Live Record: The Big Ideas

When I think about The Big Ideas, I think not only of this live album but also of another of their performances, this one taking place in their living room. I’m pretty sure nothing was amplified. All five members were crammed around the upright piano on one side of the room. Instruments and drinks were passed back and forth freely (it was a birthday celebration, as I recall). But the band sounded just perfect. All played and sang within each other, and nothing overwhelmed. The lights were dim, and the room was crowded. There was some kind of terrific, I don’t know, old-west feeling about the whole thing. It was performances like these that told us that The Big Ideas would be perfect to record live.



Left to Right: Rengstorf, Gartner, Opatz

The old-west, anachronistic feel is reinforced by the band’s instrumentation, a hodge-podge that looks to be assembled by happenstance, but works perfectly. The Big Ideas, by dint of their composition and influences, also bring some welcome diversity to our release slate. Kari Halvorson’s and Gabe Gartner’s violins, Matt Halvorson’s trombone, Nathan Rengstorf’s french horn (french horn!), Louie Opatz’s keys and guitar, folky/orchestral vocal harmonies, filled out by bass and light percussion (and with members trading instruments from song to song); The Big Ideas provide a very welcome alternative to our more rock-oriented releases.


The band’s various songwriting influences are on display throughout the album. Folk, country, pop, … baseball; each member brings different strengths and interests to the group. These combined to produce great songs, a great live performance, and, with Vic Lund’s skilled work, a great live album. We love it, and think you will too. Download it today!



Foreground: K. Halvorson, Background: M. Halvorson

The Big Ideas – Live from the Banana Stand was recorded in front of a live audience on August 28th, 2010 at the Banana Stand in Portland, Oregon. The album was mixed and mastered by Vic Lund. Brian David Smith handled design and layout for album art, which includes original photography from Jott Robertson and the original show poster, also by Brian. The Banana Stand would like to thank The Big Ideas (Matt, Kari, Gabe, Louie and Nathan), all who participated in this album’s creation and anyone that has helped us out along the way.


Find out more about The Big Ideas in our interview with them. Also, find them at and on Facebook and MySpace.