#1 Tonite! (Howler)
by Brian Varney
Second verse, same as the first. Surprises do not abound on #1 Tonite! any more than they did on either of the previous Bad Wizard releases, but this should not come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen the band live or heard one of the other records. This is a band interested not in progression as much as doing one thing and doing it really well. Bad Wizard are less artists than craftsmen, a band of men (plus one foxy woman) who work hard to make music that’s solid, dependable, and totally functional, the function in this case being to make you drink crates of beer, dance with abandon, and expose yourself in public. There are lots of influences at work here, but AC/DC is the one you’ll hear the loudest and most often on songs like “Get Up and Move,” a whole-hog lift that nevertheless works beautifully.
Unfortunately, none of the recordings capture just how good this band is live, but #1 Tonite does the best job of the three albums. The production isn’t much different than on previous albums, so I think the difference is the result of fine-tuning, better songs (opener “So Bad/So Bad” and “Six to Mid-Nite Man” are my current faves) and road-tuned performances. Live is still the way to hear this band, but if you’re looking to own one of the records, this is the place to start.