost by surprise, Danny welcoming the crowd as they burst into ‘Wonder Days’. Danny his usual self moving around the stage in only the way he does, another singer whose voice defies ageing, followed up by ‘The Enemy Inside’ and ‘Serpentine’ before catching their breath.
The wonderful setting only added to the atmosphere which by now had gone through the roof, if there’s been one. It was also nice to see Ben Matthews back on stage after a lay off with a motorbike accident, which Danny was all to quick to tell us about and ridicule.
Slowing things down with ‘Low Life In High Places’, a song I have not heard them play before ‘Backstreet Symphony’ took it up a notch again. Danny is a master at working the crowd with his charm and, as the set went on, it seemed to be filled with far more crowd pleasers than the usual Thunder set which only made everyone noisier – and with far more crowd participation – especially during set highlight ‘Love Walked In’.
With a curfew of 10:30 their set lasted just 90 minutes which flew by as ‘I Love You More Than Rock N Roll’ heralded mass dancing and the end of the main set. Perhaps predictably they returned onstage to play the over-extended ‘Dirty Love’.
As I said, Thunder never play a bad show, tonight was no different.
Wonder Days / The Enemy Inside / Serpentine / Resurrection Day / Low Life In High Places / Backstreet Symphony / Higher Ground / In Another Life / The Thing I Want / Don’t Wait For Me / River Of Pain / Love Walked In / I Love You More Than Rock n Roll / Dirty Love.
Review and photos by Darren Griffiths
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Power Plays w/c 13 May (Mon-Fri)
WARM RAIN Here Comes The Rain Again (Rain Recordings)
DARWIN Cosmic Rays (indie)
MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND Love & Beyond (Frontiers)
MARQUIS DRIVE Shine On (indie)
YOUR LIFE & MINE Remind To Remember (indie)
EMERALD SUN What becomes Of You (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 13 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 JIM PETERIK WORLD STAGE Winds Of Change (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 WHITESNAKE Flesh & Blood (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BUFORD POPE The Waiting Game (Unchained Records)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
NEVER THE BRIDE Surprise (2005)
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