SAMSON FANS should be particularly pleased to hear that, after a prolonged period in the wings, the band’s former drummer Thunderstick will finally be re-emerging centre stage. Were it not for a lack of support, both moral and financial, his return to the world of mainstream mayhem would certainly have happened a good deal sooner (ideas and material have been ready for some time). But as it is a headlining gig at the London Marquee on Thursday. August 5 will be the bands debut live performance and hopefully secure them a slot at this year’s Reading Festival.

A five-piece featuring twin guitars and a female vocalist, the group, known simply and appropriately as Thunderstick, are currently locked away in rehearsals preparing for The Big Night and it would seem, getting harder all the time. As a result of the hooded ones strong feel for melody as well as the heavier side of things the sound is something akin to a beefed-up Heart though with a sharper visual edge.

Though Thunderstick has never meant to be frightening or off-putting, the hood and some of his more bizarre exploits certainly worried some, in particular the feminist set who caused a couple of college gigs to be cancelled on the last Samson tour. By his very nature, however, he cannot always be kept in check, though even at his most anarchic (a state usually reserved for interviews) the aim is always to entertain rather than terrorise.

The real problem was that the character of Thunderstick took off to such a degree that it eventually began to overshadow Samson the band and this, added to certain musical differences, made a split virtually inevitable. Now, however, surrounded by like-minded musicians, the future of the ‘Stick looks considerably more secure. Already a deal for a single is being negotiated around the new line-up and more gigs should soon be on the way.

Tramshed, Woolwich 1983 CHRIS WATTS

I ADMIRE Thunderstick et al for taking an anonymous idea and turning it wholeheartedly into an identity, but just to what extent you can rely on that identity is another thing. With Thunderstick, I wouldn’t have thought for long.

For theatric pomp ceremony and post-punk thrash, Thunderstick delivered tonight with a fair degree of swashbuckling panache and, as a show, it rated highly in the entertainment stakes. The tolling intro tape led smoothly into a burst of light which revealed the frontline guitarists Cris Martin and Wango Wiggins in full ‘Red Death’ attire, frothing with lace and leather, and, as if chained to his bass cabs, Ben K. Reeve in sub-Nazi bondage gear. The hooded ‘Stick strode purposefully across the stage, raised his sticks as if enacting some primeval ritual and subsided anonymously behind his bulging kit: with the ceremony over, they turned their collective hand to the set…

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