The Anvil, Bournemouth


About six months ago I was recommended a band to see live by a promoter friend of mine down at 60 Million Postcards. That very gig left an indelible memory in my mind. While the support is somewhat a forgotten memory one cannot forget the headliners that night. They were a Dublin sextet band of noiseniks’, rather appropriately named Thumper. Now that my friends, is not a name one can forget in a hurry, and that performance some six months ago won’t be forgotten too easily either – they were the loudest band I have ever heard in a small venue in this town. Wind forward six months and they return for round two. I remember that gig fondly for their wanderings into the crowd and their huge energy, I just wonder if a basement club like The Anvil will allow for this tonight?

The band (I’m reliably informed) have asked for supports quite different from themselves. First up is Anglo-Bournemouth quartet China Bamboo. Immediately I’m getting hints of a softer Darling Buds. Info is sketchy but Ruby (lead vox/keys) voice is largely soft and gentle, but unfortunately lost in the mix. As one punter says to me ‘it’s hard to decipher the lyrics’ and one can’t argue, but that will come in time. Their Lo-Fi Indie/Dream-Pop is a rarity around this town, but that is not the sum of their parts. The snare-heavy hitting in places is matched by the chiming guitars. I’m told all four band members cut their teeth in local covers bands, but a re-location to Brighton has fuelled a desire to write and perform their own compositions. They clearly have talent, and with one or two tweaks and a little more live exposure, they may be on to something. I wish them well.

China Bamboo
China Bamboo

Next up are local Surf/Rock/Reggae quartet Ragwormers. These guys are quite different from the openers and immediately I’m getting hints of Reef. I won’t lie, this is not a genre I particularly warm to, but these guys can play. Glen (vox/guitar) holds a high line with his instrument and has a confident vocal style, his headgear mind you is mildly amusing! Their opening song “Save You” seems somewhat slow but they soon open up beyond that. Rob (guitar) and Dan (bass) don’t exactly move around much, then again that may just be their style. Luke (drums) has a laid back manner, no power hitting here! ‘Sunny Sunday Mornings’ sees them move around a little more and get in the groove. “Sexy Song” has that lowdown, chilled vibe to it but it’s all rather safe for me and I employ my “three-song rule” and head to the bar. I return briefly on their penultimate number “Ska 2”, before they depart us with “Brand New Wings”. One could imagine these guys playing one of the afternoon “chilled out” area’s at any one of our local Summer festivals, I wish them well but sadly for this reviewer it’s just not my bag.

Ragwormers 1

After liquid refreshment and a good natter with the promoter, I head back down for the main event. Thumper is just tuning up as I take my place. They open with recent single “Ad Nauseum” and straight away they set out their stall early. Oisin (lead vox/guitar) is in fine voice and is ably backed by his five band members as they create that distinctive wall of sound. Alan (lead guitar) is unusually less energetic tonight compared with last time out, but no less focused. Steve and Shane (drums) keep a thunderous beat in the engine room, never wavering at any point. “25” follows as Oisin begins an evening of shapeshifting. It’s hard to pigeonhole Thumper, to my ears there’s elements of Indie, Punk and Garage but one could find any number of genre’s to pick from. “Greedy Guts” comes next. Thumper don’t do many short songs, more lengthy soundscapes that just keep you interested and begging for more. That said “The Loser” is one of their shorter songs, as harsh live as it is on record. “In My Room” comes next with its chugging guitar lines. Oisin’s passionate vocal delivery is matched by his stagecraft, on such a tiny stage he uses every inch before briefly joining the throng in the pit. “Topher Grace” is a new song to me before they depart us on “(You’re Bringing Me) Down”. Oisin orchestrates the crowd mid-song to crouch down before the latter part of the song bursts into life. He has us eating out of the palms of his hands. There’s no encore this evening and that folks, was that.

Thumper 123456

Tonight there was less fanfare, less crowd interaction and more straight-up musicianship. Ok, so they are playing in a more confined space in a basement club; but this was less about the performance and more about the output. And while Thumper isn’t exactly doing anything new here they are one of a handful of acts on the circuit (quite literally) making a big noise. While bands like Fontaines DC are gaining all the attention, others like Thumper are gathering a good momentum while paying their dues on the live circuit. There aren’t many acts out there with two drummers and a clutch of decent singles doing the rounds. Thumper may have to bide their time before truly breaking through, but they are definitely going in the right direction.

Track Listing
Save You
Sunny Sunday Mornings
Sexy Song
No-one Needs to Know
Ska Song
Funk and Get High
Ska 2
Brand New Wings

Ad Nauseum
Greedy Guts
Unwritten (Natasha Bedingfield Cover)
The Loser
In My Room
Topher Grace
(You’re Bringing Me) Down




Review, Pictures and Videos by Ross A. Ferrone.

Disclaimer: apologies to China Bamboo for the lack of decent pictures or videos, it’s not often the main journo gets chatted up at a gig and forgets why he’s there in the first place!!

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