Big Up back with a new sax player, modified sound for Tuesday shows 

Big Up
  • Big Up

Who: Big Up

Where : Garfinkel’s

When: Tuesdays

Local music meisters Big Up get mid-week music shakin’ with live performance at Garfinkel’s every Tuesday, from Jan. 15.

While Big Up has played monthly gigs at Dusty’s at Creekside, they were interested in more consistent performance.

"There has really been a scarcity of live music through the winter, especially for locals during the mid-week times, so we approached Garfinkel’s about changing that," says Robbie Demarco, former member of roots-reggae band One (of Wide Load fame).

One’s 1991 debut, A Matter of Truth, and 1993’s Smokin’ the Goats culminated in their 1994 Juno nomination for Best Reggae Performance. One’s singles are still heard from Whistler to AJ’s Bar in Kingston, Ontario.

"With this band, the creative element for me is really in the writing and producing, behind the scenes," says Demarco.

"We’ve been looking to play more and drink some free beer, and they’ve got a great sound system in place at Garf’s."

Big Up’s 2001 debut EP has seven songs, a combination of originals like Days Gone By and covers like Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now. Covers you can expect at the Tuesday shows include the gamut from Findlay Quaye’s Sun is Shining, songs from Sublime, and Hotel California.

Chris Gangelhoff joins Big Up as the new saxophonist, in from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Big Up lineup is Guitar Doug Craig on guitar (duh) and vocals. Demarco brings the same combination of guitar and vocals. Dave McPeak keeps the beat on bass, and Brad White pounds on the drums.

Band members bring a cross-section of musical experience to the stage. Doug plays solo, and with the Hairfarmers and Skydog. McPeak took part in the Trading Secrets musical performance on Nov. 30, and jams with additional local musicians.

Currently the band is completing a new album.

"We’ll take it as it comes, and we’re continually recording at Black Tusk studios. After the album is completed, we’ll head to the Gulf Islands," Demarco adds.

"We’re placing less emphasis on the horns, which give the music a different feel and look (compared) to the ska feel of bands like the Skatellites," he says.

Ska music borrows both from jazz and rhythm and blues, harkening back to the ’60s, and can include heavy or lighter horns and percussion sections.

Big Up grew naturally out of the band’s Whistler roots.

"Once I moved here from Toronto years ago, we were friends with members of the Hopping Penguins and at that time I was in a band called Woebegone. I met with Doug about putting together a ska and reggae outfit, and Big Up was created," he says.

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