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| 12 February 2016 | Reply


Label: earMUSIC

Release Date: February 12, 2016

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

After dropping one of my favorite discs back in May of 2015, Thunder are back at it, with a collection of recordings that include a lot of those same songs, as well as some B-sides that could possibly be used for bonus tracks or other releases.  While the band prepared for a show at Brooklyn Bowl in the O2 in London, they ran through eight of the songs from the release (passing over “The Rain,” “The Prophet,” and “Broken” for this release) and added six extra tracks and ran through their list of songs… no breaks, no stops, no overdubs, no fixing.  Most of the songs that were on the Wonder Days disc sound similar to the original release, with a few variations here and there due to the method in which they approached and recorded the tracks.  The vocals are clear and blend well with the guitars while the drums and bass drive each track from open to close.  If you like your rock blues-filled and solidly played, take a spin through the first disc of this collection.  The bonus material / B-sides include songs by Delbert McClinton, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and more.  Delbert McClinton’s “Be Good To Yourself” is an awesome version of this classic.  It keeps the original groove and mood of the track, but adds a bit of punch and attitude in the form of funky bass and soulful guitars.  Keeping with a soulful approach, the band tackled Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and knocked one out of the park.  The bass from Chris Childs carries the track from the intro and through the verse, while Danny Bowes’ vocals keep the song bluesy and smoky.  The guitar solo from Luke Morley punctuates the Thunder-ization of this song.  The Beatles “I’m Down” gets treatment on the disc and it has a cool feel to it that is all Thunder, especially when the guitars kick in at the bridges.  “The Rocker” from Thin Lizzy is another great track that lends itself to the type of rock Thunder excels with.  The guitar riff and Gary James’ tight drumming help keep this track true to the original.  “Up Around The Bend” sounds most like the original track of any the band covered on this section of the disc.  This is an unexpected surprise and the band pulls it off.  Paul Rodger’s composition “The Stealer” as recorded by Free closes out the disc and the bass gels with the drums while the guitars chug along while Bowes’ vocals take a smoldering queue from Rodgers’ version ending the first disc of the collection on a high note.

The second disc is the Brooklyn Bowl live show that followed on November 6, 2014.  Pulling tracks from their catalog, along with yet unheard tracks from the completed but unreleased Wonder Days, Thunder was ready to launch a ton of live material on their fans inside London’s O2 Arena.  The new material sounds as it did on the original disc and the live recordings on the first disc of this set.  The real gems were the older songs culled from their catalog and played with all of the attitude and swagger they received earlier in the bands career.  The band delivered live renditions of “Wonder Days,” “The Thing I Want,” Black Water,” and “Resurrection Day” from the 2015 release and added three tracks from the live rehearsals: “Be Good To Yourself,” “The Rocker,” and “Up Around The Bend.”  The guys pulled the remaining seven tracks from four of their previous releases.  “Low Life In High Places” from Laughing On Judgement Day opened as expected, but the acoustic groove not only engaged the audience, but came across with more intensity in a live setting.  Robert Johnson’s Tombstone gave us “The Devil Made Me Do It.”  The guitars on this piece are spot on and the vocals add to the songs blues component, with the rhythm section following along perfectly.  The chorus is as catchy live as it is in the studio.  “Stand Up” from Behind Closed Doors is a solid rocker that demonstrates how well the band does what they do.  Bowes’ vocals and Morley’s guitar swirl nicely together while Childs, James, and Ben Matthews anchor the rhythm section.  The final track of the night is “Just Another Suicide” from the bands Giving Away The Game disc.  This is more rock than blues, but is a perfect representation on Thunder’s sound and drops a different groove at the chorus than most of the other tracks played this evening.  The songs most people know (here in the U.S. anyway) come from the bands breakout debut Backstreet Symphony.  The title track opener the show and the bands was off and running.  This song sounded as crisp as it did back in 1991, with big guitars and bigger vocals.  Thunder’s power ballad “Love Walked In” made an appearance in the set and, while it shifted the tempo of the set, it did anything but shift the enthusiasm of the band and crowd.  Arguably the biggest song of the bands career closed the main part of the set.  After some guitar riffs and noodling, Danny gets the crowd involved with a little call out vocals to open the song.  Everybody knows what’s coming… but Bowes can’t help but tease the crowd for a couple minutes before bringing the band along for the ride and striking up one of the sexiest rock tracks around.  The drums and bass control the tempo while the guitars run rampant across the speakers.  Hearing this song in all its live glory, I can honestly say I can’t get enough of Thunder’s “Dirty Love.”

​Tracklisting – CD1: Wonder Days – The Thing I Want – When The Music Played – Black Water – Resurrection Day – I Love The Weekend – Chasing Shadows – Serpentine – Be Good To Yourself – The Rocker – Superstition – Up Around The Bend – I’m Down – The Stealer

Tracklisting – CD2: Backstreet Symphony – The Thing I Want – Black Water – Low Life In High Places – Be Good To Yourself – Wonder Days – The Devil Made Me Do It – Resurrection Day – Stand Up – The Rocker – Love Walked In – Dirty Love – Up Around The Bend – Just Another Suicide






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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