On Saturday, December 26th, 50+ artists and hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world came together for Georgia Comes Alive, a virtual music festival aimed at promoting voter participation in Georgia’s critical Senate runoff elections on January 5th, 2021.
One of the all-star collaborations born out of GCA was the pairing of Mike Mills (R.E.M.) with BIG Something for a take on the R.E.M. deep cut “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville”. While this pairing of the iconic Athens, GA rocker and the North Carolina-based cross-genre jam outfit may at first seem out-of-left-field, this is far from Mills’ first foray into the jam. In addition to having sat in with BIG Something onstage in the past, fans of Widespread Panic will remember his memorable appearance at the band’s 2019 Andy Kaufman-themed Halloween concert, though the multi-instrumentalist may have been overshadowed by the cantankerous Tony Clifton who ultimately brought that show to a close.
At any rate, Mills led BIG Something through “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” in a compromise of styles, as the latter shied away from the traditional use of the Electronic Wind Instrument by Casey Cranford and instead went with a more traditional rock approach. Cranford was not devoid of responsibility, however, as observant audiences will notice him playing a banana throughout the performance. With this brief 4:38 minute telling of the R.E.M. song, BIG Something acts more like a house band which, if anything, goes further to prove the group’s versatility and lack of ego.
Relive the Mike Mills and BIG Something collaboration on “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” from Georgia Comes Alive in the video below. If you enjoyed the show and have the means, consider donating to Georgia grassroots voter organizations via GeorgiaComesAlive.com. Subscribe to the Live For Live Music YouTube channel for more Georgia Comes Alive videos. For Georgia voter info, head here.
Mike Mills (R.E.M.) ft. BIG Something – “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville”