Local band Big Wheel Stunt Show poised for the big time
THE NEWS TRIBUNE
Everything is falling into place for Big Wheel Stunt Show, the old-school power trio poised to become Tacoma’s hottest rock band with the release of its second album, “Cheetah Milque,” this weekend.
The band – singer-guitarist Evan Nagle, singer-drummer Justin Gimse and bassist Jake Melius – will unleash the new tunes on T-town Saturday with a CD release party at New Frontier Lounge.
But the trio has been building its cult since August 2009, blowing the doors off of Puget Sound venues with dynamic live shows and a soulful, pyroclastic sound that channels the heaviest rock sounds of 1968. Think the Who, Cream, Led Zeppelin.
“They’re the real deal,” raved Jason Flom, guitarist for local rock band Legend of Bigfoot. “There’s nothing fake about ’em, and they’re kind of a throwback band. (Seeing them) must have been what it was like to walk into a club in the mid to late ’60s to see the MC5, or maybe even the mid-’70s and seein’ Van Halen. Watchin’ Evan must be what it felt like watching Eddie Van Halen in 1975.”
“Their style is obviously a heavily ’70s-influenced free-form kind of style,” weighed in Jeff Hamel, singer-guitarist for Puyallup-based classic rock band Sweet Kiss Momma, an act that’s shared several bills with Big Wheel Stunt Show. “Evan squeezes some really incredible solos into their songs. I think each show is different because of it. They’re a band you can see more than once and still enjoy.”
A lot of the band’s appeal does stem from Nagle’s guitar heroics and spontaneous showmanship.
Be ready to snatch your pint glass out of the way on Saturday as he races down the bar, tearing into his raunchiest guitar solo.
“If I’m watchin’ a band and the guys come out and rock in my face and they can tell I’m feelin’ it, then we can basically feel it together and we’re both part of that show,” Nagle said, explaining his inspirations last week at the New Frontier. “It’s that energy workin’ together.”
“I’ve seen him climb all over things during shows while still playin’, jumpin’ all over things,” remarked band mate Gimse.
“He’s been on the bar here a few times. When I see this guy, he takes me back to the early ’90s (with) dudes on stage jumpin’ into the crowd and they’re still playin’. I didn’t know that was in ’em when I joined the band. Then suddenly it was – pow! – It’s like that? OK, awesome! ”
But the thing that has taken Big Wheel Stunt Show’s game to the next level has been the addition of Melius, who joined after his previous band, State of Murdoch, broke up six months ago.
The bad news for Big Wheel Stunt Show was that they lost “Bounty Hunter” and other set staples with the departure of previous bassist Stunt Show Mike. But the good news was that Melius’ melodic, jammy style of playing (he idolizes late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton) meshes better with Big Wheel’s classic rock aesthetic.
“He’s the best bass player around,” Nagle said. “Justin and I knew that. We had a great bass player at the time, but ... it’s like something sparked as soon as we got together with Jake.
“There’s always a new spark every couple of months. And we’re just like brothers, man.”
“We don’t play as many punk-type tunes any more,” Gimse added. “We like playing punk. But suddenly there’s new parts in the engine. It’s like, ‘Hey, this thing’s running differently. We can take this around for a stroll and into the back roads and see where it takes us.’
“We’ve stepped into a little more blues feel,” he added. “So we’re not reinventing the wheel – just sliced bread, puttin’ some butter on it.”
Check out the full video interview with Big Wheel Stunt Show along with clips from an intimate performance that followed a photo shoot at Supernova Hair Salon last weekend at blog.the newstribune.com/tacoma
• The inaugural 253 Heart festival took place last October, and now organizers have moved the event to February in hopes of gaining better traction.
It should be a hit with a lineup that will bring local favorites Roman Holiday, Quincy “Q. Dot” Henry, the Fun Police, Perry Acker, Sweet Kiss Momma, Jim Basnight and more to the Harmon Hub, the Harmon Tap Room, the Hub Performance Space, and Doyle’s Public House today through Sunday.
Proceeds will benefit Gig Harbor public radio station KGHP-FM.
Check Tacoma Rock City for the full schedule.
• Brave New World will host a concert in honor of Black History Month at 6:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., in Tacoma.
The event will pay homage to African American musicians in rock, R&B, soul and hip-hop from the years 1950 to 2000 and include performances by headliner Shyan Selah & The Republic of Sound, In All Honesty, Zhane Juniea, Chloey Wilson and more.
Tickets are $10 to $20. Call 206-707-1378 or go to www.bnwglobal.com
for more information.
Ernest Jasmin: 253-274-7389, email@example.com