These days, Big Something is really living up to its name.
The six-piece Burlington-based band—which came into its current iteration six years ago—has evolved from the original line-up, subtly named Anonymous, into a group whose sound and stage presence is, well, something quite big.
And it’s as infectious as it is hard to pin down. Call it electro-funk, dance party-primed, rock fusion. Call Big Something a jam band if you’d like; lead singer and guitarist Nick MacDaniels doesn’t mind, even if he doesn’t totally agree.
“I don’t really have a problem with the jam band label. We like a lot of jam bands,” MacDaniels said. “But I don’t think we fit neatly into one category or another. We are a band that improvises, for sure, but we’re also a band with set song structures and chords. We pull our influences from all kinds of places. We’re six people who all come from very different backgrounds and different influences. We’ve never sat down and decided, ‘This is our sound.’”
As part of its ever-increasing schedule of live gigs, Big Something will bring its eclectic style to the stage of Greenfield Lake Amphitheater this Saturday. The concert—the first time Big Something will headline the outdoor venue—is presented by 98.3 FM The Penguin.
“We love playing Wilmington. We’ve been there many times, and it’s one of our favorite cities to play in North Carolina. It’s great to have this opportunity to headline the beautiful Greenfield Lake Amphitheater,” MacDaniels noted.
For a band that has gained notoriety for its foot-stomping shows, being on the road more places, more often has been a goal for Big Something all along.
“It’s been great,” MacDaniels said of touring. “It’s what we’ve always been wanting to do. This is our sixth year as a band with this lineup, but we didn’t start heavily touring until a few years ago. Every year, we get a little busier and cover a little more ground. It comes with its own challenges. It’s not always easy but it’s definitely fun.”
The love of the stage may come from the band’s passion for crowd participation.
“I think that connection with the audience, where this is reciprocal energy…when you can get that really snowballing, that is my favorite part of it,” MacDaniels said.
That doesn’t mean Big Something isn’t continuing to gain traction off the stage, as well.
The band’s release of its third studio album, “Truth Serum,” last year garnered national attention, winning The Homegrown Music Network’s Album of the Year award. It’s an award that was also handed out to the band’s first album in 2010 and it’s sophomore effort in 2013.
Online publication Live Music Daily also named Big Something a band to watch in 2014.
“’Truth Serum’ represents the growth of the band through touring. Most of the songs on the album were written several years ago and played on the road before we sat down and recorded them,” MacDaniels said. “It’s my favorite record of ours to date, for sure.”
Still, the lure of live music is in the band’s DNA.
Big Something is currently working on a new live album—a follow-up to “Live from Uranus”—and is planning its annual three-night outdoor music festival, Big What, in Mebane this summer.
As for this Saturday’s show, MacDaniels has some advice for fans.
“Come out early and enjoy some tailgating. Groove Fetish is opening up and they’re awesome, and we’ll be playing two sets,” he said.
And, he added, the band is working on a little something—some new cover tunes they plan to debut at Greenfield Lake.
“I’m not revealing those,” he said with a chuckle. “That will have to be a surprise.”
Tickets to Big Something, with opening act Groove Fetish, are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show. Gates at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater open at 5 p.m. and the show gets underway at 6.
Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.