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  NIGHT RANGER
'24 Strings & A Drummer - Live & Acoustic2
(Frontiers)
Release Date: 22nd October 2012


Phil Kane

phil kane



Night Ranger 24 Strings & A Drummer - Live & Acoustic

God bless Tesla.

If it hadn't been for an unfortunate incident at one of their gigs, we would arguably have never had the pleasure of these unplugged live albums. '24 Strings & A Drummer - Live & Acoustic' is a perfect illustration of how rock possesses a flexibility that few other genres share.

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This was recorded at Bob Weir's Studios in San Rafael, CA in May this year before a select invitation only audience as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of the band's debut album 'Dawn Patrol'. It features new acoustic arrangements of some of their greatest hits and favourite album cuts.

Said guitarist Joel Hoekstra in a recent interview: "We really wanted to do something different for the die-hard fans, the ones who've been following Night Ranger since the very beginning. In addition to it being a live recording, we've also updated many of the songs we do vocally and added new sections to them."

Well, they've certainly managed to create a fittingly good album that will not only prove irresistible to Night Ranger completists but will also make a worthy addition to any CD collection. The new arrangements not only offer something new but also take some of rocks most iconic melodic classic songs and turn them into the sort of mellow Americana that used to be big in the seventies.

'24 Strings & A Drummer - Live & Acoustic' (plus a piano) is a breezy, sun shiny album that's perfect for a summers Sunday morning when there is nothing going on. It has an easy going roll to it that makes it the perfect companion to that first hangover busting mug of coffee.

The songs themselves work well acoustically, swapping the urgent punch of the originals for a more laid back, almost country groove. It is to the credit of the original song writing and the latter day arranging that the songs work just as well without a Marshal stack as with.

Night Ranger's big hits are all here, a surprisingly fiery 'Don't Tell Me You Love Me', '(You Can Still) Rock in America', 'When You Close Your Eyes' and 'Sister Christian'. There is also a cracking version of Don Henley's 'Boys Of Summer' as a CD only bonus track and the accompanying keyboards occasionally take '24 Strings & A Drummer - Live & Acoustic' close to Bruce Hornsby territory, like on 'Sentimental Street' for example, but despite initial reservations, every track here works well to the point that there is not a bad track on the album with the newer material such as 'Growin' Up In California' sitting comfortably with the classic stuff.

I'm not going to pretend that I am sufficiently familiar with Night Ranger's stuff to give a blow by blow comparison of each track because I am not. What I will say, however, is that these songs here seem to have transposed well, breathing new life into them, creating sufficiently alternate versions to satisfy even the most cynical Night Ranger acolyte.

The unplugged stage offers the chance for the artist to be seen and heard in the raw where there are no places to hide. Here the performances are exemplary and even the inevitable mistakes and rough edges sound right, their inclusion suggesting little interference with the tapes in the editing suite.

'24 Strings & A Drummer - Live & Acoustic' is to be issued as a CD/DVD package. The vid is the same show as the CD but for some reason minus 'Boys Of Summer'. The bonus material features include a Night Ranger All Access article, the 'Growin' Up In California' video and a making of the album 'Somewhere In California' vignette which beefs up the vid to a hundred minutes.

The unplugged format tends to get over used these days, yet '24 Strings & A Drummer - Live & Acoustic' is a refreshingly pleasant surprise.

★★★★☆


1.10.12




WACKEN WINTER NIGHTS IS HEAVY METAL WONDERLAND

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.

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Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.



Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.

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MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.

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Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.

WACKEN 2018 TRAVEL PACKAGE ENQUIRY

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