Larger than Life: Hyde Park rockers Large and Lovely bring their bold sound to Go-Go Town

Large and Lovely, courtesy of the artist
A quality name is necessary for jump-starting a band, but how do you find the right one? In the case of Hyde Park’s “Large and Lovely,” inspiration struck in the form of an advertisement for plus-size phone sex operators. The band has attracted an audience that goes well beyond the horny, lonely, and middle-aged, and much of it is sure to be in attendance at their January 23 show at the group’s Bridgeport loft Go-Go Town.

The members of Large and Lovely don’t shrink from their tongue-in-cheek title. Guitarist Danny Schwartz, for instance, explains the band’s ambition to recruit women from the ad as backup dancers. But his bandmates also describe their name as a reaction to the anemic state of rock. Drummer Steve Wieschowski clarifies, “A lot of rock these days is in this lo-fi, rough style–it really sounds like shit you do in high school in your garage.” Bassist Dave McQuown adds, archly, “There’s just not enough music with balls, force, or ‘rockness.’” The group spent its first six months jamming at parties in Hyde Park, and even recorded a set for WHPK’s Friday night Pure Hype live show–although McQuown ruefully concedes that the CD they got back from the radio recording was “pretty terrible.”

That’s not to say that Large and Lovely, now in its second year, is a band of amateurs. All three members played in bands previously, and were brought together by a shared interest in rock and blues. However, their musical influences are diverse. McQuown admits an appreciation for everything from “fist pumping stuff…‘70s tight pants bands” to John Coltrane and African dance music of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Wieschowski notes, “I love Black Sabbath–really, I love anything with complex drumming, not just four-upbeat or something like that,” while Schwartz expresses a particular appreciation for notoriously heavy noise-rockers the Melvins, as well as “more brooding stuff.” That combination results in a distinctive style that the trio jokingly describes as “big black sex rock” and, more seriously, says is “born of rock, metal, jazz, blues, and funk.” They’ve also moved away from jamming live, though McQuown remarks, “We have songs that were written two years ago, and we have songs we wrote four days ago.” He adds, “The newer songs are definitely…funkier…and we’re much more tighter.” The goal for Friday’s show? Get the place “crawling to the walls, and people coming by to say they digged it.”

Also on the funk path are Hyde Park’s Lifestyle Choices, inspired by Neil Young, funk and reggae. The energetic quartet of Alex Yablon, Seth Samelson, Dave Reese, and Brad DuBois allegedly came into being after Brad’s defeat in a drinking contest, though he feels no ill-will–probably because the story is merely a myth DuBois made up to cover up the band’s otherwise ho-hum beginnings. Not that he needs the incentive to play. “I’ve learned to play fast, to be very creative, and to play loud,” DuBois remarks. “I really like drumming, and I’ll do it in whatever group I can get into.”

DuBois is a familiar face on the Hyde Park scene; he also drums for the show’s headliners, the Butts, another local staple. Between these three honed acts, as well as opener Puking Pearls, it should be a noisy night in Bridgeport.

Go-Go Town, 3117 S Morgan St. Friday, January 23. 9pm. (773)301-4425. Donation suggested.

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