It may only be a Wednesday night, but there’s a real buzz around Bannermans in Edinburgh’s Cowgate. The place is full of expectant rock fans who have been waiting a long time to catch Sweden’s finest purveyors of old school rock and roll in Thundermother, and people are keen to get into the venue part of the place as soon as the doors open.
Thundermother – Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters – Haxan
Bannermans, Edinburgh – 6 April 2022
Words: Ian Sutherland
Photography: Mark Holloway
Doing their best to keep all the early comers entertained were Welsh power trio Haxan. Impossibly young looking to grizzled old rock vets like me, what they lack in experience they make up for with enthusiasm and talent.
Keeping the spirit of Budgie alive, they’re a tight, cheery bunch, happy to be up there rocking hard. They’re very, very good, though still a work in progress. You can tell there’s more drive and punch in the tank yet to be let loose.
The way they structure songs like Black Sheep and the memorable Grave Digger reminded me a little of Grand Funk Railroad, a delicious mixture of melody and raw power. This trio are one to watch over the next couple of years. There’s something brewing in the valleys, and it sounds great.
Wales was very well represented tonight as next up was Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters. A more experienced outfit, they’ve been treading the boards for a few years now and are working on their third album.
Veterans of the Kiss Kruise Beth carried her Paul Stanley style Ibanez guitar slung low and proceeded to pull all the important rock shapes known to man. And woman.
Backed by a tight and talented band, the focus is on keeping things rock and roll, so the songs are suitably bombastic. From the crunching riff of Down And Dirty to the inevitable sing-along of I Ain’t Got Nothing (If I Ain’t Got Rock N Roll), this is all about keeping the energy level up and the smiles on the faces.
The smiles out in the audience got even bigger when Thundermother finally hit the stage. It’s been a long wait through many trials and tribulations, and the four Swedish hellions waste no time in letting everyone know what we’re in for—a night of in your face, sweaty rock and roll.
Despite the intervention of the pandemic, this band is effortlessly road tight with the necessary hard-driving rhythm section of Emlee Johansson on drums and bass player Mona Lindgren who brings a ton of attitude to go with the precision playing.
Up front, it’s hard to know where to look. Singer Guernica Mancini demands your attention, every inch the rock star with her shiny trousers and beer-soaked vocals, but before you can focus on all that, guitarist Filippa Nassil will throw out a huge riff or a searing lick or jump into the audience to share some classic songs or share a beer.
There literally just isn’t a dull moment. This is a band that PERFORMS! The result is a jubilant, triumphant, joyous experience.
It’s been too long since we were all in a sweaty rock universe, band and audience joining together, forgetting the world outside and just soaking up the glory of rock and roll.
From the opening hello to the final bow, as the echoes of a terrific Driving In Style bounced around the walls, this was one for the ages.
A sweaty, satisfying rock and roll heatwave of a gig. When’s the next one?