The Big Bang
@ Bunkers, September 20, 1997
By Deb Brunsberg

Ted Larsen, Bernard Allison, Jeff Hayes
Bunkers - 9/20/97
Photo © 1997 Deb Brunsberg
If any of you Minneapolis residents felt something akin to earthquake tremors on Saturday night, September 20th, rest assured, it was not a geological phenomenon. It was The Big Bang CD release party letting loose at Bunkers.

The Big Bang performed a fiery three sets to a full bar of party participants in celebration of their new release "Easy." The CD, chockfull of original tunes and a few covers, is much like their live show in that the band members share the song writing, singing and musical leads. It is not all that often that you find a band whose members exhibit such a wide variety of talents.

The night was filled with fun and surprises. Andy Bailey, the well known keyboard player who contributed his musical gift to the bandís CD, also sang vocals on a song I will call "Mississippi Riverboy" only because I was not able to get the official title. His spirited playing and singing took us all along for a ride down the Mississippi to New Orleans. It was a fun ride and I hope he continues to lend his talents to the band.

Larsen, Michael Larsen, Allison, Hayes
Bunkers - 9/20/97
Photo © 1997 Laura Merkle
An unexpected but incredibly great surprise was the presence in the audience of Bernard Allison. Bernard was in town getting ready for his American tour. Sorry folks, he wonít be performing here until next summer. Michael James graciously gave up his guitar sometime in the middle of the show to Allison for two songs. Allison played lead on the much loved Stevie Ray song "Pride ní Joy" and also on "Driving Wheel." Ted "Lightning Boy" Larsen and Allison, traded licks with an impressive display. They let their guitars do their talking for them. The crowd loved it and if I was forced to compare, I would have to say that not only did Larsen give Allison a run for his money, he may have run right on by him.

The most integral part of this band is the sheer enthusiasm in which they play every song. The dynamics of the group is a joy to watch. Ted Larsen on lead guitar has a touch so light that you have to wonder if he is even touching the strings. He can evoke great emotions from a simple guitar solo and also blast you from your seat in a manner befitting the greatest rockers. He is truly one of the finest guitar players that I have ever seen. Ted has contributed his original song writing and vocals to the CD and has lately added his singing abilities to the shows. Michael Rey Larsen, the drum master, plays with skill and joy. His range and his tight execution on all songs keeps the members together and always reminds you of how important a talented drummer is to the success of any band. The new CD features one of his original songs and I keep waiting for him once again to grace us with his vocals. Jeff Hayes, bass player extaordinaire -- if he could bottle and market the energy he produces on stage we could be assured of never facing another energy crisis. He plays every song like it is the song he has waited his entire life to play and his execution is flawless. He is on my top ten list of songwriters and every time he comes out with a new one, I swear it is my new favorite song. Michael James (formerly Moat) is the newest member of the band. He joined the band this past summer and is making his presence known. As an accomplished guitarist and vocalist he complements the band in so many ways -- it feels like he has been playing with them since their inception. Michael and Ted trade off rhythm and lead guitar and both always exceed my expectations on their solo work.

The show ended with Ted handing off his guitar to Allison to close the show. This was an evening of impressive music and a major dose of fun. I highly recommend The Big Bangís live performances and their new CD "Easy" if you are looking for some great blues.

See another review of a Big Bang show.

See review of their new CD "Easy."

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Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles
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