Seems to me, Thornley is one of those bands that when mentioned, most people don’t know who you’re talking about. But hum 3 notes from any of their numerous hits and people are naming that tune. From the newest radio mainstay “Make Believe” to the previous efforts like “Come Again” and “So Far So Good” to the oldies while penned in the now considered “retro” band, Big Wreck. Tunes like “The Oaf”, “That Song” and “Blown Wide Open” are instantly recognizable to anybody subject to Canadian rock radio.
My opportunity to finally take in a show fronted by Ian Thornley arose through a friend and I graciously accepted the offer to shoot in exchange for photos. My kinda deal. I got to the venue early enough to take in and witness one of the longest sound checks I’ve ever seen. The ones I usually see, the techs run around like madmen setting everything up and the band walks on to play a song or two and they’re gone. Not this time man. Most of the setting up had already been done by the time I got there so what I saw was the band walk on and do what seemed like a whole set. We’re talking 8 or 9 tunes at least. A little fuckin around on guitar, a little this n that.. I really wanted to hang around and watch the rest of the sound check but the crew I showed up with was really hungry as I always am, so we buggered off to get some food in our gullets.
We got back to the venue just in time to catch Inward Eye which I have to mention as being one of the best live bands I’ve seen for pure raw energy, original sounding material and a pleasingly humble confidence that puts these guys heads n shoulders above most of the new crap they try to tell us is music these days. Thornley seemed rather mellow in comparison to the 3 brothers from Winnipeg but what Thornley lacked in energy, he made up with his truckload of hugely recognizable tunes and talent.
I’ve read it somewhere before and I must reiterate or what the hell, plagiarize what’s already been said. Ian Thornley is Canada’s answer to Chris Cornell. He can fire up a tune worth moshing to with a voice that commands instant respect and admiration and then he can slow it down to an easy going crawl but still bring one to their knees with his talent and soaring vocals as demonstrated on the very last tune when he walked out onstage and just did his own thing.. him and his guitar.
The new album, “Tiny Pictures” was heavily and justly represented with a smorgasbord of the album’s numbers. Firing up the show with “Underneath the Radar” and the pulsating “Conscience or Consequence” but then thrust into the past with the classic “That Song” and back to the future for the huge radio hit, “Make Believe”. Tiny Pictures is just an amazing musical offering highlighted by the likes of “All Fall Down”, a jangley southern sounding hillbilly stomp that had me riveted during the sound check and stompin in the photo pit.
I can’t say enough about the new album. Just go get it. Unless you’re a 3 chord simpleton, dance music fanatic or into the latest 15 minutes of fame band, Thornley ain’t for you. If you want REAL music with substance, talent and thought involved, get moving. Record store. Tiny Pictures. It’s waiting for you.