AN EVENING WITH DANNY & BEN FROM THUNDER
Oran Mor, Friday 6th January
When a couple of Croy boys head up Glasgow’s West End it is usually only with the proceeds from a recently cashed provy cheque and for a visit to either the Western Infirmary or to the now closed Transport Museum. But not last night. Passports at the ready we made our way to the brilliant venue that is Oran Mor.
Danny Bowes and Ben Matthews from Thunder chose the best wee church in Glasgow as the place to strut their wares in front of a small but passionate crowd.
For those unaware, Danny Bowes is probably the best British singer of the last thirty years. He used to be like a young Paul Rodgers mixed with a bit of David Coverdale, minus the cheese. Nowadays he is simply a fine artist in his own right and with the support Ben Matthews, keyboard player and guitarist with Thunder, he showcases as fine a voice as you are likely to hear in modern rock.
But this wasn’t an ordinary gig. Instead it was Danny and Ben chatting away about their time in Thunder, telling stories about their adventures and generally giving an insight into life in a successful rock band. In between stories they played songs.
The intimate, all seated setting made for a really enjoyable experience. The stories were in the main funny and entertaining but the music was even better.
Bowes voice, accompanied by only an acoustic guitar or keyboard (with a guest percussionist thrown in), is as good now as it was when Thunder recorded Back Street Symphony back in 1990. They opened with a cover of Bad Company’s Seagull.
This set the scene for the music on the night. If you expected to hear an unplugged Thunder set you would be disappointed. Of the 8 or so songs played only 2 were from Thunder’s back catalogue, and the piano version of Better Man was outstanding. Covers of Chuck Berry and The Who songs featured as well and in little under two hours Danny and Ben gave us some great stories and a wee revue of their music influences.
This was a different kind of show, and live music is evolving to become more than just a formulaic 4 or 5 piece ban bashing away; last night’s set-up was a great success. More please!
James A. Stewart