When: Thu., Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. 2012
What's so big about Giant Giant Sand? Ten years ago at the Abbey Pub, Howe Gelb fronted a band bigger than the one he'll lead tonight, and it was just called Giant Sand. The difference lies in the level of ambition: the ensemble he assembled in 2002 just wanted to blow some desert dust up the skirts of chestnuts by the likes of Sonny Bono and Black Sabbath, while the current Danish/American septet, with Gelb and four other members sharing lead vocals, will perform original material from a full-blown country-rock opera. Tucson (Fire Records) describes one man's struggles with responsibility and loss, and the way love and a sense of home carry him through. These themes have been recurrent features of Gelb's music ever since Giant Sand's greatest album, 2000's Chore of Enchantment (Thrill Jockey), as have the styles he employs on Tucson—beefy rock, Peggy Lee-like ballads, psychedelic cumbias. But he's never strung together such an expansive narrative. —Bill Meyer The Old Ceremony opens.