THUNDER - All You Can Eat

March 8, 2016, 2 years ago

(EarMusic)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 8.5

review hard rock thunder

THUNDER - All You Can Eat

A triple disc (pair of live recordings and 70 minute DVD documentary on the band's reemergence and recording of 2014's stellar Wonder Days). Arranged like a menu (which accompanies a t-shirt, as part of the deluxe box set) the Starters disc features live renditions of eight Wonder Days tracks, plus a half dozen newbies and covers (recorded Nov 4, 2014, in studio, without an audience). The second platter, entitled Main Course, captures a small, free (for fans-only) performance, in conjunction with Classic Rock Magazine (live at Brooklyn Bowl, Nov 6th), with a trio of (repeated) Wonder Days tunes, as well as Thunder favorites. On the old material, the crowd often handles the chorus. Interestingly enough, there was an acoustic show, the day between these two recordings, that's remaining in the vault (for now). The final disc, aka DVD (called Dessert) houses the aforementioned documentary as well as their Oct. '14 Loud Park show in Japan and a half dozen visuals from each of the audio discs.

If you've not heard Wonder Days, this initial platter is a worthy (albeit edited) introduction: passionate, storytelling lyrics, slide and reverb guitar, plus an amazingly clear production. The title cut also employs a smattering of piano. With little space between tracks, “When The Music Played” segues effortlessly into “Black Water”. The ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll of “I Love The Weekend” and gradually building “La Grange” knockoff (aka “Serpentine”) give way to heretofore unheard takes on The Beatles “I'm Down”, Free's “The Stealer” (which fits the Thunder repertoire) and a funky Stevie Wonder classic “Superstition”.

You'd be hard pressed to find a more consistent, bluesy hard rock band over the last 2+ decades. Add an infectious simplicity (almost pop sensibility) to the high energy anthems and it comes up a winner! I defy anyone unfamiliar with band's catalog to pick the early ‘90s tunes, from those constructed almost 25 years later. The stripper strut of guitar driven “The Thing I Want” sits nicely next to Disc #2 kick-off (and one of their biggest hits) “Backstreet Symphony”. Seamless integration! “Low Life In High Places” sees them trot out the acoustic guitars, aided by the a cappella crowd's voices. The second disc is highlighted by golden oldies like an acoustic tinged “Love Walked In”, nearly 12 minute “Dirty Love” and a cover of Thin Lizzy's “The Rocker”. They come back for a two song encore: a version of CCR's “Up Around The Bend” and their own “Just Another Suicide”. All I Can Eat? Nope, already looking for another helping!


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