Club Daze Volume II: Live In The Bars

Twisted Sister

Spitfire Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Admitting that you're a Twisted Sister fan, even today, is almost akin to standing up in an Italian restaurant and declaring yourself to be a Mafia informant. Once the creators of the great teenage anthem "We're Not Gonna Take It," Dee Snider and company became the group that no one wanted to admit they liked.

Not me. I've proudly said since discovering them in 1984 that I'm a Twisted Sister fan. For the longest time, I've told anyone who would listen that there was more to the band than the Spandex and makeup; there was often a lot of substance to the music.

Maybe that's why Club Daze Volume II: Live In The Bars is such a wonderful surprise, even to my ears. Years before the band would get a foothold (albeit a brief one) on the ladder of mass popularity, Snider and crew prove once again that Twisted Sister really was a band worth listening to. Hungry for the fame which they would eventually taste, Twisted Sister plow through some tracks which could have easily been classics - and may yet achieve that status.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The opening two tracks, "Never Say Never" and "Blastin' Fast And Loud," take drum tracks recorded in 1984 for Stay Hungry and add Twisted Sister circa 2001. Although these tracks are a tad shallow, they do show that the magic the band had in their glory days is still alive and kicking. If these two songs aren't enough to convince Snider and his former bandmates to give a new album a try, I don't know what would change their minds other than a burning bush barking out the orders.

The live tracks (mostly taken from a 1979 concert) do something that only the passage of time could. They strip away the makeup (never mind the pictures showing the band getting ready for a show) and focus squarely on the music. And frankly, the music that Twisted Sister was doing at that time was pretty entertaining.

Take a song like "Follow Me" or "Plastic Money" and listen - I mean, really listen - to them. If all you know about Twisted Sister is the "'80s glam-rock dinosaur" image the media has created, you may be surprised at the actual levels these songs have. Of course, if you really had followed the band closely, you'll remember songs like "Street Justice" and know that Twisted Sister was always capable of writing catchy yet intelligent music.

Granted, these are early pictures of a band in development - evidenced by the covers of Little Richard ("Long Tall Sally") and Chuck Berry ("Johnny B. Goode") performed - and guitarist Jay Jay French, sounding a lot like Joey Ramone, tries to take a stab at lead vocals on "Can't Stand Still" (and proving why Snider was the vocalist). But this disc is, in the end, harmless fun, and a nice way to spend the better part of an hour recalling the days when rock music was still hungry. Twisted Sister prove on these early live recordings they had the capability to be a major player. The new recordings suggest they still could.

Rating: A-

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© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.