North Carolina based jam band, BIG Something, had a lot to celebrate in St Petersburg, Florida at The State Theater on Friday night. In addition to the fact that the band has just finished laying and mixing tracks for their new album to be released sometime later this year, it was also bassist Doug Marshall‘s birthday. Fresh off a three night New Year’s run at the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh, North Carolina, the band started the new year by playing several shows supporting Umphrey’s McGee, then driving south to sunny but chilly Florida.

Following the soundcheck, I got the opportunity to sit down with Nick MacDaniels (vocals, guitar) and Jesse Hensley (lead guitar) and talk about the past and the future of BIG Something. They explained that the upcoming album (their 5th full length studio album) was produced in Asheville, North Carolina at Echo Mountain Recording and was produced by GRAMMY-nominated producer John Custer. The title of the album has not yet been settled, but one thing is for certain: The album will be dedicated to Paul Interdonato, BIG Something lyricist and Nick’s childhood best friend, who recently passed away.

“Paul was the one responsible for getting me started in music” Nick said. “We were really young and he basically said, I’m going to learn an instrument and you need to learn one too, and that’s how it started…Our first gig was at our school, we played Green day tunes but changed the lyrics to Mexican food subjects, it was hilarious.” 

Big Something plays extensively throughout the year, touring nationwide, and have had their share of memorable trips both good and bad. As McDaniels regaled, “We were driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, it was so hot. We were going through Death Valley and it was so hot that the signs on road said to turn off the air conditioning or the car would overheat. The sign was right. Shortly after we saw that warning sign, our van overheated and we were stuck on the side of the road in that unbearable heat for a bit…Then when we got back on the road and were pulling in to Las Vegas we saw a huge MGM sign with our name and picture on it. It was awesome!”

On this night, however, there were no troubles for BIG Something. Opener Bobby Lee Rogers took the stage first and delivered a smoking opening set to an energetic crowd. Jesse Hensley joined the trio for a few songs that saw him and Jesse trade leads back and forth to fantastic effect. 

Big Something opened their show with “Undertow” and it was immediately clear that the fans in the crowd new the material as they sang out the lyrics loudly in unison. Casey Cransford (Saxophone, EWI) was his usual badass self on the stage, trading tunes between his saxophone and his electronic wind instrument. Ben Vinograd (drums) provided a steady beat with the birthday boy Doug Marshall laying down his usual sturdy bass lines. The band also included a 2-song tribute to David Bowie by playing “Let’s Dance” and a rocking “Fame”.  Later, Bobby Lee Rogers came out and joined them, excitedly returning the favor bestowed on him during his opening set. “These guys are what’s right and good about music” Rogers said after coming offstage. “Their energy and talent is enormous. I really enjoyed that, a lot!”  The band also offered up memorable renditions of “Love Generator” and “Tumbleweed”.

BIG Something will be traveling to Mexico next week to join Widespread Panic for Panic en La Playa Siete at The Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico. “I’m really excited about it” says Henley. “We play a two-hour show the first night of the event, so we will be fresh and ready to go, then get to enjoy the other bands and the Mexican coast for a few days. ” Once that is over, they will hit the road again (starting at Brooklyn Bowl) touring the Northeast, Midwest, and the West before heading to Florida to play the upcoming Wanee Festival at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park

Big Something continues their Florida run with a show in Jacksonville tonight, January 20th. For a full list of upcoming Big Something tour dates, head to the band’s website.

Below, check out a gallery of photos from the performance via Christopher Burgess.

[Cover photo: Chris Burgess]