Take a ride to the improv crossroads of rock, pop, and funk with one of Virginia’s longtime visitors. Burlington, NC’s BIG Something uses the unique feng shui of their sound to build songs around movie characters, almost making them into comics with each lyric.
“It’s almost like we bring the characters to life,” said Nick MacDaniels, lead vocalist and guitarist.
Growing up, MacDaniels took an interest in hip hop and harder rock genres, before mellowing out. Drawn more to the singer-songwriter styles like bluegrass, MacDaniels set the foundation for his work today with his current decade-old six piece. BIG Something’s members hail from individually-abstract backgrounds and lifestyles, which come together in a melting pot of sorts through their shows. Those shows kicked off their current tour in the River City last weekend.
“Everyone’s on fresh legs and in positive mindset,” said Nick MacDaniels. “It’s always fun playing in Richmond, especially since we’re kicking off a great long tour.”
This time around, though, the Carolinians had different plans. Last Friday and Saturday, The Broadberry hosted their first two-night special, is the first stop of many on a tour visiting some legendary places: like Colorado’s Stanley Hotel, inspiration for The Shining and film site for Dumb and Dumber. The Stanley was turned into a music venue in its Estes Park home, where people can stay overnight and enjoy musical acts.
BIG Something’s Richmond show started off with a beautiful introduction from Jouwala Collective. Their blend of Gnawa music, traditional African and spiritual songs, is characterized by hypnotic chant-like rhythms mixed with contemporary influences of funk, jazz, rock, soul, reggae, blues, and electronic. This distinct sound excited the crowd, leaving an exceptional first impression for their first show at The Broadberry.
Electrified fans were eager when BIG Something opened up the show with tracks from their 2017 album Waves, along with a combination of various covers. All members contributed to an eccentric sound with individual instruments and voices, collaboratively working to leave the crowd echoing on about their “astounding” sound. It seemed that everyone present had been following them loyally for years.
Beyond their life on the road, BIG Something has something special hidden up their dozen collective sleeves. The Big What?, a BIG Something-organized music festival that hosts an abundance of mutual bands, live artists, and painters while opening up a large art gallery, is coming back for its eighth year for supporters and fans. Further info will be coming as the year rolls on.
Not only do they produce a fun time, BIG Something also strives to make their sets interactive and involve their audience. It’s almost like “one big art project,” according to MacDaniels, and they’re more than excited to get on the road and share their work with the world. For Richmond to be their first stop was a BIG honor.
Photos by Aviance Hawkes
Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond