Thunderstruck: America’s AC/DC Tribute at The Vanguard- Hampton, VA

thunderstruck, acdc cover band

​So after a week grading final assignments, inputting final grades into my school’s system, and dealing with complaints of “How’d I fail the course?” and “can’t you just raise my grade to an A,”  a little live music with Drew/Brometheus was just what the doctor ordered.

A nice thing about a carb-heavy meal before a show is that I know I’m gonna dance off the carbs.  We went to a Cajun place called Mr. Boil, which is literally a five-minute walk from where I live.  I felt adventurous, so I got this combination of mussels, shrimp, corn, potatoes, and sausage.  It came in a plastic bag, and I wore gloves to break open the shrimp.  I don’t typically eat food that requires disassembly (my Mom always told me I was a “lazy eater”), but a step out of the comfort zone is always nice.  It was a fun eat, and the portion was large enough that I could take it home for dinner the following night. 

The parking lot for the Vanguard was full, so we parked across the street at the bus station (the opening riffs and lyrics for ZZ Top’s “Waiting for the Bus” has been an inside joke with Brometheus).  We paid for our show and hung out on the porch, basking in the cool spring air.  We met a cool guy named Caleb, who had just moved from Vermont.  We shot the shit about the security stations at different venues and out own stations in life. 

The opening band (“Special Guest!  Special Guest!  Special Guest!”) was a local group called Seven Ten Oil, who has opened up for the likes of Puddle of Mudd, Jackyl, and even Kiss.  They had a pure metal sound that reminded me of Seven Mary Three (“Cumbersome”), a callback to my high school years in the mid-90s.  Drew informed me after their set that they played a song called “Send Me An Angel,” which is from an 80s movie called Rad, which features future inmate Lori Loughlin and some 80s heartthrob doing stunts on BMX bikes at a high school dance.  The band also encored with a song with the apparent title “Fuck You” which featured the lead singer flipping the audience the bird and the audience responding in kind.

And then Thunderstruck struck us with a “Thunderstruck” opener, in which it appeared as if their equipment had been struck by thunder (how’s that for a tongue twister?).  This happened twice; I’m pretty sure it was part of the act.  But, at any rate, a fitting opener.  They followed it with “Shoot to Thrill,” and at that point, I noticed a large number of females had gone to the merch table and bought those devil’s horns that lit up.  “Back in Black” was next.  After this song, the lead singer told the guys to go behind a woman in the audience and ask her “what do you do for money.”  From there, the band launched into “What Do You Do For Money, Honey?”  

AC/DC has been criticized in a lot of feminist circles for lyrics that objectify women, and this song (along with the singer’s suggestion) is evident of that.  I know plenty of feminists who would have had a problem with this, and I don’t necessarily disagree with that contention.  As a feminist, I get it.  As a rock fan, though…

The band harkened back to the 70s with “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “TNT,” and “Bad Boy Boogie.”  The lead guitar player, dressed in the Angusesque schoolboy uniform, stripped during the later part, much to the delight of the ladies in the audience.  “Highway to Hell” was next.  I have vivid memories of first watching this video on MTV’s Beavis and Butthead (“huh-huh!  This video rules”) in 1993.  I fell in love, and with some of my paper route money, I bought that album.  From there, Iron Maiden followed, then Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and then somewhere in college, Phish took over, followed by the Grateful Dead, Strangefolk, Widespread Panic, etc.

The singer took a couple of minutes to salute the military folks in the audience (a good assumption to make about Hampton Roads) before launching into “Have a Drink On Me.”  He had the audience yell “Melbourne” repeatedly before having a friend of his, an Australian, replace him on stage.  They then played “Shot Down in Flames.”  When I was going through my metal guitar phase in 2007, I bought a songbook filled with AC/DC tunes, and this was the only tune I actually learned before I went back into my fiction writing phase.  It was an easy one to learn; most AC/DC tunes consist of major chords, but as Brometheus (a talented musician) puts it, AC/DC’s all about the energy.

And energy they had.  They put it into “Sin City,” “High Voltage” and “Let There Be Rock.”  They then went into “Whole Lotta Rosie.”  My most vivid memory of that song was when I saw them hit Madison Square Garden and Giants Stadium (now MetLife Stadium) during their Black Ice tour, and a giant blow-up doll of a female sporting a red bra and panties inflated on stage.  “For Those About to Rock” (“Fire the cannons!” a drunk dude yelled) and “High Voltage” closed the show.

Side notes: Foster’s is the Coors Light of Australian beer.  Drew told me that, and he learned it from the Conan O’Brien bit when he learned Australian slang.  And they don’t say “shrimp on the Barbie,” they say “prawns.”  And Australians refer to AC/DC as “Acadaca” because “they were born here, we can call them whatever we want.”

Some drunk dude commented on my Iron Maiden shirt before going on about how he was a state wrestling champion back in the 1980s in California, and he used to psych up to Maiden, Judas Priest, and Motley Crue.  I did that thing where I smiled at him and nodded my head while  I did a “Bad Boy Boogie” away from him.

All in all, a great night.  It would tide me over while I wait for two weeks to see three nights of String Cheese Incident.  This concert thing – well, I can never go to enough of them. 


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