Thunderhead at Hobo's Country

By David Lilly

In mid January, Halloween is both a fading memory and an anticipation the length of a normal human gestation away. Still, it was a scary prospect; the thought of Louisvillian blues rockers Thunderhead playing a six-hour gig at Hobo's Country Saloon. On the way to the show, visions of glass bottles flying (as in `being thrown with gusto') into a wall of cyclone fencing ("protecting" the band) danced in my head. Fortunately, that did not come to fruition. Hobo's is actually an attractive place and most of the patrons just looked passively in the direction of the band while imbibing. As Thunderhead did their soundcheck, singer Scott Ware even suggested that everyone should "feel free to line dance," and I sensed that very few in attendance caught his sarcasm.

Since I am a stranger to wireless bass guitars, I was baffled at first as bassist Jon Nesbitt played his instrument while tending the club's soundboard, which was behind where I was sitting as well as quite a distance from the stage; yet the bass was clearly audible from the stage. After several songs, he left the board and we conversed briefly while he continued plucking away. The conundrum disappeared (almost) as he informed me, "it's wireless."

During the first few songs, a few fifty-something couples who had been cutting a rug to the country music jukebox, tried their moves on some storming blues and rock numbers. It was amusing and they seemed to enjoy themselves. However, they soon departed and a few younger rug-cutting patrons began hoofing and gyrating

Thunderhead, led by guitarist Mark Ware, played a good mix of originals, including "Fade To Black" and "Gone Away" and covers from "Back in the USSR" to turning the prominently green club into a "Red House." Their cover of "Dirty Deeds" would have Bon Scott smiling in his grave.

After a break, the second set saw more booty shaking, including a couple of exceptionally entertaining dancers whose moves clearly spoke of a great time on a Friday night. To their credit, Thunderhead's diversity increased as the night crept on. While I sat and took notes, many others were dancing to "Honky Tonk Women" (banged out very well by drummer Ted McCumber); "Oh Darling," which Scott Ware sang as a serenade to an attractive female audience member; a requested and very bluesy "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and a version of "American Woman" that would make Burton Cummings proud.

If you haven't attended a Thunderhead show - this one was my first and I intend to see them again without my pen and notebook - be good to yourself and keep an eye on the local club-show listings and go see them when you can. Take earplugs, dress comfortably, and prepare ye the way for an evening of fun.