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Tool for Evening

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Album Review

Although the Big Wu fit the jam band stereotype to a certain degree, their playful and rootsy attitude has more in common with the likes of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen or even the sainted NRBQ than with the flaccid white-boy wiggle of the legions of Phish imitators. Kicking off with the rollicking, piano-driven jump blues of "Texas Fireball," Tool for Evening consists almost entirely of concise and catchy pop songs rather than lengthy frameworks for expanded noodly solos. Although the quartet can vamp with the best of the jam bands (as shown on the centerpiece "Jazz 88," one of only two tracks to break the six-minute barrier), they wisely focus their energy here on creating memorable hooks and singalong choruses, as on the countrified "Stole My Girlfriend" and the particularly NRBQ-like "Dog's Dead." Guitarist and co-lead singer Jason Fladager quit the band before the writing and recording of this album; what relation there might be between his departure and the Big Wu's newfound focus on their always evident pop skills is unclear, but it must be said that Tool for Evening is the Big Wu's best studio album by some distance.

Customer Reviews

Wu's your daddy?!

Great album! One of my favorites and starts with an amazing version of Texas fireball, a must have for music lovers of all ages!

Wu let the dog

This album is a gem. Of all the Wu's albums this is definitely my favorite. The keyboard work is brilliant and the production and songwriting is far superior to their previous albums. The Big Wu is a sadly overlooked band that should have had their time on the national platform.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jam band the Big Wu formed on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN in 1992 around the nucleus of singer/guitarist Chris Castino, guitarist Jason Fladager and drummer Terry VanDeWalker. Channeling a wide range of influences including bluegrass, rock, jazz, psychedelia and R&B, the group built a strong local following thanks to a rigorous live schedule, adding bassist Andy Miller in 1995 and keyboardist Al Oikari a year later. In early 1996 the Big Wu also landed their first weekly gig...
Full Bio
Tool for Evening, The Big Wu
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