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On Saturday February 22nd,  I attended the sold out Royal Rumble 2020: Andy Frasco and the U.N. vs. Big Something at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall.  These are two jam bands that have been on the road together for awhile and Saturday marked the last stop on this incredible tour.  Both bands have a healthy mix of Rock and Roll, Blues, and Soul to them, but each are unique in their own way.  I’d seen Andy Frasco and his band before, but this was my first time experiencing a set from co-headliners Big Something and was excited for the opportunity to finally catch them live.  What took this to a whole new level was the tours unique wrestling theme, which only made the show that much more insane.  Heck, they even had their own championship belts which was totally cool.  I knew Andy’s shows could get wild from previous experiences seeing them on The Rock Boat and at Schuba’s In Chicago,  but this show could potentially take their prescribed mayhem to a whole new level.

For the first time in my almost 40 years on this planet (and going to live shows for a good 25 of them),  I have never seen a rock show opened up by a stand-up comedian.  But in this case,  California based comedian Kyle Ayers kicked off the show and was able to get the crowd pumped up early on.  Kyle has appeared on Conan before and has written for CBS, Comedy Central, and TBS as well as contributed to various roasts over the years.  Combine that with Andy Frasco's crazy and unscripted antics at his shows and Kyle was the perfect fit to open the show.  At one point,  Andy was watching the set from the balcony and Kyle tempted him to crowd surf from the balcony.  He proceeded to jokingly call him a coward just as he began crowd-surfing himself.  From there, Kyle proceeded to give Big Something an introduction that Michael Buffer would be proud of and the show continued on without a hitch.

For those who don'y know, Big Something is an unbelievable “jam band” out of North Carolina.  They have released 5 studio albums but are well know for their high energy live performances (and Saturday's show was no exception).  They have played with well known acts such as The B-52s, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and Umphree’s McGee and from note one failed to disappoint.  High energy and top notch musicianship ruled the set.  Fans knew these two bands were tight, and throughout Big Something's set, many of Frasco's band-members made it to the stage including saxophone player virtuoso Ernie Chang (sporting a Lucha Libre mask to go along with the wrestling theme).   I was thoroughly impressed with Big Something’s set even though I had never heard them before.  They also played a fantastic cover in the middle of their set of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”.  That alone was worth the price of admission.

Next it was time for the main event,  Andy Frasco and the U.N.  Andy is a native Californian and has a deep love for all things music and basketball (as evident from the Lakers Jerseys he frequently sports on stage).  Joined by guitarist Shawn Eckels and Sax player Ernie Chang as well as a revolving cast of musicians from around the world that make up The U.N. part of this band.   Bottom line, this is a group of top notch musicians that doesn’t ever take themselves too seriously.  Their  only goal at lives shows is to make sure the audience is engaged and having an amazing time from start to finish.  If they were ever to make a reboot of “Animal House”, Andy Frasco and the U.N. would be the new Otis Day and the Knights (In fact they even closed the show with “Shout”).

From the opening notes of “Mature as Fuck” to fan favorites such as “Smokin' Dope and Rock n Roll” to covers of the aforementioned “Shout” and even Peter Gabriel’s “ Sledgehammer“,  the crowd went from 0 to 100 mph from and never looked back.  For fans in attendance, there is no workout quite like an Andy Frasco show.  Aside from the amazing musicianship and collaborations between both bands, they engaged fans with a host of shenanigans that had most in attendance smiling ear to ear.  Their hi-jinx included crowd surfing (once even to a basketball hoop that mysteriously appeared in the middle of the crowd for a dunk), sharing the bands trademark bottle of Jameson with their faithful fan up front, an some awesome wrestling mayhem including a table bashed over someone’s head!

I can honestly say I came home from this show happy and exhausted, and this ones gonna stick with me for awhile.  Please keep an eye out for both Andy Frasco and the U.N. and Big Something as they come to a town near you soon.  And take my advice, wear light clothing - you are gonna get sweaty!!!


Setlist:  Big Something

  • The Flood
  • Plug
  • Escape (Intro)
  • Timebomb
  • Pinky’s Ride
  • Kashmir (Led Zeppelin Cover)
  • Megalodon
  • My Volcano


Setlist:  Andy Frasco & The U.N.

  • Mature as Fuck
  • Love is a Waiting Game
  • Keep on Keeping On
  • When You’re Lonely
  • Fool in The Rain (Led Zeppelin Cover)
  • Animals
  • Struggle / Baker Street / I Want You Back / Baby, Take the Day off
  • Smokin Dope and Rock n Roll
  • Ernie Chang!
  • Make it Work
  • What More Can I Say



  • Somedays with Big Dick Nick
  • Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel Cover)
  • Shout! (Otis Day & The Knights Cover)



Chris Moran

Photojournalist - Chicago

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