BIG Something brought 2020 to a close in much the same way it did 2019, with a run of concerts at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC. The only thing missing this year was the hundreds of fans who packed the venue last year. In addition to the fans, another thing went missing over the past year as the band—as well as the music world at large—lost a number of its heroes. During the BIG Something New Year’s Eve concert, the group took time out of the set to pay tribute to Toots Hibbert, Bill Withers, and John Prine who all passed away this year.
First up was the reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert who played off and on with his group Toots & The Maytals for almost 60 years. In an attempt to honor this massive legacy, BIG Something covered “Pomps & Pride” from the band’s 1972 album Funky Kingston. With a horn section bolstered by Casey Cranford on saxophone and Josh Kagel on trumpet, the band got a bounce in its step as the reggae beat took over.
Immediately following the Toots cover, BIG Something switched gears into R&B mode as it paid tribute to Bill Withers with a take on “Kissing My Love”. This marked the band’s debut performance of the Still Bill track, though Jesse Hensley‘s commandeering of the wah-wah laden guitar riff made it feel like an old favorite. Through all these covers, frontman Nick MacDaniels continued to proliferate his ever-widening vocal range while the band itself continued to cover new musical ground.
Finally, the trio of tributes came to a close with BIG Something’s debut take on John Prine’s “Pretty Good”. Though the prospect of a jam band covering a folk singer-songwriter seems a bit strange at first, the loose rock n’ roll nature of the song off Prine’s self-titled, debut record lent itself to a proper full band performance.
Watch BIG Something cover songs by Toots Hibbert, Bill Withers, and John Prine during the band’s New Year’s Eve livestream from the Lincoln Theatre.
BIG Something – “Pomps & Pride” (Toots Hibbert), “Kissing My Love” (Bill Withers), “Pretty Good (John Prine) – Raleigh, NC – 12/31/20
[Video: Big Something]