at Farmer Phil's 2018
a review and interview by Tony Krimzon
As their name would suggest, Big Feat,
a 5-piece band from Swansea in Wales, style their sound on that of Little Feat, an enormously popular country rock band of the 1970's.
Rhys John - Vocals/Guitars, Ross Bullitt - Vocals/Guitars/Strings
Dai C. Thomas - Vocals/Bass/Guitars, Jamie Williams - Drums
Pete Thomas - Vocals/Piano/Organ/Everything Else
I was some distance away as Big Feat began their set but immediately, the sound of toe-tapping funky country/rock compelled me, in Pied Piper fashion, to follow it to its' source. The Woodland Stage was their platform and the already gathering audience was pressing forward, eager to witness and nod heads in time with Big Feat's well-manicured offering. For a relatively new band, (less than three years together as Big Feat), they were funkin' good !!
Comprising mainly self-written songs, the set progressed through song after song of tight, punchy playing and strong vocals, the appreciative crowd swelled then bobbed and swayed in unison.
Said Rhys, lead vocalist and guitarist, "Currently our show is mostly songs that we’ve written and arranged ourselves. We put a lot of effort into song craft and continually improving how we deliver our songs live - though we do try to include some choice covers to prick up the ears of any fellow rock nerds in the audience! One favourite that we include regularly is Razorblades & Rattlesnakes (a Deke Leonard song from 1972), we learned it for Deke’s memorial gig and we take it with us wherever we go now".
Little Feat is an obvious influence on the band's overall sound, but there is a lot more going on than that.
Rhys, " Both individually and as a band we have some influences which I think have been quite important in informing our sound; The Band, Free, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have all had a big influence on us. The effect of John Bonham’s drumming style on the way Jamie plays is readily apparent, as is the deep love that Ross has for the music of the Allman Brothers apparent in his style of guitar playing both with and without the slide, to give you some examples".
From the middle of the swaying and bobbing crowd it was impossible to see anyone not dancing.
"Yes, it was our first Farmer Phil’s - we had a wonderful time. We really felt that the event staff and festival goers made us feel a part of the good vibes that pervade the event, and we were very excited to get involved and put on our best show come 11:30 on the Saturday night. It’s a wonderful festival, very music-centric, and we would love to visit again".
At any music event, the quality of the sound is of prime importance. The sound guys did an immense job of helping all performers sound brilliant.
"Yeah we agree Tony. We managed to see Dan Owen on the main stage and Vojta on the Woodland stage and both sounded amazing"
On returning from the best ever Farmer Phil's I trolled the internet for more information and discovered that Big Feat have two, 3-track EP's to their credit. I asked Rhys about songwriting influences and future recording plans.
"We dip into listening to new and old records all the time, and it’s fun to see how listening to new things will colour our songwriting; one of the crowd favourites from our live set (yet to be recorded) came out of a period where the whole band was delving into listening to The Alan Parsons Project, for example. In terms of contemporary bands who inform what we do, the precedent set by bands like Blackberry Smoke and King King in terms of what can be achieved in a live show cannot be overstated - watching those bands has had a big effect on us. We’ve spent all year recording all of our live output at gigs across the country using some nifty tech which allows us to take really nice live drum recordings in the room. We like to get out and play shows rather than endlessly pore over studio production, so it’s nice for that to be an option. We’ll be doing some more recordings of that sort in the Autumn with a view to putting it all together and getting a live EP out before the end of the year. We often get asked about a full album - it is coming at some point - but that’s something we really want to get right and commit the proper time and resources to. The good news is that we have lots of content ready for folks who have bought the first two EPs and are hungry for some more music to listen to in the car or at home".
I really enjoyed bopping to this funky band and it would be awesome to see Big Feat back in Shrewsbury again really soon.
"Shropshire is a great place to come for a gig as there seem to be lots of people hungry for quality live music, and something new and original too."
Well structured songs, tight performance, punchy sound. Funkin' fab!
Video by Tony Krimzon