Two Nights of The Big Wu

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words By Brian Rempel (
Photos By Jhonette Perdue (

Celebrating their 20th anniversary, The Big Wu brought a powerful and exciting weekend of great music to Denver. Personally, I hadn’t seen the band live before this weekend, however, musically speaking, they were everything I had imagined and more. Hailing from Northfield, Minnesota, The Big Wu has had a large following in Colorado for years which continues today. Opening the night at Quixote’s was Colorado favorite, Whiskey Tango. The band put on an energetic bluegrass set as always which prepared the anticipatory crowd for the rest of the night. In the back room the bluegrass vibe continued with two sets by The Henhouse Prowlers, who showed their amazing talent with some great down-home music. As the first set was winding down, I made my way to the main stage for The Big Wu.

As the band stepped onto the stage, the energy in the venue was electric. The crowd was ready for the return of The Wu in a big way. The band looked eager and ready to rock the house as they opened up with a great rendition of "Rhode Island Red" which fit nicely with the bluegrass theme of the opening bands. The first set progressed into some great Big Wu classics like "Bloodhound" and a solid version of "Oxygen" which segued seamlessly into "Midnight Rudy." "Gibson Girl" featured some outstanding slide guitar work by keyboardist Al Oikari, as well as an organ solo that made sure that everyone in the venue was dancing.

The crowd was soaking up every bit of energy the band was releasing as the set progressed into a funky cover of the Beatles’ classic "We Can Work It Out." As the opening notes of "Save Our Ship" rang out, we knew we were in for a treat, and we were right. The band wound down the first set with "Johnny Too Bad" and a spirited rendition of "Texas Fireball."

The second set began with the old favorite "Break Of Day" which segued nicely into a great version of Pink Floyd’s "Time." The band’s playing was as tight as ever as the set continued with the Big Wu classic, "Shantytown." The second set also included some tasty Dead related treats with covers of "They Love Each Other, La Bamba > Good Lovin’," and a great version of "U.S. Blues" that had the whole venue singing along. The show ended with a 17 minute "Southern Energy" that featured some excellent guitar work by Mark Grundhoeffer and Chris Castino. All in all, an excellent show for my first time experiencing The Big Wu live. I was anxious to see Saturday night’s show, and was not disappointed.

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