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#1 Tonite!

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Album Review

Like most bands who view the live stage as their natural habitat, Brooklyn, NY's Bad Wizard seemed so preoccupied with tearing up any two-bit dive every night of the week that they have sometimes been accused of neglecting the equally important aspect of recording albums good enough to justify such frequent performances. No such doubts were cast by their riotously powerful 2001 debut, Free and Easy (as inspired a display of bare-bones hard rock habits as anything released at the dawn of the new century), but 2002's sophomore Sophisticated Mouth was another matter entirely, dousing those initial flames with a strangely subdued set that utterly baffled fans familiar with the band's commanding live shows. As for Bad Wizard's third opus, 2004's #1 Tonite!, it still can't be said to recapture that first album's incendiary spark (although aggressively charged cuts like "So Bad/So Bad," the title track, and "Mean Nite, Tonite" come close), but at least it raises the songwriting bar to leaner, more immediate quality standards (with highlights including the timeless classic rock of "Get Up and Move" and a glimpse of singer Curtis' manic stage persona in "Six to Midnite Man"), while substantiating this more "controlled" recording tact as being in fact intentional — not a studio cock-up (see the easy-grooving "Teachin' Blues" and synth-enhanced instrumental jam "Wizard of Shackels"). In the end, the difference in voltage between Bad Wizard's in-studio (110 and rising) and on-stage (220 and melting) personas is still too significant to ignore, but at least there are hints on #1 Tonite! that they might eventually come into sync once again.


Formed: 1999 in Athens, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1999 by singer Curtis Brown and drummer Scott Nutt, Bad Wizard soon migrated north to New York City, where they would eventually add guitarist Eddie Lynch and bassist Marc Tanner to their lineup. Boasting a high-energy hard rock sound combining AC/DC's bombast and the MC5's manic hyperactivity with traces of Southern rock, the band's electrifying debut album, Free and Easy, was released by independent Tee Pee Records in 2001. Tina Gorin (ex-Helldorado) was later added...
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#1 Tonite!, Bad Wizard
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