Graham Bonnet Band – “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage” CD / DVD (Frontiers Music)
You’ve gotta admire the man, aged 70 and still going with a voice that sounds as good as when he was singing for Rainbow and Michael Schenker. In fact, anyone who’s seen Graham Bonnet live on the recent Schenker Fest tours will certainly attest to that and if you actually needed any more proof then “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage” will simply blow your socks off! Rooted heavily in Alcatraz with Jimmy Waldo joining on keyboards, there’s also plenty of Rainbow and Schenker, so it’s 13 tracks of pure hard rock bliss thanks to the superb musicianship of Bonnet’s young band which really allows his own stellar performance to excel. With guitarist Kurt James bringing in the melodic delight of the Scorpions on ‘Incest Outcest USA’ as Bonnet’s own harmonies take it to a higher and higher level, Waldo’s 70s keys excel on ‘Long Island Tea’ in all their pomp glory as the song just pumps and chuggs along to the energetic rhythmic beat of bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone and Mark Benquechea really hitting on those drums. Indeed the energy level remains high throughout the album, even when he slows it down on a cover of Tina Turner’s ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’ from the movie “Mad Max III – Thunderdome”. Best numbers for me though were ‘America…Where Have You Gone’ which was nothing short of 70s majesty, resplendent with crunching hard rock riffs and pomp glory all conspiring to produce superb multiple melodies and needless to say, a magnificently catchy number! Then there was ‘Past Lives’, which was actually melodic metal but balanced by its heavy, brooding passion culminating in yet another grabbing chorus with Kurt James really showing his virtuoso talent but amazingly not upstaging Bonnet who powered out his own screams to match – truly awesome! Definitely the best album Graham Bonnet’s put out in a long time, “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage” is just what classic rock needed right now and mandatory for anyone appreciative of it even in the least.