The Big Bang
@ Brew Bakers & Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues, April 18 & May 6, 1997

Ted Larsen - Fall 1996
Filling in for Larry Hayes of the Lamont Cranston Blues Band
Chicago House Of Blues
Photo © 1996 by Chuck Winans
The Big Bang formed several years ago in the Fargo area under the name The Bad Medicine Blues Band. After moving to the Twin Cities in 1995 with Jonny Lang they have developed a loyal fan base that constantly follows them around. Last fall The Big Bang decided to part ways with Lang and have been performing on their own with a couple of band changes in the process. The current line up features the original members, Ted Larsen on guitar, Michael Rey Larsen on drums and Jeff Hayes on bass. Michael James (Moat) formerly of Off the Hook, joined the group prior to the Roomful of Blues show at Brew Bakers. He brings the added dimension of second guitar and lead vocals to the group as well as some nice song writing.

I have been impressed with this band since I first saw them play at the Minnesota Zoo in 1995 opening for Tab Benoit. I remember Jeff coming out to sit in the audience after their opening set to watch Tab's performance. He has always been very friendly, open and accessible. It is also hard not to notice Jeff on stage. His exuberant bass playing is often accompanied by his leg kicks, jumping and forays into the audience as he did at the Famous Dave's show. When Jeff gets warmed up, which doesn't take much, he is a riot to watch on stage slinging his stand up base around.

The defining element about having Jeff in the band though is his excellent song writing ability. One of the first songs I heard the band do of his was Love Me Tonight. This is one of the better rhythm and blues songs I have heard in some time and I always look forward to hearing it. Jonny Lang does this song now at every one of his shows. I hope The Big Bang decides to record it.

Another new song of Jeff's that I first heard at the Brew Baker show was Juke Joint Jenny which has the catchy lyric, "keep your eye on your wallet and both hands on your heart." This is a rockin' song with Ted adding some tasty Chuck Berry type guitar riffs. Another new song heard at the Famous Dave's show, My Whole Life Is A Tragedy, is a fun up-tempo song with a definite rockabilly flavor to it. At the recent Famous Dave's show Matt Darling of Wallace Hartley and the Titanics joined in on trombone for a few songs that added a nice touch to their music.

A special treat in a Big Bang show is watching Ted Larsen play guitar. Ted is a master technician. He has such a clean touch on the guitar. No matter what he is playing you always know it is being done with impeccable taste and superb proficiency. He just has one of the nicest touches on blues guitar in the Twin Cities. Ted also has a good voice and I look forward to more singing from him in the future.

The band is currently recording their new album called Easy that should be ready for release near the end of July. There are still copies of their first album, Smokin', around town too. They have an active schedule so you can catch them in the area any week this summer.

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Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles
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