Big Something’s Tumbleweed Tour kick-off at the Sycamore Deli Blacksburg VA February 28th, 2017
Written by Maria Ekaterina
Photos by Roger Gupta
If you missed Big Something at their Tumbleweed CD release shows at The Blind Tiger in Greensboro North Carolina or at the Sycamore Deli in Blacksburg Virginia, you will still have an opportunity to see this band live on their cross-country tour in the upcoming months. Looking ahead in the following weeks, they will be playing Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana & Idaho before spending almost two weeks in Colorado. When I saw they were going to be just a few miles away from where I live, I knew I didn’t want to miss another chance to see this band live.
Nestled sweetly in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blacksburg welcomed Big Something on the first night of their tour before they head out North by Northwest and beyond. Sycamore Deli in downtown Blacksburg while being a relatively small basement bar/sandwich shop is one of the very best places to catch live music in town. This small room has hosted a dizzying array of top notch performers over the years to include Papadosio, Pretty Lights, Lotus, Perpetual Groove, Railroad Earth, SOJA, The Polish Ambassador, Snarky Puppy, Larry Keel and Colonel Bruce Hampton to name a few. I head down two flights of steps to enter into light illuminations bouncing wildly and the intoxicating sounds of Big Something opening their first set with “Song for Us”. Nick MacDaniels guitar and voice projects throughout the Deli as we were greeted with smiles, hugs and familiar faces. On a Fat Tuesday, Sycamore Deli was packed, and stayed that way for most of the night. The band headed into their first set with songs like “Blue Dream”, “Megalodon” and one my favorites “Love Generator”. Ben Vinograd’s sharp and easy-going drum dynamic compliments Nick’s voice projecting “feel the love we are generating” & sends it bouncing throughout the room. This band always surprises me with their ability to play songs from such a wide range of genres & creating a sound all their own.
It really doesn’t matter, how much you do or do not know about this band, seeing them live is always a unique experience. At times, you may find them donning costumes like matching tuxedo shirts or having their pet Godzilla on stage wearing a pink crop top with “let’s party” written on it. Songs like “Big Poppa” with Casey Cranford’s EWI solo gets the crowd excited & always lift the bounce to the next level. Their calm and fun stage charisma mixed with their sharp and colorful tones, reminds me how much jollification this band creates by sharing their music with others. From playing their “first song together as a current line up, ‘The Undertow’ “said Ben, on drums to covering songs by Prince and Notorious BIG, there seems to be no boundaries for what Big Something might play next.
A great amount of depth and feeling can be found in each of the songs these guys play and their inspirations vary. Josh Kagel on keys cites: “My wife, Alexis and Rick and Morty” as his source for inspiration to name a few. They don’t hold back finding motivations to continue being better than previous and with dreams of playing at Enormodome in Clarence NY, said Doug, it seems they are on their way. With their second set, featuring songs such as “Big City Song” by Merle Haggard and “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd as their encore, the whole room began to levitate and light up as they perfectly illuminated song after song with their individual funky beats. I kept thinking how magical that this is only the first night of tour, here in the very town I happen to be so lucky to live and work in.
Big Something continues to bring more and more variety into their music with each set I have the opportunity to see. If you make it to one of their shows, try to do a second one, as set lists are not subject to repeats. There isn’t one show the same as another and that is partially what makes them interesting for me in addition to the influences woven into their songs from early 70’s to current day. In a time where button-mashing electronic music is too easy to find, they are really a breath of fresh air and bring a whole lot of soul to go with it.
Jesse Hensley, their lead guitarist is excited about their upcoming Summer festivals: “Wow, I don’t even know where to start. High Sierra Music Festival, Summercamp, getting to go to The Ride festival in Colorado, oh and let’s not forget The BIG What?!” If you haven’t heard yet, Big Something also has their own festival in Pittsboro, North Carolina August 17th- 19th called The Big What? There are plenty of chances to see them live not just in the coming weeks but the following months. For tickets and information regarding their lineup check out their website. I hope to see you all at the Big What? dancing, grooving, and celebrating the good times of summer, with Big Something!
BIG Something Tumbleweed March tour dates:
3/03 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
3/04 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Mousetrap
3/05 – St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
3/07 – Lincoln, NE @ 1867 Bar
3/09 – Jackson Hole, WY @ Pink Garter
3/10 – Sandpoint, ID @ The Hive
3/11 – Sandpoint, ID @ The Hive
3/14 – Boulder, CO @ The Fox Theatre
3/15 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Stargazers Theatre and Event Center
3/17 – Steamboat Springs, CO @ Schmiggity’s
3/18 – Frisco, CO @ The Barkley Ballroom
3/21 – Avon, CO @ Agave
3/22 – Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie Theatre
3/23 – Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theater
3/24 – Telluride, CO @ The Sheridan Opera House
3/25 – Telluride, CO @ The Sheridan Opera House
3/26 – Winter Park, CO @ Ullrs Tavern