News

SliceFest Looks To Go "Big" With 2018 Lineup Annoucement March 20, 2018 10:00

-
Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
-
Our favorite annual Birmingham street festival will return in 2018, and this year's lineup certainly looks "big." SliceFest, which was founded in 2012, has featured the likes of The Revivalists, GRiZ, Galactic, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Keller Williams, Foundations of Funk, North Mississippi Allstars w/ Anders Osborne, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Break Science in years past. Today's announcement includes a wide variety of talent from across the musical spectrum, including Big GiganticThe Original WailersBIG SomethingToo Many ZoozThe VegabondsLUTHITragic CityWill Stewart, Riverbend, Brook & The BluffMutton Chops, and Rug Monkey. Held amidst one of the city's most vibrant entertainment districts, this festival provides a great overall atmosphere within a nearly perfect setting. Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 16th, and click here to purchase your tickets in advance.  
-
As part of our SliceFest preview coverage, we're giving away a pair of general admission tickets to this year's event. To enter the contest, head over to the Live & Listen Facebook page, share this post directly from the page, and tag a friend in the comments sections. Make sure your Facebook settings are on 'public' so we can see the share on our end. We will announce the ticket winner on Wednesday, March 28th at 12PM EST.
-
SliceFest is heavily attended and is a sell-out event each year. We urge individuals to purchase tickets in advance at SliceFest.com to ensure attendance. Early-bird tickets for SliceFest 2018 are on sale for a limited time for only $30. Full price tickets purchased at the gate will be $35. Children ages 12 and under will receive free admission. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The Suki Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping families cope with Rhett Syndrome. Sponsors for SliceFest 2018 include Birmingham Budweiser, Coca Cola Bottling United, Tito’s Vodka, Metropolitan Properties. For more information on SliceFest or Slice Pizza & Brewhouse or visit www.slicefest.com or www.slicebirmingham.com.
-
“SliceFest provides us the opportunity to bring artist talent from all over to experience the magic that is in Birmingham,” stated Jason Bajalieh, Bro-Founder of Slice Pizza & Brewhouse. “Big Gigantic has played for sold out crowds at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Governors Ball Music Festival, Bonnaroo and now SliceFest!”
-

SliceFest 2018 celebrates its 7th anniversary on Saturday, June 16th as Birmingham's largest food & music block party hosted by Slice Pizza & Brewhouse. If you love music, great food and brews, giving back and Birmingham then you don’t want to miss this festival.  Slice Pizza & Brewhouse hosts the event to celebrate the restaurant’s anniversary and thank the Birmingham community for their continuous support. Over the past 6 years the event has grown to a full-blown festival bringing in local and regional music talent paired with local craft beer and specialty pizzas. 

As with previous years, SliceFest is expected to welcome a SOLD OUT crowd on this 7th anniversary with patrons from Birmingham and across the Southeast. Community is what SliceFest is all about, not just a celebration of those that support Slice Pizza & Brewhouse, but a way to give back to the community. SliceFest has donated over $50,000 to Birmingham-based non-profits.

Stay tuned for future exclusive preview coverage of this year's festival, and see below for a taste of what you can expect from the 2018 lineup!

Big Gigantic's "All of Me" feat. Logic & Rosez: 

The Wailers: Live at O2 Academy Leicster - March 6th 2018:

BIG Something - "The Flood" feat. Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee:

Too Many Zooz - "Bedford":

The Vegabonds - "Long Haired Country Boy":

LUTHI - "Every Body" Official Music Video:

Tragic City - "Turned Out" - Live from Monotonia Studios:


BIG Something Confirms 25-Date Winter Tour December 13, 2017 21:58

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Few bands have been have the type of impact on us that BIG Something has this year. The North Carolina-based six-piece finds a way to blend the best elements of 90's rock with the perfect amount of psychedelic improvisation. Earlier today, the band announced an major winter tour, which see's the band down the east coast and across the southeast. This run kicks off in serious fashion with a two-night stand with The Werks, with the remaining dates leaving plenty of speculation for some serious supporting acts. This is a band / tour you don't want to sleep on in 2018: plain and simple.

If you're still looking for New Year's plans, BIG Something has a big three-night run scheduled at Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre on Friday, December 29th - Sunday, December 31st. Supporting acts include Maradeen, Travers Brothership, Urban Soil, and Dr. Bacon. See below for complete list of winter tour dates, and make sure the follow the band on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

2/9 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showcase Lounge*
2/10 - Boston MA @ Brighton Music Hall*
2/11 - Buffalo NY @ Mohawk Place
2/14 - Syracuse NY @ Westcott Theater
2/15 - Philadelphia PA @ The Foundry @ The Fillmore Philadelphia
2/17 - Morgantown WV @ 123 Pleasant Street
2/18 - Columbus OH @ The Basement
2/21 - Ann Arbor MI @ Blind Pig
2/22 - Indianapolis IN @ HiFi Indianapolis
2/23 - Chicago IL @ Lincoln Hall
2/24 - Kalamazoo MI @ Bell’s Eccentric Cafe - Back Room
2/28 - Louisville KY @ Zanzabar
3/1 - Lexington KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s 
3/2 - Nashville TN @ Exit In
3/3 - Chattanooga TN @ Revelry Room
3/17 - Roanoke VA @ Martin’s Downtown
3/23 - Telluride CO @ Sheridan Opera House
3/24 - Telluride CO @ Sheridan Opera House
3/29 - Denver CO @ Bluebird Theater
3/30 - Fort Collins CO @ Hodi’s Half Note
4/3 - Bozeman MT @ The Eagles Ballroom
4/4 - Missoula MT @ Top Hat Lounge 
4/5 - Sandpoint ID @ The Hive
4/6 - Sandpoint ID @ The Hive
4/7 - Seattle WA @ Tractor Tavern
-
* w/ The Werks

Listen to BIG Something's "Song For Us" here:


Wanee Festival Releases Stacked 2018 Lineup November 13, 2017 10:43

-
Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
-
It's hard to believe that we're already mid-November, and we're already looking into the 2018 festival season. Just a few weeks ago. SweetWater 420 Festival dropped its initial 2018 lineup, leaving many of us wandering what Wanee Festival, which is the same weekend, would have in store. Last year, the two festival lineups were very similar, leading to some tough decisions for festival goers across the country. Earlier this morning, Wanee released another killer lineup for 2018, led by the likes of Widespread Panic x2 and Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band x2.
-
Additional performers on the initial lineup include Allman Brothers alumni like Marc Quinones' Eat a Bunch of Peaches project with special guest George Porter Jr., Jaimoe's Jasssz Band,  and Berry Oakley's Indigenous Suspects. Chris Robinson Brotherhood, North Mississippi Allstars, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Marcus King Band, and BIG Something will provide a killer sample of the modern jam scene's finest. Pink Talking Fish will also present an ABB tribute set with their "tied to the Whipping Post" show.  Wanee will kick off April 19 in Live Oak, FL. All ticketing information can be found here. 
-
Wanee Festival 2018 Lineup: 
-
Widespread Panic 
Phil Lesh & the Terrapin Family Band
As the Crow Flies
Dark Star Orchestra
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Jaimoe's Jasssz Band
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
North Mississippi Allstars
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe
Eat a Bunch of Peaches
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
Walter Trout
Sonny Landreth
Marcus King Band
Soul Rebels
Les Bros
George Porter Jr. and the Running Pardners
Pink Talking Fish (Tied to the Whipping Post) 
Bobby Lee Rogers Trio
Big Something
New Orleans Suspects
Berry Oakley's Indigenous Suspects
Midnight North
The Yeti Trio
Crazy Fingers

-

BIG Something Returns To Atlanta With Sold Out Throwdown November 12, 2017 22:27

-
Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
-
Friday night in Atlanta was one we had circled on our calendar for quite some time, as BIG Something was scheduled for the weekend spotlight at Aisle 5, one of our absolute favorite venues. This was the band's first Atlanta appearance since SweetWater 420 Festival back in April, and the ever growing hype surrounding this band was definitely felt early on. The show was sold out by the time the doors opened, and the stage was set for quite the party.
-
After a solid opening set from Riverside Joyride, a local Atlanta band featuring members of Voodoo Visionary, BIG Something was ready to roll with a fiery "Megalodon" opener. The set continued with so many uplifting sing-a-longs, such as "Love Generator," "Song For Us," "Amanda Lynn," "UFOs Are Real," and "Tumbleweed," with killer covers of Little Feat's "Skin It Back" and Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" mixed in. We also got a look at two of the band's newer tunes, "Wildfire" and "Plug." The set would ultimately close with "Pinky's Ride," a classic BIG Something original from their debut album, Songs From The Middle Of Nowhere. The encore featured a cover of Talking Heads' "Life During Wartime," and footage of this can be found below.
-
It's been nothing short of amazing watching this band grow and build such notable momentum over the last few years. It was only a year and a half ago that we were watching these guys open for two other bands at Terminal West, and they were clearly one of the hotter tickets in town on Friday. This is without a doubt one of the top bands to watch as we approach 2018. With a BIG late night set scheduled for night one of Widespread Panic's 'Panic En La Playa' in January, this train shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. 
-
Watch footage of "Life During Wartime" here:
-
-
BIG Something - Atlanta, GA - 11.10.17
-
Setlist: Megalodon, Love Generator, Song for Us, Wildfire > Amanda Lynn, Skin It Back (Little Feat), UFOs are Real, Passenger > Tumbleweed, Plug, Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel), Pinky's Ride

Encore: Life During Wartime (Talking Heads)

Notes: Entire show with Rhett Huffman on keys
-
-
-
-
-

Win Tickets To See BIG Something In Atlanta On Friday November 07, 2017 15:08

-
Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
-
Share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments section for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see BIG Something at Aisle 5 in Atlanta on Friday, November 10th!
-
Over the last three to four years, we have obviously followed the world of improv/jam rock closer than ever before. Since launching Live & Listen in the summer of 2014, we have had the opportunity to discover what seems like an endless amount of wildly talented up-and-coming bands. Right around that same time, we began hearing a band from Burlington, NC known as BIG Something in regular rotation on SiriusXM JamOn. We literally haven't stopped listening since. 
-
Few bands, if any, have drawn us in to the extent that BIG Something has over these last few years. The level of creativity, energy, and improvisation that you find with these guys is in a league of its own. Between their consistently uplifting lyrics and truly intergalactic sound, this band found an undeniably unique groove early in their career, and they already have a rapidly growing, grassroots fan base to back it up.
-
As BIG Something works its way towards closing out a wildly successful year, they find themselves at Atlanta's Aisle 5 on Friday, November 10th. You'll want to arrive fashionably early for this one, as direct support is coming from Riverside Joyride, which features members of local favorites Voodoo Visionary. We recently scored a pair of tickets to the show, and we are giving them away to one lucky winner. Head over to our Facebook page to enter the contest, and we'll select + announce the winner on Friday morning.
-
-
-
Watch BIG Something perform "The Flood" with Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee here:
-
-

Funk You Adds Dates With Perpetual Groove, BIG Something, CBDB, + More September 27, 2017 19:57

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Augusta, Georgia's Funk You is hot on the trail yet again. The super soulful six-piece is in the midst of a busy 'end of summer' run, and they don't seem to be slowing down any time soon. Earlier today, the band announced a 22-date fall tour, which kicks off with a hometown throwdown at Augusta's Westobou Festival. From there, Funk You hits many of the southeast's premier venues, including the Charleston Pour House with BIG Something (10/27) and Revelry Room in Chattanooga with Perpetual Groove (11/2).

Mid-November will see the band New Orleans, Texas, and Colorado. Funk You will then return to the southeast for a show in Dublin, GA (11/22) and Funksgiving Music & Food Festival with CBDBSoul Mechanic, and The Talismen in Montgomery, AL (11/24). See below for a complete list of fall tour dates, and make sure to follow the band on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates from the road!

Watch Funk You perform at GPB Music Studio here:

Oct. 5 / Augusta, GA @ Westobou Festival 2017

Oct. 6 / Charlotte, NC @ Heist Brewery

Oct. 14 / Greenville, SC @ GOTTROCKS

Oct. 26 / Savannah, GA @ Barrelhouse South

Oct. 27 / Charleston, SC @ Charleston Pour House w/ BIG Something

Oct. 28 / Manteo, NC @ Black Opal Masquerade Ball

Oct. 31 / Augusta, GA @ Sky City

Nov. 2 / Chattanooga, TN @ Revelry Room w/ Perpetual Groove

Nov. 7 / New Orleans, LA @ Paradigm Gardens

Nov. 8 / New Orleans, LA @ Portside Lounge

Nov. 9 / Houston, TX @ Last Concert Cafe

Nov. 10 / Dallas, TX @ Sundown at Granada

Nov. 11 / San Marcos, TX @ KIVA Lounge & Bar

Nov. 12 / Austin, TX @ ONE-2-ONE BAR

Nov. 15 / Amarillo, TX @ Leftwoods

Nov. 16 / Boulder, CO @ The Lazy Dog

Nov. 17 / Winter Park, CO @ Ullrs Tavern

Nov. 18 / Steamboat Springs, CO @ Schmiggity's

Nov. 19 / Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge

Nov. 22 / Dublin, GA @ Theatre Dublin

Nov. 24 / Montgomery, AL @ Funksgiving Music & Food Festival w/ CBDB & Soul Mechanic

Nov. 28 / Blacksburg, VA @ Sycamore Deli


CukoRakko Confirms Stellar Lineup For 2017 Fall Fest September 13, 2017 10:52

-
Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
-

Share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments for a chance to win a pair of CukoRakko tickets. Make sure your settings are set to 'public' so we can see the shared post on our end.

Festival organizers have revealed the final lineup for CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival, which returns Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL for the fourth consecutive year on October 6th - 8th and will presented by Land Rover of Birmingham. The bi-annual, family friendly, grassroots music and arts festival has seen tremendous growth with each year, and this fall looks to be no exception. FallFest will feature arguably the festival's exciting lineup to date with BIG Something, The Heavy Pets, Backup PlanetFreekbass & The Bump Assembly, lespecial, Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose, Winston Ramble, Downright, Supatight, The Stolen Faces, Shabti, Jon Poor Band, Goat Hill String Band, and Jason Grubbs & Friends.  VIP ticket packages and advance general admission tickets can also be found at CukoRakko.com. This is a one-of-a-kind camping experience at one of Alabama's best kept secrets. Stay tuned for future festival updates, exclusive artist interviews, and everything you need to know about CukoRakko!
-
-
CukoRakko offers so much more than just the music. Don't miss out on Get Rhythm's organized drum circles throughout the weekend. Get Rhythm is an interactive rhythm program which uses hand drums and percussion instruments from around the world with the goal of unity through rhythm. Programs range from educational, team building, leadership, or stress relief.
-
John Scalici is an award winning teaching artist, author, internationally recognized facilitator, musician, and a member of the John C. Maxwell Team of certified speakers, coaches, and trainers. His Rhythm of Leadership® and Unity Through Rhythm® programs are in high demand and highly regarded at leading corporations, college campuses, elementary, middle and high schools across the U.S. 
-
-
Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
-
-Get To Know This Year's Lineup!
-

BIG Something

A 6 piece powerhouse with a sound that is both unique and timeless, BIG Something fuses elements of rock, pop, funk, and improvisation to take listeners on a journey through a myriad of musical styles. It's no secret why this group has quickly become one of the most exciting new bands to emerge from the Southeast. Soaring guitars, synths, horns and alluring vocal hooks rise to the top of their infectious collection of songs and represent a sound that has caught the ears of such revered Summer circuit stalwarts as Galactic, moe., Robert Randolph, and even The B52s who have all tapped Big Something as direct support.

This past February the group released their 4th full-length studio album, Tumbleweed, which was recorded once again with the help of grammy nominated producer John Custer (Corrosion of Conformity). He has produced all of their albums including Truth Serum, which was named 2014 Album of the Year by The Homegrown Music Network, making Big Something the only band ever to win this award 3 times with 3 different releases (2010, 2013, and 2014).

Watch BIG Something perform "The Flood" with Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee here:

The Heavy Pets

The Heavy Pets are a funky-ass rock and roll band from South Florida. Called "a living, breathing force of nature" by Relix magazine, they are known for their songcraft and powerhouse live performances. The band has been a mainstay on the national touring circuit for over a decade, and will release its fourth full-length studio album in September 2017.

The Pets are a seasoned live act, playing over 1200 shows across the country since their inception in 2005. The band's energetic, extended sets have been described as "full blown musical salvation" that embodies the sound of their Florida home, weaving together elements of indie rock, funk and reggae into a style that is uniquely their own.

The group became an instant Sirius radio sensation upon the release of their debut album Whale in 2007. The crossover sound on their self-titled release, named a "Top 10 Album of 2010" by The Huffington Post, propelled them into the periphery of mainstream music. 2011 saw the release of Swim Out Past The Sun, an acoustic affair featuring longtime Jerry Garcia collaborator David Grisman. Beginning in 2013, The Heavy Pets put out a series of EPs recorded at the legendary Power Station studios, and will release its fourth full-length album in September 2017.

Watch The Heavy Pets perform "Dewpoint" > "Jackie Bones" here:

Backup Planet

Rock ‘n’ roll epitomizes escapism in its purest form. It’s not just artistic anesthetization either, but rather a galvanizing force that inspires us to keep pushing through life’s trials and tribulations. That’s why we still listen to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Rush, and countless others all these years later. It’s the same reason audiences will be talking about Backup Planet’s second full-length album, Reactions, for a long time to come. The Nashville, TN quartet—Ben Cooper [keys, vocals], Chris Potocik [drums, vocals], Gavin Donati [guitar, vocals], and Blake Gallant [bass, vocals]—write arena-size anthems echoing with progressive intricacy, funk swagger, and even a little metallic edge. Giving listeners an inspiring and invigorating aural haven, their moniker couldn’t be more apropos…

Watch Backup Planet perform David Bowie's "Fame" here:

Freekbass

Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Freekbass was an only child who initially wanted to be a magician. He later developed his own obsession for cartoon superheroes and comic books, relating to the underlying themes.

Living in Cincinnati exposed Freekbass to genres of music he may have missed otherwise. While most kids were listening to Nirvana and Green Day, he connected with the bottom-heavy sounds coming out of the boom boxes like Zapp and Midnight Star. While working in a music shop to pay off his first electric bass he had in lay-away, he began to study the classics of Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Parliament and Bootsy with a bass in one hand, and an MPC2000 in the other.

Freekbass has released six full-length CDs, including “Concentrate” with guests Bootsy Collins, DJ Spooky, Adam Deitch, and Steve Molitz, and “Junkyard Waltz” which includes guest appearances by Phish bassist Mike Gordon, guitarist Buckethead, keyboard wizard from P-Funk/Talking Heads Bernie Worrell, and is produced by funk legend Bootsy Collins. Also, national music DVD instruction company, The Rock House Method, recently released two Freekbass instructional DVDs “Learn Funk Bass with Freekbass (Level 1 & Level 2) “, and TrueFire.com just released the instructional DVD/download “50 Freekbass Licks You Must Know” . In 2010 Freekbass connected with DJ Logic, and Particle keyboardist Steve Molitz to form the funktronica trio, Headtronics. 

Going into 2015 Freek has a lot of things on the table. He just released his next album , “Everybody’s Feelin’ Real”, which is produced by Duane Lundy (My Morning Jacket’s Jim James/Ben Sollee) and includes P-Funk/Rubberband keyboardist Razor Sharp Johnson, horn man Skerik, and Trey Anastasio Band vocalist/trumpet Jennifer Hartswick . Also, he was a part of this year’s London Bass Guitar Show in the UK giving a master class and performing. Plus he will be doing extensive touring with his mainstay funk group, “Freekbass & The Bump Assembly” which also includes funk legend Razor Sharp Johnson on keys/synths and George Clinton & P-Funk alumni Rico Lewis on drums. And recently, he signed with the esteemed label Ropeadope Records.

Watch Freekbass' music video for "Mama's Like A Cowboy" here:

lespecial

Hailed as a breakthrough act to watch in 2017, lespecial, based in Boston and upstate New York, have established themselves as innovators and tastemakers on their own unique trajectory. “Disguised as an average power trio from Boston, lespecial creeps around corners and reaches into the darkest depths of the absurd. lespecial is meticulous, creative and defiant; eclectic, multi-talented and driven. The band prides itself in extending the boundaries of musical ability, rebelliously laying waste to the limits of popular music.” (Ragin Randy Entertainment)

Labeled with such unique descriptions as “dark future groove” or “death funk” to “trance metal” or “haunted house party music”, it is tough to put one’s finger on this dangerous and determined trifecta’s distinct sound. A lespecial set brings their signature blend of psychedelic metal infused funk along with deep, thumping synths and 808s that will have your hips swaying as quick as your head banging. From the band’s origins as three friends in high school in the woods of Connecticut who shared a passion for building unique instruments and hitting them with drum sticks, through studying music at a collegiate level to now running their own music school and studio, The Music Cellar, in Millerton NY, Jonny Grusauskas (guitar/synth/sampler/percussion/vocals), Luke Bemand (bass/synth/percussion) and Rory Dolan’s (drums/samples) unique chemistry is what gives them their incomparable personality.

As Steve Morse, Boston Globe writer and Berklee College of Music professor, claims, “They are virtuoso players- and they really listen to each other closely, which is what raises them apart from today’s progressive wannabees”. After several, eclectic EP releases, their debut album, “Omnisquid”, released in 2015, finds the band “jumping through periods of hypnotic rhythms, catchy riffs, and synth grooves fit for a club… throw in a healthy dose of heavy metal and punk influenced guitar, and you have one of the most interesting new albums out there.” (Monkeygoose Magazine). ITDJENTS claims “For fans of King Crimson, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Battles this is definitely the album for you”. The band’s expansive catalogue of singles and videos, including arrangements of everyone from Kanye West to Skrillex to Fela Kuti, is keeping all eyes and ears on lespecial as they prove in clubs and festivals nationwide why Relix Magazine claims “Amidst the rest of the noise, lespecial is the squeaky wheel that demands attention.” 

Check out lespecial's recent set from Disc Jam Music Festival here:

Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose

Mr B began freestyling and recording mixtapes as a highschooler in Phoenix, AZ. He first came in to the public eye after viral youtube video "Wendys Drive Thru Rap". Soon after, he hit the road in support of acts like DMX and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. It did not take long for Mr B to realize he wanted to perform with more than just himself, and that's when the Tribal Hoose came along. With every member hailing from a different state, the group began as friends improvising live jams with Mr B as he freestyled at local house shows. They quickly realized they were on to something unique and captivating. The band has since grown and had the opportunity to perform at festivals with likes of Soulja Boy and Ying Yang Twins to name a few. They will B releasing their debut album in the Spring of 2017, followed by a tour to promote their album and movement.

Watch Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose perform "It Ain't All Good (But It's All Good) here:

The Stolen Faces

Photo by Thomas Diasio

Grateful Dead cover band The Stolen Faces deftly capture the spirit of the Dead, covering a wide variety of songs from the band’s expansive catalog and delivering them with the sort of energy and spontaneity that might have you thinking you’re standing in the Fillmore West in 1971. Led by bassist Christian Grizzard, the group features guitarist Jack Silverman, drummer Matt Martin, and a rotating cast of some of Nashville’s top session and touring musicians.

The members of The Stolen Faces all share a love for the Dead, and for the freeform jamming and good vibes that music entails. The group puts a high premium on nailing the vocal harmonies, and has the instrumental firepower to take the extended jams into some seriously trippy sonic territory. In a short time, touring through Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, they’ve begun to establish a reputation as one of the Southeast’s most solid and rockin’ Dead bands!

Watch several clips of The Stolen Faces performing here:

Winston Ramble

Based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Winston Ramble is a homegrown, folk-rock band. With members originally hailing from the free state of Winston County, AL, the band aims to interject the raw expression of rock-n-roll into the feel-good vibes of folk and bluegrass music.

Watch Winston Ramble & Friends perform "Miss You" here:

Downright

Watch Downright perform "The Dirt" here:

Supatight

Currently out of Asheville, NC, Supatight delivers a high energy live performance that is funk driven and appeals to a wide variety of audiences. While specializing in hard-hitting funk, their music incorporates elements of reggae, soul, jazz, and comedic country. Supatight blends intricately timed grooves with improvisational components resulting in an authentic, full sound, drawing diverse styles from every member of the band.

Watch Supatight perform "Puddin' Foot" here:

Shabti

Watch Shabti's official video for "Canvas of Clay" here:

Jon Poor Band

Watch Jon Poor Band perform "Alone In Our Skins" here:

Goat Hill String Band

Watch Goat Hill String Band perform "Long Train Runnin" here:

 Jason Grubbs & Friends


CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival Reveals Initial 2017 FallFest Lineup August 08, 2017 15:13

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
-

Share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments for a chance to win a pair of CukoRakko tickets. Make sure your settings are set to 'public' so we can see the shared post on our end.

Festival organizers have revealed the initial lineup for CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival, which returns Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL for the fourth consecutive year on October 6th - 8th and will presented by Land Rover of Birmingham. The bi-annual, grassroots music and arts festival has seen tremendous growth with each year, and this fall looks to be no exception. FallFest will feature arguably the festival's exciting lineup to date with BIG Something, The Heavy Pets, Backup PlanetFreekbass, lespecial and Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose rounding out the first wave of bands. A very limited amount of early bird tickets can be purchased today by clicking here.  VIP ticket packages and advance general admission tickets can also be found at CukoRakko.com.  Stay tuned for future artist announcements, exclusive artist interviews, and everything you need to know about CukoRakko!

Get To Know The Lineup:

BIG Something

A 6 piece powerhouse with a sound that is both unique and timeless, BIG Something fuses elements of rock, pop, funk, and improvisation to take listeners on a journey through a myriad of musical styles. It's no secret why this group has quickly become one of the most exciting new bands to emerge from the Southeast. Soaring guitars, synths, horns and alluring vocal hooks rise to the top of their infectious collection of songs and represent a sound that has caught the ears of such revered Summer circuit stalwarts as Galactic, moe., Robert Randolph, and even The B52s who have all tapped Big Something as direct support.

This past February the group released their 4th full-length studio album, Tumbleweed, which was recorded once again with the help of grammy nominated producer John Custer (Corrosion of Conformity). He has produced all of their albums including Truth Serum, which was named 2014 Album of the Year by The Homegrown Music Network, making Big Something the only band ever to win this award 3 times with 3 different releases (2010, 2013, and 2014).

Watch BIG Something perform "The Flood" with Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee here:

The Heavy Pets

The Heavy Pets are a funky-ass rock and roll band from South Florida. Called "a living, breathing force of nature" by Relix magazine, they are known for their songcraft and powerhouse live performances. The band has been a mainstay on the national touring circuit for over a decade, and will release its fourth full-length studio album in September 2017.

The Pets are a seasoned live act, playing over 1200 shows across the country since their inception in 2005. The band's energetic, extended sets have been described as "full blown musical salvation" that embodies the sound of their Florida home, weaving together elements of indie rock, funk and reggae into a style that is uniquely their own.

The group became an instant Sirius radio sensation upon the release of their debut album Whale in 2007. The crossover sound on their self-titled release, named a "Top 10 Album of 2010" by The Huffington Post, propelled them into the periphery of mainstream music. 2011 saw the release of Swim Out Past The Sun, an acoustic affair featuring longtime Jerry Garcia collaborator David Grisman. Beginning in 2013, The Heavy Pets put out a series of EPs recorded at the legendary Power Station studios, and will release its fourth full-length album in September 2017.

Watch The Heavy Pets perform "Dewpoint" > "Jackie Bones" here:

Backup Planet

Rock ‘n’ roll epitomizes escapism in its purest form. It’s not just artistic anesthetization either, but rather a galvanizing force that inspires us to keep pushing through life’s trials and tribulations. That’s why we still listen to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Rush, and countless others all these years later. It’s the same reason audiences will be talking about Backup Planet’s second full-length album, Reactions, for a long time to come. The Nashville, TN quartet—Ben Cooper [keys, vocals], Chris Potocik [drums, vocals], Gavin Donati [guitar, vocals], and Blake Gallant [bass, vocals]—write arena-size anthems echoing with progressive intricacy, funk swagger, and even a little metallic edge. Giving listeners an inspiring and invigorating aural haven, their moniker couldn’t be more apropos…

Watch Backup Planet perform David Bowie's "Fame" here:

Freekbass

Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Freekbass was an only child who initially wanted to be a magician. He later developed his own obsession for cartoon superheroes and comic books, relating to the underlying themes.

Living in Cincinnati exposed Freekbass to genres of music he may have missed otherwise. While most kids were listening to Nirvana and Green Day, he connected with the bottom-heavy sounds coming out of the boom boxes like Zapp and Midnight Star. While working in a music shop to pay off his first electric bass he had in lay-away, he began to study the classics of Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Parliament and Bootsy with a bass in one hand, and an MPC2000 in the other.

Freekbass has released six full-length CDs, including “Concentrate” with guests Bootsy Collins, DJ Spooky, Adam Deitch, and Steve Molitz, and “Junkyard Waltz” which includes guest appearances by Phish bassist Mike Gordon, guitarist Buckethead, keyboard wizard from P-Funk/Talking Heads Bernie Worrell, and is produced by funk legend Bootsy Collins. Also, national music DVD instruction company, The Rock House Method, recently released two Freekbass instructional DVDs “Learn Funk Bass with Freekbass (Level 1 & Level 2) “, and TrueFire.com just released the instructional DVD/download “50 Freekbass Licks You Must Know” . In 2010 Freekbass connected with DJ Logic, and Particle keyboardist Steve Molitz to form the funktronica trio, Headtronics. 

Going into 2015 Freek has a lot of things on the table. He just released his next album , “Everybody’s Feelin’ Real”, which is produced by Duane Lundy (My Morning Jacket’s Jim James/Ben Sollee) and includes P-Funk/Rubberband keyboardist Razor Sharp Johnson, horn man Skerik, and Trey Anastasio Band vocalist/trumpet Jennifer Hartswick . Also, he was a part of this year’s London Bass Guitar Show in the UK giving a master class and performing. Plus he will be doing extensive touring with his mainstay funk group, “Freekbass & The Bump Assembly” which also includes funk legend Razor Sharp Johnson on keys/synths and George Clinton & P-Funk alumni Rico Lewis on drums. And recently, he signed with the esteemed label Ropeadope Records.

Watch Freekbass' music video for "Mama's Like A Cowboy" here:

lespecial

Hailed as a breakthrough act to watch in 2017, lespecial, based in Boston and upstate New York, have established themselves as innovators and tastemakers on their own unique trajectory. “Disguised as an average power trio from Boston, lespecial creeps around corners and reaches into the darkest depths of the absurd. lespecial is meticulous, creative and defiant; eclectic, multi-talented and driven. The band prides itself in extending the boundaries of musical ability, rebelliously laying waste to the limits of popular music.” (Ragin Randy Entertainment)

Labeled with such unique descriptions as “dark future groove” or “death funk” to “trance metal” or “haunted house party music”, it is tough to put one’s finger on this dangerous and determined trifecta’s distinct sound. A lespecial set brings their signature blend of psychedelic metal infused funk along with deep, thumping synths and 808s that will have your hips swaying as quick as your head banging. From the band’s origins as three friends in high school in the woods of Connecticut who shared a passion for building unique instruments and hitting them with drum sticks, through studying music at a collegiate level to now running their own music school and studio, The Music Cellar, in Millerton NY, Jonny Grusauskas (guitar/synth/sampler/percussion/vocals), Luke Bemand (bass/synth/percussion) and Rory Dolan’s (drums/samples) unique chemistry is what gives them their incomparable personality.

As Steve Morse, Boston Globe writer and Berklee College of Music professor, claims, “They are virtuoso players- and they really listen to each other closely, which is what raises them apart from today’s progressive wannabees”. After several, eclectic EP releases, their debut album, “Omnisquid”, released in 2015, finds the band “jumping through periods of hypnotic rhythms, catchy riffs, and synth grooves fit for a club… throw in a healthy dose of heavy metal and punk influenced guitar, and you have one of the most interesting new albums out there.” (Monkeygoose Magazine). ITDJENTS claims “For fans of King Crimson, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Battles this is definitely the album for you”. The band’s expansive catalogue of singles and videos, including arrangements of everyone from Kanye West to Skrillex to Fela Kuti, is keeping all eyes and ears on lespecial as they prove in clubs and festivals nationwide why Relix Magazine claims “Amidst the rest of the noise, lespecial is the squeaky wheel that demands attention.” 

Check out lespecial's recent set from Disc Jam Music Festival here:

Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose

Mr B began freestyling and recording mixtapes as a highschooler in Phoenix, AZ. He first came in to the public eye after viral youtube video "Wendys Drive Thru Rap". Soon after, he hit the road in support of acts like DMX and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. It did not take long for Mr B to realize he wanted to perform with more than just himself, and that's when the Tribal Hoose came along. With every member hailing from a different state, the group began as friends improvising live jams with Mr B as he freestyled at local house shows. They quickly realized they were on to something unique and captivating. The band has since grown and had the opportunity to perform at festivals with likes of Soulja Boy and Ying Yang Twins to name a few. They will B releasing their debut album in the Spring of 2017, followed by a tour to promote their album and movement.

Watch Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose perform "It Ain't All Good (But It's All Good) here:

 


Panic En La Playa Returns To Riviera Maya On January 26th-30th (2018) June 20, 2017 15:33

-
Panic En La Playa returns to Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico on January 26th-30th 2018. This event features four nights of Widespread Panic, as well as late night performances from the Playa Allstars, Zambi Allstars, and BIG Something, as well as sunset shows from David Shaw, Marcus King, and Cris Jacobs. Returning guest pre-sales hit on July 10th, while general on sale is July 11th at 12PM EST. For more information and all of the latest updates, visit Panic En La Playa's official website.
-
Watch the official aftermovie from Panic En La Playa Seis here:
-

Watch BIG Something Jam With Jake Cinninger At Mountain Music Festival June 15, 2017 14:37

Summer festival season is clearly upon us; a time which brings together many of the most dynamic groups from across the musical spectrum. With the countless festivals across the country always comes many of the most memorable on-stage collaborations for both the fans and bands alike. Earlier this month, Mountain Music Festival was held in New River Gorge, West Virginia, with a lineup which included the likes of Umphrey's McGee, The Revivalists, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Twiddle, and one of our absolute favorite young bands, BIG Something.

The North Carolina-based six-piece had the opportunity to invite Umphrey's McGee lead guitarist Jake Cinninger to the stage for an extra fiery take on "The Flood," a tune from the band's latest album Tumbleweed. Check out the full performance below, and make sure to check out BIG Something via FacebookInstagram, and their official website.

Watch BIG Something perform "The Flood" with Jake Cinninger here:


Big Something & Funk You Storm Through Birmingham's WorkPlay Theatre February 05, 2017 13:46

Photos and Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

On a cold Friday night in Birmingham, refuge was easily found in the Workplay Theatre as two of the southeast's most promising bands, BIG Something and Funk You, delivered a raging party.  Funk You, originally from Augusta (GA), was up first and certainly made the most of its opening spot.  We've had a chance to catch these guys on a number of occasions over the years, but this was a seriously powerful performance.  

Frontman Gavin Hamilton brings such a cool, smooth vibe, while laying down some seriously powerful vocals.  Guitarist Evan Miller is quickly establishing himself as one of the most talented young guitarists in the jam scene.  Will Foster (keys) had many moments to shine as well, and the rhythm section of Will Clark (drums), Palmer Owens (percussion), and Rob Thompson (bass) were on point all night.  The set was highlighted by Funk You originals such as "Important To You," "Ghost For Me," "Space Monkey," "Black Dynamite," "Resolution" and a perfect cover of Pink Floyd's "Young Lust."  The future is very bright for Funk You, and you would be selling yourself short not to get out to see these guys in 2017.

Fresh off of a highly praised pair of performances on Jam Cruise, which included a sit-in from Widespread Panic's JoJo Hermann, BIG Something took the Birmingham stage.  With this being the band's first headlining spot in the Magic City, it was clear that they came to make a statement.  The set began with "Amanda Lynn," "Song For Us," and "Blue Dream," before busting into a powerful take on "UFOs Are Real."  There's a common theme of "outer space" found with this band, both lyrically and within its overall sound.  The heavy use of synthesizers from Josh Kagel (keyboards) and EWI (electronic wind instrument) from Casey Cranford certainly play to that notion.  

The set got particularly hot when the opening notes of "Megalodon" hit.  This was the song that turned me onto this band, and I still struggle to find a song that hits me harder than this one.  There is an energy to it and some seriously intriguing lyrics that keep this song in constant rotation for me.  The latest release, "Tumbleweed," came next and has a similar effect to that of "Megalodon."  As the band prepares to release its new album this month, "Tumbleweed" is a great sign as to what fans can expect from the release.  Another personal favorite came in the form of "Love Generator," which seemed to resonate amongst the rowdy crowd.  It's amazing when a band manages to communicate its message both lyrically and musically, but I've always felt that this is accomplished with this particular tune.  Finally hearing it live only confirmed that notion.  

Next up was a nod to the late Prince, as the boys busted into a super funky take on the hit song "1999."  You can't go wrong digging into the Prince catalog late into the night, and justice was undoubtedly served on Friday night.  Before this smokin' set came to conclusion, the band worked its way into "The Curse of Julia Brown," giving frontman Nick MacDaniels one more chance to showcase some seriously power vocals.  Guitarist Jesse Hensley and Cranford wasted no time trading licks across stage, and while it was chilly outside, the WorkPlay Theatre couldn't have been hotter.  After a quick exit, they returned with for a encore featuring The Who's "Baba O'Riley," which sent the room into an all out frenzy.  

While BIG Something might be new to the Birmingham market, Friday night was most likely just the beginning of many memorable nights with these guys.  The seasoned veterans from Burlington (NC) have been turning heads and building a massive following across the country since 2009, and if you haven't yet jumped on the bandwagon now is the time.  Keep an eye out for the announcement on BIG Something's annual festival "The Big What?" which is held each summer and always features a serious collection of the jam scenes most promising acts.

Watch a clip of BIG Something performing "Megalodon" here:

 

Watch a clip of BIG Something performing Baba O'Riley here:

Setlist: Funk You - WorkPlay Theatre - 02.03.17

1:  What's On Your Mind, Important To You, Ghost For Me, Space Monkey, Black Dynamite, Young Lust, Central Ave, Resolution

Setlist: BIG Something - WorkPlay Theatre - 02.03.17

1:  Amanda Lynn, Song For Us, Blue Dream, UFOs Are Real, Megalodon, Tumbleweed, 1999, Love Generator, The Curse of Julia Brown

Encore: Baba O'Riley

Evan Miller of Funk You

Gavin Hamilton of Funk You

BIG Something

BIG Something

Nick MacDaniels & Jesse Henley of BIG Something

BIG Something


Funk You Announces Massive 2017 Spring Tour January 23, 2017 12:05

One of Georgia's hottest up-and-coming bands, Funk You, has announced details on a major Spring tour for 2017.  This run of shows will see the band through the month of April and includes supporting dates with bands such as Perpetual Groove, The Werks, and BIG Something.  The funk will kick in to full force starting on Friday, February 3rd at Birmingham's WorkPlay Theatre with BIG Something, before an opening spot for Perpetual Groove at the Georgia Theatre on Friday, February 10th.  

A five-night run with The Werks will follow, which includes stops in Asheville (2/15), Atlanta (2/16), Jacksonville (2/17), Savannah (2/18), and Charleston (2/19).  Funk You will then head out west for a week in Colorado in early March before making its back through Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.  The tour winds down with a hometown show for The Major Rager Afterparty (Augusta - 4/06), and shows in Virigina Beach (4/13), Wilmington (4/14), and Greenville (NC - 4/15).  You can also find Funk You performing at SweetWater 420 Festival at Centennial Park in Atlanta, GA on April 23rd.  See below for a full list of tour dates.

For all of the latest Funk You news, head to the band's Facebook page and official website.

Watch Funk You and friends perform Prince's "1999" at the 2016 SweetWater 420 Fest afterparty here:

Official Bio: Funk You (Augusta, GA)

Hailing from the east side GA town of Augusta, FUNK YOU is an outgoing burst of energy that is continually climbing their way to the top of the music scene. This "funk" oriented outfit projects multiple musical styles focusing mainly on dance driven grooves with powerful clean vocals. Incorporating intriguing musical composition, tasteful lyrics, and crowd captivating live performances, FUNK YOU is surely to make an imprint on your musical taste.


FUNK YOU provides the audience with a furious fusion of influences ranging from Umphrey's Mcgee, Lettuce, James brown, and Stevie Wonder. By colliding funk, jam, rock, fusion, and prog into one uniform sound, these guys will keep your jaw dropped and your feet moving without stopping. Their songs combine lush ambiance, catchy vocals, and intense shredding simultaneously into a unique well defined sound.


For three years the band has been building their fan base in the southern local markets of Atlanta, Augusta, Athens, Statesboro, Milledgeville, Savannah and Macon. They have numerous sold out shows in Augusta and also at the Georgia Theater in Athens. With performances alongside Maceo Parker & Fred Wesley (James Brown horn section), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Tea Leaf Green, Robert Randolph, Snarky Puppy, and Moon Taxi, the band is paving their way to the festival circuit. FUNK YOU was voted best R&B band by August Magazine and was named Relix Magazine's "Artist On the Rise" in their July/August 2013 issue. Perseverance and hard work best describe the band's attitude, so if you haven't yet, you will be seeing them soon.


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Announce 17-Date Spring Tour January 13, 2017 09:22

Jam/funk rock sensation Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has announced a 17-date spring tour which will span across the East Coast and into the Southeast.  Following a winter tour which is heavily focused on the Midwest and West coast, much of the bands loyal following, "The Flock," can rejoice that their beloved band will be returning to many of its most familiar venues in the spring.  The spring dates kick off on March 29th in Rochester, NY and continue with stops all down the coast.  Supporting bands include Aqueous (Ithaca, Northampton, Burlington, Portland (ME), and Providence), Hayley Jane & The Primates (Brooklyn), Organ Freeman (Brooklyn), ELM (Washington, DC), and BIG Something (Norfolk).  The Pigeons will be supporting Papadosio for a two-night run at the Madison Theater in Covington, KY on April 28th-29th.

Earlier this week, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund their latest studio effort, Pizazz, due for release in September 2017. They are also releasing their first ever live album, in coordination with the Kickstarter campaign. The live album, The Great Outdoors Jam, features highlights from the band’s performance at The Great Outdoors Jam Festival in Mount Dora, FL from July 2016. Each and every contributor to the Pizazz Kickstarter campaign will receive a digital download of The Great Outdoors Jam on February 10th if the campaign reaches its goal of $18,000.

Check out the video below for their Kickstarter campaign and help Pigeons Playing Ping Pong reach their goal!

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s Full Winter/Spring 2017 Tour Dates:

1/27 Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre *
1/28 Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater *
1/29 Steamboat Springs, CO @ Schmiggity’s
1/31 Durango, CO @ Animas City Theatre
2/2 Jackson, WY @ Pink Garter Theatre
2/3 Bozeman, MT @ Eagle’s Ballroom
2/4 Missoula, MT @ The Top Hat
2/8 Spokane, WA @ Big Dipper
2/9 Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge
2/10 Eugene, OR @ HiFi Music Hall
2/11 Portland, OR @ Goodfoot
2/12 Bend, OR @ Volcanic Pub Theatre
2/15 Crystal Bay, NV @ Crystal Bay Casino ^
2/16 Chico, CA @ Lost On Main ^
2/17 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent ^
2/18 Los Angeles, CA @ The Mint ^
2/19 San Diego, CA @ Casbah ^
2/22 Phoenix, AZ @ Last Exit Live ^
2/24 Austin, TX @ The Parish
2/25 Houston, TX @ Raven Tower
2/26 Dallas, TX @ Sundown at Grenada
2/28 Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
3/1 Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note ”
3/2 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection ”
3/3 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection ”
3/4 Columbus, OH @ Express Live ”
3/29 Rochester, NY @ Flour City Station
3/30 Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt$
3/31 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl~
4/1 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl ^
4/7 Washington DC @ 9:30 Club #
4/8 Norfolk, VA @ The NorVA @
4/12 Knoxville, TN @ The Concourse
4/13 Birmingham, AL @ Workplay
4/14 Charlotte, NC @ Visulite Theatre
4/15 Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
4/19 Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street $
4/20 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground $
4/21 Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall $
4/22 Providence, RI @ Fete Ballroom $
4/27 Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s
4/28 Covington, KY @ Madison Theater &
4/29 Covington, KY @ Madison Theater &

* – w/ Dopapod
^ – w/ Organ Freeman
“ – supporting Lotus
$ – w/ Aqueous
~ – w/ Hayley Jane & The Primates
# – w/ ELM
@ – w/ BIG Something
& – w/ Papadosio


A Weekend In Review: The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival August 12, 2016 13:08

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Year in and year out, music fans can count on summertime presenting an overwhelming variety of options to satisfy their musical appetite.  The vast majority of national acts pack their schedules with gigs from coast to coast, and it seems as if there is a major music festival every weekend.  Last weekend was the quintessential example, as Ohio-based jam/rock band The Werks hosted it's annual "homecoming" weekend: The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival.   

The Werk Out began in 2010 at Zane Shawnee Cavernsan indian reservation with underground crystal caves in Bellefontaine, Ohio.  The festival quickly outgrew that area and relocated to Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio, where it has now been held for the past five years.  After hearing the rave reviews over the past few years and diving deep into The Werks' catalog, I knew that this was the year for a summer journey from Alabama and Ohio.  This ended up being easily one of my best decisions in recent memory.

From the moment we arrived on Thursday afternoon, the positive vibes were flowing from every angle.  An enthusiastic, welcoming staff directed our group to a prime camping spot, and we made at least 10 new friends before the campsite was even completed.  While there are numerous elements of The Werks that I have come to love, it's the positive culture that surrounds the band really seals the deal.  

Upon entering the festival grounds for the first time, Chris Houser (lead guitar - The Werks) was playing on the main stage with his very first band, Cheezcake, who set a perfect tone for the weekend.  Shortly after, we had the pleasure of catching several tunes from Sassafraz, a super talented group from Columbus which produced The Werks' newest band member, Jake Goldberg (bass).  Our first journey to the "Big Tent" led us to Mister F, who provided some serious funk prior to Dopapod taking the main stage.

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Dopapod has quickly become one of the jam/festival scenes hottest acts, and their success is justified with every performance.  Watching those guys perform, with a beautiful sunset in the distance, made for a very special moment early on.  We even got to sing "Happy Birthday" to the bands audio engineer/light designer Luke Stratton, as the band called him to the stage for a cake presentation.  Shortly after sunset, the crowd shifted just a matter of feet to the "Side Stage," where America's favorite power funk army Turkuaz ignited one of the biggest dance parties of the weekend.  It's truly amazing to witness the production and chemistry of this band in person.  They advertise "power funk," and they absolutely deliver "power funk."

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

The main stage was now set for the weekend's first set from The Werks, who took the stage fully participating in the evening's "track suit" theme.  The band came out firing with classics such as "For Today," "For You," and "Fire Eater," and even debuted a cover of Elton John's "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King.  A classic duel on the keys between Dan Shaw and special guest Todd Stoops occured during "G-Funk," before a massive "Hard to Find" > "Cloud Hopper" > "Hard to Find" would close out the set.  This was particularly satisfying, as my last Werks festival set was cut short when a nasty thunderstorm hit during "Cloud Hopper" at AURA earlier this year.  Another cover was debuted for the encore when the band busted out "Carry On My Wayward Son" by Kansas.  Somehow or another, Lettuce was up next for a late night set in the big tent, and night one at The Werk Out couldn't have been much hotter.

Watch The Werks perform "G-Funk" with special guest Todd Stoops here:

Video by izeoftheworldphotos

Photos by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Day two at Legend Valley picked up right where Thursday left off, and the party was alive and well in The Big Tent by early afternoon.  The Big Damn Jam served as a touching tribute to Norman Dimitrouleas, the former keyboardist of The Werks who tragically passed away in January of this year.  Norman had always wanted the band to play The Beatles' Abbey Road in it's entirety, and his brother Dino, Todd Stoops, and many others performed the album in epic fashion.  Next up was an early afternoon dose of heavy funk courtesy of Kung Fu, a band that always brings the party and never disappoints.  

Anyone that has been to a music festival understands that you have to be strategic; often leaving one set earlier than you would like to in order to catch one of those "must see" bands.  This was the story of Friday afternoon, but that's definitely not a bad problem to have.  It was now time for CBDB to kick off a 60-minute set it in The Big Tent.  These guys never cease to amaze me.  This would be the band's first performance with bassist Mike Sinopole, and you would've thought he'd been with the band for years.  The highlight of the set came in the form of two debuts: a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Loose Lucy" followed by a brand new original, "She's Mobile."  I can't help but predict very big things to come for CBDB in the near future.

Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

We quickly made it back to the main stage as Twiddle kicked off their set with the classic "Jamflowman."  It had been way too long since I had seen these guys, and I was quickly reminded why they have really blown up recently.  Fortunately, they were scheduled for an additional set on Saturday, which allowed me to scoot back over to The Big Tent just in time for Backup Planet, one of the most promising young bands I have seen in years.  I was introduced to this band earlier this year at AURA Music & Arts Festival, when they delivered one of my favorite sets of the weekend.  These guys managed to exceed some very high expectations.  Backup Planet is the real deal, and they might have the best cover of "Whipping Post" that I've ever heard.

Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Dopapod was now back on the main stage for another amazing sunset performance, only to be followed by a wildly energetic set on the side stage from live electronic act Zoogma.  I've had the pleasure of watching Zoogma work their way up from the college bar scene to the national festival scene, and I couldn't be happier for their success.  You get everything from electronic blues/rock to hip-hop with Zoogma, and how could you not get down to that?

The stage was now set for one of the weekend's biggest moments: two full sets of STS9.  There was a significant number of the Tribe faithful who came to The Werk Out specifically for this moment, and they were rewarded with a stellar festival performance.  The first set had two extremely unfortunate moments; the first of which involved a fan hopping on stage, climbing on drummer Zach Velmer's kit, and taking a trust fall onto the drummer mid-song.  Velmer handled the situation like the true professional that he is, and the band picked up right where they left off.  The set was then cut short due to technical/power issues, but the band returned for it's second set and gave Legend Valley an absolute gem.  The "Hubble" > "Orbital" > "Hubble" segue was as tight as anything I've heard from this band.  "World Go Round" made for an epic dance party to close out the set, and the "Breathe In" encore was simply perfect.  I couldn't have more respect for this band's response to a few unfortunate issues that were out of their control.

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

It was now time for The Werks to continue the party in the big tent, which some might have seen as a difficult task after two powerful sets of STS9.  The boys kicked things off with a bang as they worked through the powerful instrumental "Lights Out," followed by the first "Transformational" since November of 2015.  They even finished the "Cloudhopper" from Thursday night.  Dino Dimitrouleas returned to the stage for an extended jam on "Rollin," and two of my personal favorites, "Find Your Way" and "You're Not Alone," closed out the set in heavy fashion.  

You would think this had to be the end of the evening, but the most unique moment of the night was yet to come.  The stage was now set for Twerkapod, a one-time 90's tribute set featuring a rotating cast of members from The Werks, Dopapod, and Twiddle.  What proceeded after 2:30 AM was nothing short of beautiful, epic, and hilarious.  For a more detailed recap and video footage of the Twerkapod set, click here.

Watch Twerkapod perform Blues Traveler's "Run Around" here:

Video by Charles Izenstark: izeoftheworldphotos

As we entered the final day at Legend Valley, the positive energy was contagious, and we were faced with yet another killer lineup.  Broccoli Samurai kicked things off early on the main stage, and these guys blew my mind.  The Cleveland-based four-piece held down a ridiculously melodic groove from start to finish, and they have some of the best song titles I've ever heard of.  I'm really looking forward to following this band moving forward.  

Members of The Werks, Twiddle, and Greensky Bluegrass joined forces for the Matt Butler's Everyone Orchestra, which opened things up for some truly amazing improv jamming.  I had heard a lot about this project over the years, but this was my first time witnessing it in person.  The constantly rotating cast always brings something new to each stage, and watching this collection of musicians in this capacity was a definite highlight.  BIG Something proceeded to absolutely crush the side stage, while The Werks headed over to the VIP tent for a three-song acoustic set which included Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer," "Fall," and "Better Than Before."  This was my first time seeing these guys in an acoustic setting, and it only further affirmed how diverse this band can be.

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Greensky Bluegrass was next up on the main stage for one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend.  We took advantage of the grass hill back toward the vendors to enjoy the set full of all of the Greensky classics.  It had been quite some time since I'd had the pleasure of seeing these guys live, and damn...they were amazing.  They even brought out Mihali Savoulidis from Twiddle for "Last Winter in Copper County."  As soon as Greensky finished, Twiddle would take the side stage by storm for their second set of the weekend, which featured many of my favorites, such as "Be There," "Lost in the Cold," Syncopated Healing," and "Frankenfoote."  

Watch video footage of Greensky Bluegrass w/ Mihali Savoulidis of Twiddle here:

Video by Charles Izenstark: izeoftheworldphotos

The main stage was now set for what you could easily call the weekend's main event.  The Werks were slated for two sets, and they took the stage in full tuxedos.  "Alive" kicked off the set and bust outs of "Give or Take" and "Cruel Stone Blues" would follow.  The always powerful "OG" ultimately led into a cover of Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein" which closed out the first set in epic fashion.  "Drop" kicked off the second set, which has to be one of the most clever songs in recent history.  An extended "Werk Out Jam" moved into an "Immigrant Song Jam," and things truly took off from there.  

The sequence of "Finding Destiny" > "Galactic Passport" > "Finding Destiny" > "Galactic Passport" > "Finding Destiny" was on another level.  A raging rendition of "Onslaught" provided a classic Werks rager to close the second set.  The decision to encore with "Carry Me Back Home" came as no surprise, as the emotional tune had not been played since prior to the passing of Norman Dimitrouleas.  Dino returned to the stage for this one, which was an emotional, touching tribute to say the least.  Midway through the song, Rob Chafin addressed the audience and invited the entire Werk Out crew to the stage for the song's closing chorus. 

Watch the "Finding Destiny" > "Galactic Passport" sequence here:
-
-

Watch The Werks' perform "Carry Me Back Home" here:

Videos by Charles Izenstark: izeoftheworldphotos

As many readers will understand, you're just never going to make it to every set that you plan for over the course of a weekend festival.  After three full days and two very late nights, I didn't have it in me to make it back over to The Big Tent for the two remaining sets from The Motet and Earphunk (Daft Phunk).  This was defintely my biggest regret of the weekend, but as the old saying goes, "You can't make 'em all."  There was a noticeable buzz amongst the campground surrounding both late night sets, and it sounds like Earphunk went above and beyond, with a set that went far beyond the time they were obligated to play until.  This came as no surprise, as that's the type of performance that those guys are known to give.  

As I wrap up what is easily one of the longest articles in the history of this website, I can't help but wonder if there is anyone who has actually continued reading to this point.  For anyone who has, thank you for reading through my memories of this amazing weekend.  There is no brief or concise way to justifiably recount this experience.  When thousands of fans come from every corner of the country to gather in the spirit of music and art, it is truly a beautiful thing.  The Werk Out was circled on my calendar for several months, and the anticipation which surrounded it was very real.  My expectations couldn't have been much higher, and they were exceeded each and every night.  I can't say enough about the job that Rob Chafin and the entire Werks crew has done in building and growing this festival into what it has become.  The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival was an experience that I will never forget, and I can't wait to return in 2017.

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions


Live & Listen's 'Bands You Should Know': BIG Something July 15, 2016 01:38

Photo by Jordan August Photography

Live & Listen is pleased to introduce a brand new weekly feature known as Bands You Should Know.  This new concept will highlight a different band each Friday with an interview, general background information, current happenings, as well as videos and audio from each band.  After nearly two years of various interviews and artist spotlights, we feel that installing a consistent weekly feature is the perfect move as we progress forward.

For our third edition of Bands You Should Know, we sat down with Nick MacDaniels (guitar/vocals) of BIG Something, a North Carolina-based band who is making major noise across the country.  Thanks to the power of SiriusXM JamOn, we were introduced to this band in early 2015, and they have been a mainstay on our personal playlist ever since.  BIG Something blends elements of rock, funk, pop, reggae, and even hip hop, all while providing truly compelling lyrics and a distinct level of improvisation.  If you're in the market for a band that offers the total package, today is your lucky day.

 

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

BIG Something formed in North Carolina in 2009, and it didn't take long for things to really start clicking.  Tell me a little bit about how everything came together, and how things have progressed since.

Nick: Well, I grew up in Maryland but ended up going to a small school in North Carolina called Elon University.  That’s where I met a few of the guys in the band.  We played in another band called Anonymous, or The Anonymous Band, for a little while.  We got started as a college band and played every week at a local bar.  Slowly but surely, we met a few of the other guys, and that’s how BIG Something was formed.  Everybody came into the picture, and things kind of fell into place from there.  

Right on.  So it didn’t take too long for you guys to get into the studio and cut your first album.  You worked with Grammy-nominated producer John Custer on Stories From the Middle of Nowhere in 2010, right?

Nick:  Yea John kind of helped us create a new identity for the band.  That first album that we released was how we introduced the name of the band.  It kind of took off from there.  

It seems like the initial response from that album was strong, to say the least.  You guys won an Homegrown Music Network’s “Album of the Year” award.  The album spent several weeks at #1 on Jambands.com’s charts.

Nick: It was received a lot better than I was expecting.  Ever since then, every album that we have recorded has been with John (Custer).  We try and grow a little bit on each one and give them their own unique touch.  We actually have a new album that we’re releasing sometime this fall.  We haven’t really released too much information on it yet, but it was recorded with John, and we’re all really excited about it. It will be our fourth full length album.

Very cool.  It seems like whatever he is doing in the studio certainly works.  Makes perfect sense to continue working with him.

Nick:  Yeah man.  John is awesome.  He’s kind of like our seventh man, in a way.  He helps keep the band moving forward and really brings the best performance out of each of us.  It’s really great having him there in the studio.

So I was first introduced to you guys thanks to Sirius JamOn.  I distinctly remember the first time I heard "Megalodon" in the car in early 2015, and it's been one of my go-to songs ever since.  It grabs people’s attention from the first note.  It took me a while to realize that the song is about a shark, right?

Nick:  Right.  It usually takes people a couple of listens to figure out that it’s about floating in the ocean with a shark kind of circling around and waiting to attack.  It can be interpreted in a bunch of different ways.  We kind of left it open to interpretation on purpose.

I can see that.  That song is really powerful.  I guess maybe a better word would be explosive.  It’s one that you just can’t turn off once it starts, and I’ve yet to get tired of hearing it.  DJ Logic really adds a nice touch to it as well.  It had to be fun to bring him in for that one.  Had you guys worked with him before the recording?

Nick:  We had done some shows with him and he ended up sitting in on that song live with us one night at a Widespread Panic afterparty in Wilmington NC. And it was just so dope and such a perfect fit for the song. We knew we were about to record later that year and everyone was like 'lets get Logic to sit in on the track.' So we invited him to do it, but he wasn't available to come record in person so we actually had him send in his parts digitally. Really happy we got him on there and made it work cause I love the way it turned out. 

Watch BIG Something's official music video for "Megalodon" here:

I've noticed what seems to be a recurring outer space theme with you guys.  You have the live album Live From Uranus, the song "UFOs are real"…And it really seems to fall in line with the Big Something funk sound.  Would I be correct in assuming this is a special interest for you guys?

Nick: Absolutely.  I think we’re all kind of space geeks, and space in general is a big theme that happens with the band in a lot of different ways.  Even with the name of the band, BIG Something, it’s kind of a metaphor for outer space in and of itself.  The sound of the band definitely has a spacey influence that kind of plays into that imagery. There are a lot of lyrics that deal with outer space as well; UFOs and things like that.  

That’s a really cool concept.  Outer space is obviously an endless topic.  I’m sure that delving into that world through the songwriting process can take you to some really interesting places.  

Nick:  Yeah…it really all comes from the name BIG Something.  Looking at that bigger picture of the universe at large is a big part of it.  

So we already talked a little bit about the band’s debut album.  You’ve since released the live album (Live from Uranus), as well as BIG Something and Truth Syrum.   Now that you’ve finished recording the next release, how would you say that each experience has been different from the other?  Have you taken a different approach each go-round?

Nick: (laughs) Yes. The first two albums (Stories From the Middle of Nowhere and BIG Something) were recorded in a private home. The second one (Truth Syrum) was recorded in a storage unit. And the new album was actually recorded in a really legit, nice studio.  We spent a week at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, North Carolina.  A bunch of great artists have recorded there.  Making this album in a real studio was a really special experience.   I think you can definitely hear it in the final result.

So how did you guys end up recording in the storage unit?

Nick:  So, it’s kind of a makeshift recording studio.  It was actually a nice space and pretty decent studio, but it just happened to be inside of a storage unit (laughs).  Each album has definitely had their own feel and unique qualities.

Watch BIG Something perform "UFOs Are Real" at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater in Wilmington, NC here:

 

I know you said you guys aren’t revealing much about the new album, so I won’t ask much.  Is this going to be a lot of totally new material, or do you guys like to test them out in a live setting and let them develop before taking them into the studio?

Nick:  Absolutely.  A lot of the songs have been played out on the road, so it’s really road tested and still has a great live feel to it.  What usually ends up happening with us is we will write some new material, and then we’ll tour on it and let it develop and tighten.  Then we will record it.  None of these songs had ever been recorded, but they have all been played on the road many times. They have taken on a new life in the studio so it will be cool to see how people respond to that. 

That seems to be a pretty common practice.  Getting that initial crowd reaction, feeling the energy in the room, and seeing how that translates over must make a big impact on the decision as to what makes the final cut for the album. 

Nick:  Absolutely.  We try to be a good studio band and a good live band.  That’s not necessarily the same thing.  There is a balance to how you do stuff in the studio.  We’ve learned that over the course of doing each of these four albums.  It’s definitely going to have a slightly different feel to it.  It’s going to be a little heavier, a little darker.  I think it will be the most progressive sounding album we have released yet.  I’m excited about it.  We’re still figuring out when it will be released, but we’re looking at the fall. 

You've had a very busy year; touring with The Werks in the spring and landing several great festival spots. Just finished up a run out west, and it looked like this weekend's set at The Ride Festival was a big one.  What are a few of the highlights from 2016 thus far?

Nick: You know you pretty much just covered all of them.  That run with The Werks was really great.  We got to play a lot of awesome venues and new cities with them.  We had a great show out in Denver on that run.  We played Detroit for the first time.  It was a packed house, and that was awesome.  This past weekend in Telluride was really special.  I’d say that was probably in everyone’s top 5 experiences as a band.  The setting was so beautiful, and playing that little stage tucked into the mountains in front of one of the biggest crowds that we have ever played for was such a rush. 

We’ve got our own festival, The Big What?, coming up, and that’s always a big highlight for us. The experience of recording the album in Asheville was amazing too.  We got to all stay together in an artist house in Asheville. We cooked dinner every night and had a lot of fun with it. It’s the first time we’ve ever recorded like that, where we’ve had a little band retreat; shacking up and cutting off communication with the outside world and knocking it out over the span of 2 weeks instead of a little at a time over several months. Its a more clear snap shot of the band. We just focused on recording, and it was really, really cool.  

There’s a lot of great things happening.  Wanee was absolutely incredible. We played at 11AM, and I was on stage brushing my teeth literally 10 minutes before we started.  All of the sudden, out of nowhere, a couple thousand people came down to the stage.  It was packed.  I wasn’t really expecting it to be like that, but it was great. Jam Cruise is coming up, which is really exciting.  Peach Festival is another really big one we're honored to be a part of.  

That venue (Wanee) is absolutely amazing.  That amphitheater stage, surrounded by all of the Spanish moss trees, might be my favorite place to see a band.  I haven’t had the chance to get out to Red Rocks or The Gorge yet, but I absolutely love Suwannee.  I can’t imagine how great the energy is as a performer.

Nick:  There is a palpable energy there.  That’s for sure.  You kind of have to soak it up.  There isn’t much you can say to describe it, but it is a very special place.  It’s one of my favorite places to play music as well. 

If I’ve ever been anywhere that has felt like there is a little bit of magic in the air, it’s definitely Suwannee. You know?

Nick:  Oh yeah.  I would suggest trying to see a show out in Telluride.  It has that same type of vibe to it.  There’s just a spirit in the air. 

I definitely need to spend some time out there.  Let’s talk about The Big What?, which is coming up next weekend in North Carolina.  You've put together an amazing lineup this year with The Werks, Turkuaz, Zach Deputy, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, etc.  The festival is now in it's 5th year.  How did this event originally come together, and how critical has it been for the development of the band to have this big annual party?

Nick: It’s interesting. It’s been through a progression on it’s own in a lot of different ways.  When we first started doing it, we had already been doing our own little festival-like parties out on farms in North Carolina.  Through doing that, we started meeting more and more people within this community in North Carolina.  Everyone started coming together, and we decided we wanted to do a BIG Something-themed festival and bring all of these different communities together.  We wanted to do our own thing and make it unique.  

So we called it The Big What?, which is kind of a joke and a play on the band’s name itself.  People always ask us if we forgot our own band name.  “The Big Something?  The Big What?”  That’s where the name of the festival came from.  It’s been a really awesome way to help spread the word about the band. People come from far and wide. It has become such a positive weekend for us, and there is just a great community of people involved.  It’s all about southern hospitality, and everyone seems to take care of each other.  

Here lately, we’ve been trying to not let The Big What? take over our entire focus as a band.  We have our sights set on playing other parts of the country and not letting the festival define us. Obviously we still put our heart and soul into it. It’s a great piece of the puzzle, but we have a lot of other stuff that we want to try and get to as we continue our musical adventure.

Click Here: Purchase Tickets to The Big What?

Watch the official recap video from The Big What? (2015) here:

I’m sure it never hurts to have an event like this, where so many of your biggest fans get to come together for the weekend.  It’s cool that you get to include so many other bands who are in similar places as a band.  Like you said, it brings a really great group of people together, and it seems like it’s mutually beneficial for the fans and performers alike. I’d love to make it up there next weekend.

Nick: You should definitely come if you can, man.  If not, no worries, but it’s definitely a good time.  I think you would like it.  It’s kind of got a vibe like Suwannee, where there is just an energy in the air.  It’s a special thing for all of us. 

Where is it located in North Carolina?

Nick: It’s kind of near Chapel Hill and Durham.  It’s right between Greensboro and Raleigh on a 300-acre farm right off of Interstate 40.  It will be three nights, Thursday to Saturday, July 21st-23rd.

I’m a big fan of the Thursday to Saturday schedule.  There’s nothing worse than having to leave a festival on Sunday afternoon and miss an act you really wanted to see.  It happens though, as sometimes you have a long trek home and obligations on Monday.

Nick: It makes it a lot easier on our staff too.  People are pretty worn out by that point in time.  

I think everybody wins with that formula   So I know you’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with some amazing bands: Robert Randolph & The Family band, The B52s, Galactic just to name a few.  What do you consider some of the biggest moments this band has had on stage? 

Nick: All of those that you just mentioned were really special.  Playing in front of The B52’s in front of 8,000 people at an outdoor amphitheater was probably our first “big moment”.  That was crazy.  We ended up meeting a lot of people after that show.  That was actually on a day where we played three shows in one day.  We played a beer festival in Charlotte at like noon.  Then we drove to Raleigh and played at the amphitheater with the B52’s in front of 8,000 people. Then we went and played small, crazy hippie festival in the woods that night in front of like 500 people.  It was such a wide range of shows.  That was a fun day.

Opening for Galactic at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater was really awesome.  Same thing with Robert Randolph.  We’ve done a bunch of shows with other bands that we really love and look up to.  Dopapod…it’s always fun playing with those guys.  Pigeons Playing Ping Pong…we’ve done a bunch of great shows with them.  Our buddies - Spiritual Rez up in Boston.  We’ve had some great shows with Zach Deputy.  Our first time out to Colorado was such a special experience; just because of the way people embrace music out there. All of our first shows out there were just crazy.  We weren’t expecting it at all.  It was just like, “Wow!  Let’s keep coming back here. Its like the promised land."

-

Well before we wrap things up, I know you mentioned several big festivals coming up.  It looks like you guys have dates announced up to early October at this point.  Then you have the album release this fall.  What else can people expect from BIG Something here in the second half of 2016?  Will you guys be spending most of your time on the road?

Nick: Yes…we’re going to pick up touring in September, and from that point on, it’s going to be pretty heavy. We’re going to hit as many spots all over the country as we possibly can.  We’re trying to team up with a bunch of different bands over the course of the year, so there should be some really good shows in there that we haven’t announced yet.  We also do our own Halloween show at The Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh called The Big Something Costume Ball. That’s always really fun.  We always plan our set around some crazy theme, and it’s always a surprise.  Last year, it was two sets, and we did an angels set and a devils set.  The first set was all kind of heaven-inspired songs, and the second set was all related to hell and fire and all of that. 

We’re doing New Year’s Eve again at The Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, which is always fun.  We’re playing Catskill Chill for the first time. That’s going to be great.  We’re really looking forward to playing  Marvin’s Mountain Top, where All Good used to be.  That’s for a new festival in September called Deep Roots River Revival.  Then of course there is JamCruise, which is a dream come true. We’re really excited about that.

Official Website: BIG Something

Follow BIG Something on Facebook

Follow BIG Something on Instagram