The Thunderbolt is an engagingly scruffy pub slightly away from the bright lights of town and doesn’t attract the usual cool-cats you see elsewhere (present company excepted). It’s become the established setting for the annual pilgrimage to see The Monochrome Set – always Saturday, always stand in the same spot, always manage to avoid the enthusiastic dancer.
So here we are again. Beloved of all the right people TMS have enjoyed a stop-start 35 years of making wonderfully clever twangy guitar pop music. The latest incarnation is down to 2 original members – main man Bid and impassive man-in-black bassist Andy Warren. JP Moran on keyboards now making his own the spot recently vacated by fondly remembered guitar hero Lester Square. TMS have some shared DNA with the Art School gene pool that produced sundry members of Wire, Ants, Slits, Banshees and Vibrators (check out Pete Frame’s Family Tree). Taking themselves far less seriously than any of their contemporaries has endeared them to loyal fans and probably ensured they can’t give up their day jobs. So here we are again – a spiffing new album “Cosmonaut” recently out and as usual they play some new stuff, some old stuff and a reworked version of their very own theme tune. Any set that includes a bunch of classics like “Alphaville”, “Reach for My Gun”, “Lighter Side of Dating”, “Jet Set Junta” is worth your time. Bid solos “Goodbye Joe” for encore and the band return for a storming “He’s Frank”. All is right with the world…
Support band Peerless Pirates have gone to some trouble with a theme and “look” without going overboard (ha!) and play some highly engaging twangy western/surfy guitar with a nautical theme. I’d be happy to see them again. Wonder what Andy thinks of the outfits?
Many familiar faces around the front of the stage, couldn’t see much behind me.
It made me think..
“Why weren’t they huge? Why aren’t they huge? I don’t know, but it’s maybe as well…” Maybe but the art school dance goes on forever…