G. Love & Special Sauce return to Belly Up Aspen
If You Go…
Who: G. Love & Special Sauce
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Thursday, March 30, 9 p.m.
How much: $35-$65
Tickets: Belly Up box office; www.bellyupaspen.com
G. Love and Special Sauce are bringing its hard-charging blues back to Belly Up in Thursday.
Last winter, the Philadelphia-based band opened a local show show by playing its entire new record, “Love Saves the Day,” from start to finish. After a break, their second set was an all-request affair — with a set list based on fan submissions from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The all-requests tour included G. Love’s tried and true hits, like “Baby’s Got Sauce” and “Cold Beverages,” but the hardcore G. Lovers also called for rarities and b-sides.
“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 told the Aspen Times before that 2016 show. “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 of 2015. 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 25-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’ll host a sold-out pre-show meet-and-greet with fans on Thursday.
“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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