Hip-hop blues and your requests by G. Love & Special Sauce at Belly Up Aspen
If You Go …
Who: G. Love & Special Sauce
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Wednesday, Feb. 17, 8:30 p.m.
How much: $33/GA; $65 reserved
Tickets: Belly Up box office; http://www.bellyupaspen.com
G. Love and Special Sauce are bringing a hard-charging new blues album and a fan-curated set to Belly Up tonight.
The Philadelphia-based band will open the show by playing the new record, “Love Saves the Day,” from start to finish. After a break, the second set is slated as an all-request affair — with a set list based on fan submissions from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Predictably, those requests include G. Love’s tried and true hits, like “Baby’s Got Sauce” and “Cold Beverages,” but the hardcore G. Lovers also have been calling for rarities and b-sides so far on the winter tour.
“It’s taking us out of our normal go-to sets and digging a little deeper into the catalog for fans who want to hear some of their more obscure favorites,” G. Love said recently from a tour stop in Santa Barbara, California, “It’s been pushing us.”
After an eight-year break from recording together and a run of solo discs and tours, G. Love reunited with Special Sauce (drummer Jeffrey Clemens and bassist Jim Prescott) for 2014’s “Sugar.” Soon after, the band made “Love Saves the Day,” which came out in the fall. It showcases the band on the grittier, harder rocking side of its trademark hip-hop blues sound and working with guest collaborators on six of the 12 tracks — highlights include Citizen Cope (on “Muse”), Lucinda Williams (on a cover of Leadbelly’s “New York City”) and Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo (on the roaring title track).
“Our music is rooted in the Delta blues,” G. Love said. “And if you keep pushing the blues, you’re going to end up on the rock ’n’ roll side of town, and I feel like this is our most rocking record.”
After beginning their career during the music industry’s booming 1990s and weathering its economic hollowing out in the new millennium, G. Love said the band works smarter and cheaper now. And maybe with better results.
“In the ’90s, we’d get a budget for like $300,000 and the record company would want you to spend it all,” he recalled. “Now we have a much smaller budget, more like $30,000, and instead of six months we have six days or 10 days.”
For a record like “Love Saves the Day,” the band still puts in months of rehearsal so they can be efficient in the studio.
“Honestly I feel like we make records better this way,” he said. “I wish we’d done it all along because I would be a millionaire with all the money we saved.”
G. Love and Special Sauce have been regulars in Aspen since early on in the band’s 24-year touring career, with performances at the old Howling Wolf, Jazz Aspen festivals and — over the past decade — they’ve been regulars at Belly Up, where they sold out a show most recently last summer.
“It’s just a great place,” G. Love said. “It feels like home, it’s a great crowd and Belly Up is an intimate room, a great room — a perfect room for us. People like to party there and we like to party there, too.”
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