Wednesday 5th October 2022
Green Door Store, Brighton
I first came across the Dublin based Thumper just over a year ago when their single ‘Loser’ snuck into my Spotify play list. To be honest, I thought it was a bit cheesy with lines like, “I’m a loser baby, why don’t you lose yourself with me!” but it had a catchy riff and crunchy guitars and a driving rhythm. So when the full album ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ came along earlier this year I thought I’d take another listen. And wasn’t that the best musical decision I have made in 2022 - the album is a total Rock masterpiece! Without doubt one of the best debut albums I’ve ever heard.
It is packed full to the brim with noise, power and great melodies. So as I was casually glancing at one of those live music flyers handed out after gigs (and so often flung straight into the nearest rubbish bin) I noticed that Thumper were in town, I could only do one thing - clear my diary, jump on-line to hastily grab some tickets, call my trusted gig buddy Paul and head to the station to catch the Brighton express!
The Green Door Store is a great little venue tucked away under Brighton Station in what would have been a railway storage arch in times gone by. As a music venue, it has a habit of attracting some of the best up and coming bands. It also boasts quite a loud backline so Thumper’s two drummers and four guitarists were certainly likely to create their famous ‘maximalist wall of sound’!
And the wall of sound is created as if the band were a Rock orchestra. Instead of 1st violin, 2nd violin, 3rd violin etc. Thumper have 1st guitar, 2nd guitar, 1st vocalist, 2nd vocalist and so on! Each playing the same song, but each has a slight deviation of their own which together builds up to the wall of sound! Having two drummers definitely creates a deep rhythmic rumble on top of which the guitars and bass build an almost hypnotic aura through which the vocals lead you through the songs.
The instrumental elements of ‘25’ and ‘Ghost’ take you off into a different realm until the song bends back round and the vocals kick in again to pull you out of the psychedelic haze and back into the Alt Rock, Post New Wave, Indie Rock, Post Punk or whatever post you try to pigeon hole Thumper’s eclectic offering into!
But that is enough about the music for the moment. Now about the gig. A Thumper gig is much more than just music. Maybe it is that the stage at the Green Door is a bit small for a 6 piece band or maybe the boys are just restless, but they all took turns to jump down off the stage to roam around the audience playing their guitars or finding other vantage points from where to strum along! Not only that, but as part of the ‘wall of sound’ experience, audience participation is also on the menu.
The guitars are given to members of the audience to twang whilst the band entertain themselves either dancing with the crowd in the mosh pit or ‘playing’ their pedal boards, twiddling the effect pedal knobs to create mystical sounds and echoes to further enhance that wall of sound! Audience members are even encouraged to take the mic and add their own vocals to the show (luckily avoiding me and my tone deaf howling's) adding to the variety of the mix.
The band throw themselves into the evening burning bags of energy and passion into making the show one of the best I have witnessed. Guitarist Oisin (pronounced Osheen meaning little fawn in Irish) Leahy Furlong is the lead vocalist and holds the conductor’s baton in this Rock orchestra. He holds the crowd in trance like stares before bursting back into passionate fervour.
The band, also comprising Alan Dooley - guitar, backing vocals, Alex Harvey - guitar, backing vocals, Dav Campbell - bass, backing vocals, Stevie D’Arcy – drums, Benedict Warner-Clayton – drums, clearly get on very well together and know what each other are about to do both musically and physically as they bounce around the venue, although I am watching wondering what is going to come next? Well, a guess the cover competition of course! It turned out to be a song by Natasha Bedingfield although I would have never guessed correctly. I don’t know the original, but suspect it sounded rather different (I already prefer the Thumper version of course!).
All good things have to come to an end, and so the last song fades into the night and gig buddy Paul whispers in my ear (well he shouted but I think I was a little deaf at the time!) that this was the best gig (in a small venue) he has ever been to and I have to say I am inclined to agree. Alan Shearer would already be proclaiming this as the goal of the season on MOTD and so I am laying my stake to make this the Gig of the Year for the Wrinkly Rocker Awards. It had the music, the songs, the audience interaction, crowd participation, energy, passion and above all was the most entertaining gig I’ve been to for ages!
Another benefit of the small venue, is that you get to chat to the band afterwards. Oisin is a quiet unassuming gentlemen off stage, looking forward to completing the UK tour before performing at the Reeperbahn and Iceland Airwaves festivals. Then home to Dublin for a well earned rest and a new single in November - I’m very much looking forward to hearing that. We chatted to the rest of the boys after as they were packing up their gear and who were clearly having a great time on the road. They were genuinely pleased we had had a good time, telling them we were from the Wrinkly Rockers Club, also raised some Irish chuckles!
So, the short walk to the station and back on the train home. Cracking night out and I’d give it: Music 10/10 Value for Money 10/10 Entertainment 12/10.Thumper - Wrinkly Rockers Gig of the Year contender 2022!