The sun sets on Big Sky

By Brett Roegiers

The members of the long-time local band Big Sky have decided to split up after 12 years, six albums and more than 35,000 record sales. Sounds impressive.

I have seen plenty of posters and flyers for Big Sky in record stores and on bulletin boards around Gainesville in the past, but never got around to checking them out. Looks like this was going to be my last chance.

They performed the first of two farewell shows Friday night at Common Grounds with Bloom and Biirdie, and I decided to give them a shot and see what they were all about.

Needless to say, they have built a considerable following over the years. There were more than 300 people of all ages in attendance, and the venue was filled with friends, relatives, long-time fans and curious newcomers. I fell into the latter category.

“This is a very bittersweet weekend for us,” lead singer Mark Gaignard told the crowd. “Thank you for the support.”

All night there was an undeniable feel-good atmosphere, and everywhere I looked there was someone smiling, dancing or singing along.

The music was tight and polished radio-friendly rock ‘n’ roll, complete with memorable hooks and an energetic lead singer. As I expected, it wasn’t really my cup of tea, but they are definitely good at what they do, and I respect that.

On a few songs, Big Sky was accompanied by their former saxophone player, Dave Kurzman. Biirdie’s Jared Flamm also joined the band on stage for a song.

Big Sky said their last goodbyes to Gainesville, for now at least, at Gator City on Saturday night, marking the end of an era for many people. They did songs that didn’t come up on Friday night, and were joined on stage by more of their good friends and former members.

When Gaignard asked the audience if they planned on attending Saturday’s show, nearly everyone raised their hands and cheered. I did not join them, but it was nice to see so many people supporting a local act, and I wish the soon-to-be former members of Big Sky the best.