BIG Something & Aqueous End Colorado Run On A High Note

Words & Images by: Tyler Hypnarowski

BIG Something & Aqueous :: 2.17.19 Cervantes :: Denver, CO

Wrapping up a five-show Colorado run that took them through various mountain towns and featured a show at the famed Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Big Something and Aqueous treated a hearty audience at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom to nearly four hours of music on Sunday night. There was a fantastic buzz in the room from the beginning as two of the jam scene’s seemingly ever-ascending young bands made their returns to Denver.

BIG Something got the action started with their high-octane rocker, “EWI 4000,” giving Casey Cranford and his (E)lectronic (W)ind (I)nstrument center stage to glow. Looking and sounding a bit like the love child of a clarinet and a synthesizer, the EWI is certainly an ear catcher and an eye. The instrument remained integral throughout their collection, accompanying textures amongst rsquo & the band as well as providing both lead;s genre-defying sounds.

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On Sunday, @aqueousband concluded a Colorado run with @bigsomethingofficial on a high note in Denver. Tyler Hypnarowski shared images and words on the Sunday night show 📷: @tylerhyp #aqueous #bigsomething

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The six-piece from North Carolina would then switch gears for their next song, “Sundown Nomad. ” The opening track from their 2018 album The Otherside, the song featured those familiar undertones, but would be characterized by its own dub-infused beat and hip-hip verses. Two sounds that are unique, two tunes.

But don’t let this talk of EWIs and hip-hop fool you. Guitarist Jesse Hensley was involved often and early taking solos as the left handed Nick MacDaniels strummed on his upside Fender à la Jimi Hendrix.

Towards the middle of the set, as the band jammed their way through “Wildfire,” the two guitarists had the audience in a frenzy as they built the jam up and down several times on the way to its peak. The pair & rsquo; s musical chemistry was entertaining to watch throughout the evening and is well nurtured after playing side by side for nearly a decade now.

Big Something 2019

Photo by Tyler Hypnarowski

Soon after came an elongated take on “Truth Serum,” the track in their 2015 album of the same name. The rhythm section of drummer Ben Vinograd and bassist Doug Marshall stood out as they laid down a foundation for the rest of the band to groove over. Multi-instrumentalist Josh Kagel would threw his name as rsquo & the song;s MVP, alternating between keyboard wizard and master trumpeter throughout the jam.

Near the end of the set arrived the first cover of the night in the form of a rightfully version of “Frankenstein” from The Edgar Winter Group. It’s as if Winter had BIG Something in mind when he composed the song, from its instrumentation down to the energy needed to play it live. Three songs later the band would finish their series with yet another classic rock cover, now giving their take on Black Sabbath’s metal stoner anthem, “Sweet Leaf. ”

I can understand BIG Something has been playing more and more festivals on larger stages and even have their own festival in The Big What, as their energy is simply infectious. But seeing them was a treat.

By the time Aqueous took the stage, temperatures out in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood had dropped into the low teens as a fresh coat of snow covered the band’s trailer parked out front. But for men from Buffalo that are accustomed to thawing out fans with their jams, it was business as usual.

The five-piece captured a groove early with “Kitty Chaser” before moving into “Realize Your Light,” a track from their newly released Color Wheel album. But the highlight in the first part of the set belonged to “Warren In The Window”, one of the group ’s vehicles for explorative jamming. After sitting in a pocket groove for around five minutes, guitarist Dave Loss took the reigns as drummer Rob Houk kept up with him the whole time. It was game on from there.

While a few members of Turkuaz took in the series up in the place ’s balcony, it didn’t take long for them to find their way onto the stage. Michelangelo Carubba, a fellow Buffalo native who now resides in Denver, joined the band on drums for a cover of Green Day’ldquo & s;Welcome To Paradise. ” The ’90s hit was played true to form — fast and loudly but featured a short and sweet shake before the verse.

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The power didn’t let up as the band then launched into a more deep jamming the build up and segue into “Mice” from “Don’t Do It. ” At times taking his hands off his bass Evan McPhaden nodded his head as his bandmates exchanged solos throughout the lengthy sequence.

A few songs would see more guests show up to the stage, as two-thirds of BIG Something lent a hand for the Aqueous introduction of Toto’s “Rosanna. ” Loss and MacDaniels since it became clear that the artists were having just as much fun as the fans watching them were, shared vocal harmonies. And if this collaboration was any indication of things to come, the rest of the tour should see a lot more moments and band crossover.


Photo by Tyler Hypnarowski

Following a quick encore break, Aqueous would return to the stage to sandwich in a jam of Randy Newman’s “Small People” in between “Uncle Phil’s Parachute,” an instrumental tune of their own. Dueling jazzy keyboard grooves guitars and some tight improvisation — this chain showcased the Aqueous offers and was a fine way to wrap up a night of music in the Mile High City. With bands such as Big Something and Aqueous leading the charge from the new generation of jam, the future looks bright.


BIG Something

Establish: EWI 4000 > Sundown Nomad, Passenger > Smoke Signal > Tumbleweed, Truth Serum, Wildfire, Saturday Night Zombie > Frankenstein > Pinky’s Ride, UFO’s Are Real > Sweet Leaf


Establish: Kitty Chaser (Explosions), Realize Your Light > Warren from the Window, Welcome to Paradise1, Numbers and Facts, Don’t Do It > Mice > Don’t Do It, Rosanna2 3

Encore: Uncle Phil’s Parachute > Short People4 > Uncle Phil’s Parachute

1 ft Mikey Carrubba of Turkuaz

2, ft Nick MacDaniels, Jesse Hensley, Josh Kagel, Ben Vinogard, and Casey Cranford of BIG Something

3 Toto cover, Aqueous introduction

4 Instrumental

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