Thunder w/ Cats In Space Clyde Auditorium Glasgow (22/3/17)

It’s another week and it’s another (tedious) trip down to Glasgow to see yet another concert. This week we are heading down to see the English hard rock band Thunder. The five piece band were supported by the unusually named but highly entertaining Cats In Space.

The current Thunder tour has been one that I have been looking forward to for a while now. With the success of their last album and tour, a long time fan like myself can’t help but jump at the opportunity to see the group live in concert again and it certainly did not fail to impress.

Going to the Clyde Auditorium felt like the same experience that I have had in that building many times before, mainly because it was no different. The staff were on time getting people into the building and naturally did a piss poor job of getting everyone to their seats. Whilst we were trying to enjoy both bands, the large porky fellow at the door directed every single ticket holder down to the front row creating a lot of frustration with my companions and others who had forked out good money for those seats. To make matters worse, the balcony appeared to be full of middle aged unwashed alcoholics. With each passing we not only had to stare through these peoples large back sides to see the bands but had to put up with the unpleasant body odor. It was an unpleasant experience to say the least. Thankfully both bands put on a great show, one that we enjoyed, well… when we had the chance to.

Cats In Space were a band I was very curious about. For the last year or so, I have read a lot of opinions about these fellows being an excellent live band. With a reputation like that, it was creating some buzz and I’m glad I stuck around to see them play. Not only were the band an excellent support group but they hands down owned the bands that we had on the last Thunder tour, specifically Terrorvision who were a bit of a painful assault on our ears.

The band supported a very typical rock star look and didn’t take much time to fire up. Within minutes, Cats In Space had the crowd eating out of their hand with their slick brand of pop rock. I have to admit, it was nice hearing the lighter side of rock music in person. I thought the band handled the keyboards well and their use of multiple vocalists, especially as backing singers was right on the money. We were treated to seven fun songs, most of which featured some excellent guitar playing, wonderful vocals and some extremely solid rhythm playing.

Admittedly, Cats In Space could have been far more successful at this show with a better sound. The first few minutes had a lot of the drums and keyboards drowned out by the guitars with the vocals being a little too high in the mix. But by the time the band finished their set, these audio issues were corrected and they sounded great. I’ll be honest, I could have happily watched a full set from these guys last night. They were excellent.

Considering it has literally been a year since I last saw Thunder perform in Glasgow, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this show as much as I did. With most bands, seeing them the first time round usually produces the bigger buzz and creates that timeless moment that you never forget. But at the end of the day, I have to give Thunder credit for putting a show that hands down trumped last years set and that is saying something, last year was no slouch.

What impressed me the most with Thunder’s set this year was the confidence the band had in their latest material. The Wonder Days tracks went over very well last year but Thunder hit the ball out of the park with the new songs from Rip It Up. The show started with the band playing an energetic version of No One Gets Out Alive and The Enemy Aside, two news songs, the former being my least favourite from their new record. We were also treated to great renditions of Right From The Start, In Another Life, Rip it Up and There’s Always A Loser. These songs mixed in nicely with oldies like River of Pain, Backstreet Symphony and of course Dirty Love. It is nice to hear a band creating an endless seam between their old and new material, it is something that a lot of bands fail to pull off, but Thunder did it with ease.

Ironically, I would say that the slower numbers were easily the highlight of the show. Each song had a nice bluesy vibe that created a nice spot for the band to groove whilst Luke Morley improvised a solo. Though, it seems not everyone agreed with me on this as it was clearly the perfect toilet break for the unfortunate mass of piss heads (there were a lot) in the balcony which is just a crying shame.

The sound on the night was quite on point with the guitars have a satisfying crunch and the solos have a nice smooth tone. Danny Bowes’ vocals came across quite strong and perhaps a little more powerful. Of course, it is always worth mentioning the rhythm section of Chris Childs and Harry James. Those two fellows supplied the band with an extremely tight groove and didn’t let up for a second.

In conclusion, this was a much better concert from 2016’s Wonder Days tour. The set list had a much more consistent faster paced flow (even with the slow songs) and the band all around sounded might tighter and far more energetic. Of course, that isn’t taking anything from the previous show which in its own right was a great time. It is safe to say that Thunder are back and are sounding better than they ever have at this point. Some people might want to stick to their older hit making days, but for those of us who want to hear the band expand their sound and do what they do best, I do not have a single complaint. A superb show all around and one of the best hard rock bands I have seen live.

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