Coming soon to a club near Wu |

Coming soon to a club near Wu

Wren Wertin

The Big Wu – that Minneapolis-based jam band that has attained name recognition across the U.S. through an endless tour that began nigh on a decade ago – is stopping the bus in Vail for a show at 8150 tonight. The music begins at 10.

Their latest release is “Folktales,” a studio album 10 tracks strong. Usually described as a rock band, the album travels through a variety of genres, just as their live show does. Straight-up rock blends with ska, funk, pop and even country. The grand finale of the album comes in “Shantytown,” and includes a chorus of 500 chanting as drummer Terry VanDeWalker directed them with a baton. The chorus was culled from a party during the recording sessions.

The lyrical theme of “Folktales” is fun – having fun, making fun, breeding fun. From one track to another, the album is a romp through good times and good people, without being overly obvious.

Despite the fact that they’re known as a jam band, they don’t spin out endless, directionless songs. Many of their musical creations are under four minutes, and have hookiness to spare. Their goal is to send people out into the world with a few songs fit to be sung in a car – or anywhere. In addition to VanDeWalker, The Big Wu includes Andy Miller (bass guitar), Chris Castino (lead guitar) and Al Oikari (keys). They all lend their vocals, too, bringing harmony to melody.

The Big Wu takes their name from that terrible force of nature, the volcano in “Joe vs. the Volcano.” Wu also means uncarved block in Chinese. As for The Big Wu, they are carving their direction in life on a daily basis. They began as strictly a cover band, playing music simply because they enjoyed it. After penning some original tunes, they began working them into their shows. With more than 60 originals in their roster, only the occasional cover creeps in.

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The Big Wu’s big sound can be heard tonight at 8150. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information, call the bar at 479-0607.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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