The rather brilliantly titled “Thunderfest” is a five day festival being held over the bank holiday weekend to celebrate the best of Bristol’s music scene.
There are some great bands on the bill, taking advantage of one of the city’s most underrated venues for live music, the Thunderbolt in Totterdown.
The first night had a dirty rock’n’roll line-up that perfectly suited a boozer that does spit and sawdust with style.
But while the first four bands highlighted many of the strengths of Bristol’s current scene, they also showed up some of the weaknesses.
Because while there’s little doubt this quartet are all great performers with a lot of potential, none of them yet have the truly great songs to push them over the top.
Despite the slightly unwieldy name Scarlet Rascal and the Trainwreck are one of the best prospects the city has seen in quite some time.
Frontman Luke Brooks has more than a touch of the Julian Casablancas about him, and the band share The Strokes’ obsession with Stooges-era American rock. Definitely one to watch out for.
Yes Rebels are the latest venture for former Fortune Drive singer Bobby Anderson.
They follow a similar path of 1990s influenced melodic rock, with a fairly healthy dose of Queens of the Stone Age riffs thrown in for good measure.
They put on a solid slab of rock with the last two songs in particular showing promise.
Blues rocker John E Vistic took a different approach for the third set, with a solo acoustic performance.
It was a nice idea but on the night it didn’t quite work. Sandwiched between three rock sets, the more downbeat feel dampened the evening’s momentum somewhat.
It also stripped away Vistic’s great selling point – his shrieking, wild man persona. It’s a brave man who tries to be John Spencer and Bob Dylan and unfortunately he didn’t pull it off.
Headliner Emily Breeze has been hotly tipped for a number of years now, but has yet to break through to the big time.
From the second she took to the stage you can see why so many rate her – she’s got the voice, the look and the charisma to be a big name.
From the swagger to the smudged lipstick, everything about her just screams rock and roll, but the songs just aren’t memorable enough.
Nevertheless, to see four live bands of this quality for just £5 is a real steal.
Thunderfest continues today (Bank Holiday Monday). See www.thethunderbolt.net for details.