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SemiGiant brings full rock ‘n’ roll

Kimberly Nicoletti

They Might Be SemiGiants

What: SemiGiant

When: Saturday

Where: Gold Pan Saloon, Breckenridge

BRECKENRIDGE – SemiGiant reached a milestone four months ago when Denver’s 99.5 The Mountain began playing one of its songs in the regular rotation.

The Americana, groove-rock trio formed in January, 2002, and released its self-titled, debut album in February.

The 10-track album showcases the band’s straightforward songwriting and rootsy chord progressions.

But the musicians already notice they’re outgrowing their first album. They recorded the CD hastily, after playing only four or five shows.

Now, after road testing their originals and changing up the feel and arrangements, they’re about to return to the studio.

They’ve written about six new tunes and hope to add a few more to round out an album and release it within a year.

“We’ve been doing a lot of live recordings at gigs, so we get instant feedback and hear what’s good and bad,” said guitarist Scott McNew.

The band draws its song structure and writing from such musicians as Ben Harper and Dave Matthews. From a guitar perspective, McNew fashions his playing around Santana, Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman.

Bassist Todd Richards and drummer Mark Messenger seek out fresh sounds by going to as many live shows as possible. Their latest inspiration comes from the North Mississippi Allstars, with its consistent, upbeat groove.

Though the musicians don’t consider themselves a jam band, they’ve been known to break out of structure.

“We give ourselves a lot of freedom to keep the music changing and allow for moments to open up,” McNew said. “We straddle between being a jam band but also having tight arrangements.

“The show has become more energetic as we’ve had a chance to see people’s reaction – what they like more and what we like more. Our live show is a more energized version of our disk.”

All of the musicians originally hail from Indiana, but only McNew and Richards knew each other before moving to Boulder.

McNew writes most of the songs, or at least brings in ideas.

“I usually come into a practice with pretty rough ideas, and it’s really fun to see the process of what my rough ideas become as we play them in practice and play them live. Where we end up is never where I started the song – it’s always better.”

Bassist Richards has an ear for the overall sound – what should happen and when to smooth out the groove.

“He has a good global scale ear,” McNew said. “And he has good ideas about what material to do.”

And the drummer?

“Mark shines when we’re putting the sounds together in arrangements,” McNew said. “He’s good with the musical transitions.”

SemiGiant takes audiences from whiskey-drenched slide guitar to pulsating rock Saturday at the Gold Pan Saloon in Breckenridge.

The band returns to play Wild Bill’s Pizza Saloon in Dillon Saturday, Jan. 31.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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