Denver was alive and well Saturday night as Boulder native Big Gigantic rolled into the Ogden Theatre. It has been a while since Colorado fans have seen the fast-growing duo of Dominic Lalli (producer/sax) and Jeremy Salken (drums). The show in Denver wrapped up a mini Colorado tour for the group as they hit Aspen, Boulder, and Fort Collins before joining us. Selling out every show on the list, it was apparent that the Colorado fans where in dire need of some Big Gigantic love.
Opening the night was another local, Fisk, who has been making a name in the Boulder scene over the last couple of years. Rocking an Elm & Oak shirt, he played some dirty bass that got the crowd moving almost immediately. Remixing the likes of Sublime’ s “Santeria” and “Play that Funky Music” Fisk kept the hard hitting bass going for an hour before handing off to GRiZ.
Joining us from a little town called Detroit, GRiZ didn’t let people relax as he immediately went into some unique, big-jazz band dubstep remixes. GRiZ kept his set list rather varied in terms of beat, tempo and pace. Based off the vibe of the crowd, it seemed that he did a better job with the faster stuff. The crowd pleaser came when he sampled Kayne’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’”. This got the most hands up in the air and set the crowd back on the right track for the headliner of the evening.
A quick word about Big Gigantic’s new stage setup. If you haven’t seen the video from their New Year’s Eve show in Chicago (where they first showcased the new stage) you should check it out. It could be best described as two bee hives split down the middle. Both Dominic and Jeremy had their own bee hive, inhabiting the middle. The hives themselves were covered in three-pane LED boards that added to the ambiance. I am seeing more and more producers and artists building elaborate stages these days and I, for one, am a big fan of this as it provides variety and adds an almost synesthetic element to the show, you get both the audio and visual. I also enjoyed that it was the first time in a while that the Ogden felt like a completely different venue. It was as though the entire crowd was transported to Big Gigantic’s world, which is probably what they intended for. The other time I have seen this happen was during the Crystal Castles’ show when the entire place, literally the entire place, was filled with fog and you couldn’t see the stage, let alone the group.
I feel that Big Gigantic has gained such momentum and popularity through 2011 not only because of the extensive touring, but the unique sound they produce. The saxophone is, to me, one of the most distinct aspects of Big Gigantic’s music since it adds a more organic and personal feeling to a genre that is almost exclusively artificial. Watching Dominic put everything he has into that saxophone shows true love for what he does. Big Gigantic spent the first part of the show playing a repertoire of songs from their older albums, adding new twists and layers to them. Playing songs like “Solitude” and “Sky High” from the previous album quickly reminded the crowd why they loved Big Gigantic. Songs later in the set came from the new album, including “Heavyweight Champ”, “The Uprising”, and the album’s namesake, “Nocturnal”, kept the crowd excited for the guys’ next evolution. Playing over a solid 2+ hours, Big Gigantic showed just how amazing Colorado is and the talent that this state continues to produce.