Before Big Head Todd and the Monsters take the Saltair stage Monday, May 8, two interesting and vastly different bands will try their hands at entertaining Utah.
Headlining with Big Head is the Dave Matthews Band, and the Boxing Gandhis will have the first crack at warming audiences. The music will begin at 7 p.m.Matthews and Todd have been connected since January, when they hit the road together to canvas North America. It has been a quick rise for the Matthews band, which released its first record "Remember Two Things," in November of '93 on the independent label Bama Rags Records. The band makes up the label's owners, employees and only artists but has their original disc has still managed to sell 170,000 copies to date.
Not surprisingly, it landed them a record deal with RCA that quickly led to a second release "Under the Table and Dreaming," which has managed a healthy 700,000 units sold.
But the quintet didn't come to success all at once.
"I don't feel like we've had this drastic, overnight success," Matthews said, "It's been a very natural, low-key progression."
While Matthew's music may qualify as rock, it is difficult to define because the band doesn't limit itself to one sound or influence. While Matthews plays acoustic guitar and sings lead, his band-mates employ a variety of instruments to create their unique blend.
Leroi Moore employs an alto, tenor or soprano sax at different times as well as his own voice and a flute. They also use violins a bass and various percussion instruments.
Before Matthews ever turns on an amp, the Boxing Gandhis will start their parade on the stage. Six men and a women make up this sizable troupe of funk-rock by committee. They use three lead singers (usually at different times) and occasional five-part harmonies to complement their saxophones and varieties of basses.
None of the band members comes from India, but they do some politicking on their self-titled debut. Their album starts off with environmentally sensitive "If You Love Me (Why Am I Dying)," written from Mother Nature's point of view. They throw in peace-promoting "Speak As One," and a mix of fun and personal tales that keeps their political messages from getting too heavy-handed. The Gandhis insist that there is no preaching in their music, only inspiration.
David Darling founded the Gandhis, adding his wife, Brie, and creating what they call a musical family that is adamant about playing the music they want to play. They passed up a number of record contracts because they wouldn't compromise their music.
"We had one person who wanted us to come up with a different racial mix, one who wanted us to use electric instruments, one who wanted fewer singers and another who wanted more singers," said Darling. "We said `Forget it' and just kept doing what we were doing because it was the way we liked it."