Whet your appetite for Big Tasty | VailDaily.com

Whet your appetite for Big Tasty

Kimberly Nicoletti
Special to the DailyFrom left, Casey O'Brien, Graham O'Brien, Marcus Schmid and Eric Delaney of Big Tasty serve up a hefty portion of funky rock today at Half Moon Saloon in West Vail at 10 p.m.

Big Tasty has been sating hungry fans since 1999 with its hard-driving improvisational rock ‘n’ roll. The band has opened for Widespread Panic, Leftover Salmon and the Radiators, among others. After releasing its debut album, “Feeding Frenzy,” in 2001, Big Tasty left its weekly gig in Minneapolis to tour nationwide.

Though not fond of the label “jam band,” the musicians serve up a steady diet of jam rock with a side of jazzy, funky overtones.

“The reason I do like jam band music is because it’s esoteric,” bassist Casey O’Brien said. “(Our sound) is an audio assault. We’re trying to come into your town and tear your ears off. It’s a dense mix. Everyone’s getting everything out.”

“It’s a mix of funk and rock,” drummer Graham O’Brien said. “We try to rely on dynamics – different sections of songs with a lot of building up – to get the crowd moving. It’s dance-oriented music, but it’s still highly improvisational.”

Over the past three years, the members have become more comfortable with each other, allowing for an open exchange of ideas.

“Our music is getting a little darker, bolder, better,” Casey O’Brien said. “A human life is not always something that’s happy. It’s life; it just is.”

With its darker tone comes a more hard-driving sound than the band laid down in “Feeding Frenzy.”

“It’s more in your face,” Graham O’Brien said. “The type of feel that the rhythm section has is more simplistic and hard driving.”

Graham, Casey’s little brother, joined the band three months ago when he took a semester off from Columbia College in Chicago (where he studied jazz drumming), and his brother invited him to tour with the band. He folds jazz and funk into the mix, spicing it up with John Bonham chops at crucial moments.

While most bass players anchor their bands, Casey steps to the forefront, soloing nearly the entire time while blending in with the jam. Keyboardist Marcus Schmid mixes in funk and country, with a definitive Southern feel, while guitarist Eric Delaney pumps up the volume.

“When Eric solos, that’s when the energy’s going to be the highest, and that’s when we’re really going to let it out,” Graham said. “We want everyone in the bar to be dancing. That’s our goal.”

Big Tasty serves up a jammin’ feast at 10 p.m. today at the Half Moon Saloon in West Vail. It’s a free show.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

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