Last Night: Big Bang Radio Record Release Party

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Guess what her favorite band is.

Big Bang Radio

Swampgrass Willy's

December 15, 2007

Saturday seemed like it was a day of Big Bangs. South Florida's hard rock juggernaut, Big Bang Radio, played three shows within a 10-hour span to celebrate the release of their debut album, To Mars from Babylon.

While I couldn't catch their first couple of gigs, their last set was said to be their finest and took place just before midnight way the fuck up North in Palm Beach Gardens. You know that you're pretty far North when you see signs off of I-95 that say: South to West Palm Beach. Yet despite the trek, the sounds pouring out of the speakers last night were well worth the drive.

The Orlando-based band, Lighter Exchange, were on stage wailing away when I walked in the venue around 11:30 p.m. and were keeping everyone in good spirits. Lead singer Christian Wilson's flowing locks and powerful voice made for a good show and if it weren't for this being another bands album release party, most folks at Willy's would have been glad to see Lighter Exchange close out the night. It was, however, the night of Big Bang and almost everyone in attendance was there in support of their hometown homeboys.

Lead singer Mike Sanchez started out the night with a birthday toast to the band's bassist, Mike B, who turned 26 at midnight. Considering the band was dealing with their album release party, having played 3 gigs in 10 hours, and a birthday all in the same night, you can imagine the jovial (drunken) atmosphere inside of the bar as the clock struck 12. When the band finally got revved up, they kicked out song after song from their new album and not surprisingly, most folks in the audience knew all the lyrics word by word.

Songs like, "Shallow" and "Radio" seemed to compete with each other for which should/could be released as the band's first single. Both are radio-friendly and full of the hard rock meets pop-rock sensibilities that record companies and radio stations tend to eat up these days. You don't get the impression that BBR is out to sonically schmooze their way into a record deal, however, but rather they've got the natural sound which should help transcend them from local to global by this time next year.

Toward the end of the night, the shots and beers started catching up with Sanchez who kicked over his Stella beer into the audience by mistake, then started tipping over the microphone stand and needed to balance himself a bit. But it was a celebration and nobody seemed to care. By the time they jumped into a few Bon Jovi covers everybody was drunk enough to journey back to 1986 and remember a band that had the ability to crank out hits, look good, sound good, and had just barely gone from New Jersey homeboys to a global rock phenomenon in a relatively short amount of time. After leaving, I couldn't help but wonder if To Mars from Babylon would do the same for Big Bang Radio.

Critics Notebook

Personal Bias: I'm a fan of any lead singer that's got the perfect blend of ego and hunger that's required of anyone fronting a rock band and Mike Sanchez has got it.

Random Detail: The group's producer, Bob Rosa, was on hand with his wife and got numerous, well-deserved, shout-out's from the band on producing a solid album.

By the Way: Check-out www.bbrmusic.com to hear more about the band.

-- Jonathan Cunningham

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