Two nights of G. Love & Special Sauce at Belly Up Aspen
IF YOU GO …
Who: G. Love & Special Sauce
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Friday, March 29 & Saturday, March 30 8:45 p.m.
How much: $35-$85; a “Pre-Show Pop Off” that includes a Q&A at soundcheck, group photo and autographs is sold out
Tickets: Belly Up box office; www.bellyupaspen.com
G. Love and Special Sauce’s 25th anniversary tour has been going well enough that it’s extended well into the band’s 26th year and is now making its second stop in Aspen.
The beloved Philadelphia-based blues and hip-hop trio brings its “Sauce Tour” to Belly Up tonight and Saturday. It will be among the last chances for G. Love’s devoted fan-base to see him with the band for a while, however, as the two-show Aspen run is among their final performances before G. (Garrett Dutton) heads out on a summer-long solo tour with Blues Traveler and Moe.
G. Love and Special Sauce have been regulars in Aspen for nearly its entire quarter-century existence, with early gigs at the old Howling Wolf, then at Jazz Aspen festivals and, over the past 12 years, Belly Up has regularly hosted solo spots from G. Love and sets from the full band.
“It’s just a great place,” Dutton said during one of those recent stops. “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.”
It’s hard to imagine as the anniversary tour rolls on, but not so long ago G. Love spent eight years without Special Sauce.
The band that produced the genre-smashing and enduring 1990s hits “Cold Beverage,” “Baby’s Got Sauce” and “Stepping Stones” split from recording together as Dutton focused on a string of solo discs and tours. They reunited for 2014’s “Sugar” and soon after made “Love Saves the Day” to showcase the band’s grittier, harder rocking side of its trademark 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 during one of the band’s regular stops in Aspen. “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.”
Beginning their career during the recording industry’s boom time and weathering its digital reckoning in the new millennium, G. Love said the band works smarter and cheaper now. And maybe, he suggested, 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.”
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