Gig review: PHIL CAMPBELL & THE BASTARD SONS – Thekla, Bristol, 18 November 2021

First of all, what a venue, for the uninitiated, the Thekla is a floating music venue, it was a cargo ship in days gone by. It well and truly commands its place in Bristol’s thriving music scene. The staff are friendly and welcoming, with pretty much a sell-out crowd, this is going to rock!

Hailing from Merthyr Tydfil, Florence Black are a young, hungry band taking the NWOCR scene by storm and this is confirmed as they take to the stage at 730 and command it from the start, this band are unlikely to be supporting in smaller venues for much longer, the crowd are well and truly pumped by the time they conclude their set. Stand out tracks for me ‘Sun and Mon’ and ‘Breadfan’

Opening with ‘We’re the Bastards’, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, waste no time in cranking up the volume and the delivery – the guitar work is as you would expect, tight perfection and just watching the Phil Campbell in his element feels like a privilege. ‘Spiders’ and ‘Son of a Gun’ allowing all of the band, including Phil’s three sons, to showcase their respective talents.

Originally Wolf Jaw were due to support until the untimely passing of Tom Leighton, so it no surprise when the newest member of Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons, vocalist, Joel Peters (Bootyard Bandits) pays his respects during ‘Born to Raise Hell’. What an addition Joel is – he’s fitted right in and so quickly too, this frontman oozes confidence and looks like he’s been at the helm for years – long may this relationship continue.

The crowd get into pit mode to ‘Ace of Spades’ and then they deliver ‘Silver Machine’ – I am in rock heaven! Phil and Joel are on form and there is good engagement with the crowd and any required audience interaction is delivered with good spirits, it is a joy to behold.

Coming back to conclude their packed set with 4 more tracks, starting with ‘Going to Brazil’, ‘Dark Days’, ‘Big Mouth’ and finishing with ‘Killed by Death’, the crowd are literally eating out of their hands. The Thekla must be rocking on its moorings as the crowd are in raptures, (I wonder what the clubbers who are queuing outside make of it), I look round the venue and all I can see are very happy rockers, smiles are beaming, ears are ringing, what a fabulous gig in a superb venue, we have to support live music, in all it’s guises, we are rock family and we need this fix.

Review by Karen Clayton

The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 21 November. Next session 12 December. The video above was a Halloween Special, streamed 31 October.

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