Big Gigantic continues to redefine the EDM genre with their album, The Night is Young. Just 8 songs clocking in at 35 minutes, the album is jam packed with the familiar yet fresh sound of Jeremy Salken on the drums and Dominic Lalli as producer and saxophone. An eclectic combination of hip-hop and jazz, with influences of funk and electronica, Big Gigantic has continued to show their mastery of their own niche that has translated into highly successful year-round touring since forming in 2008, including 3 appearances at our very own Summer Camp Music Festival.
Two years after Nocturnal reached #2 on iTunes electronic charts, expectations were high for the latest free download album of the game-changing duo that is Big Gigantic.
The album kicks off “Clvdbvrst,” a word without any vowels, so I simply read it as “Cloudburst.” This track exemplifies the unique sound of Big Gigantic that sets them apart from the rest of the electronic scene – the dubstep intro that leads up into Lalli bursting through with a soaring saxophone solo, the signature of Big Gigantic’s live show. Like my alliteration there? “Blue Dream” really frees up more space for Lalli to explore, a song that reminds me of “Fantastic” from Nocturnal.
Things really get going now with the third track, album-titled “The Night is Young” featuring Cherub. The easiest song to dance to on the track, it wouldn’t be surprising to see The Night is Young climb through the charts and be featured on heavy radio play. One listen and you’ll see why the album is titled after this one.
Like “The Night is Young”, “Touch the Sky” features more vocals and the chemistry between Lalli and Salken really shine with their consistent synchronicity and ability to stop-and-start up the bridge into the drop.
The melody segues perfectly into “From Dusk til Dawn” which is quick to embrace Lalli’s production skills and once again proving his value is more than just his saxophone skills. Big Gigantic fans should already be familiar with “Let’s Go!”, a song already made popular from their live versions. Check out “Let’s Go!” in HD from a headlining performance with AXS TV here:
“Just For the Thrill” and “Shooting Stars” close out the album. “Shooting Stars” provides some great fitting variety to finish the album on a feel-good note. A softer tune that provides sensual emotion which isn’t typically seen from Big G which I love. I have been hoping for a bit of variety from this album, which is met in this song. A perfect song to dance under the stars with the one you love.
As usual, the album is available for free download at Big Gigantic’s website. Feeling generous? Monetarily support Big Gigantic with an iTunes download. Feeling like dancing? Check out the experience for yourself live as Big G is now touring in a city near you.
A week into the new year, it’s time to look ahead to all of the musical excitement that this year has to offer. But first, it’s always fun to reflect back on the year I just had…
After 2012, I had been to 105 total concerts – which isn’t too many, I know – but considering I’ve been an athlete my entire life I have other priorities that take precedence over live music! 2013, however, was a milestone year for me in music as I fortunate enough to attend 45 shows, nearly twice as many as I saw in 2012. A lot of this is due to my first ever attendance of a camping festival (Summer Camp), and then of course my annual celebrations at Summerfest in Milwaukee. Let’s start with…
The Most Frequent Bands I Saw in 2013
Roster McCabe – 9 shows: I’ve written extensively about this band (now known as Night Phoenix) before, so this is nothing new. The Midwest “electro-rock” tours heavily throughout the year and I was able to catch them 9 times, putting my career tally at 20 Roster McCabe shows.
Umphrey’s McGee – 4 shows: No surprise here – my first UM show occurred in 2004 when I was just 12 years old. In 2013 I was at all 3 Scamp shows and also their set at Summerfest, making it 4 on the year. I have seen the improg group at least once every year since ’07.
Michael Franti & Spearhead – 2 shows: My favorite feel good musical choice, Michael Franti & Spearhead rolled through the Midwest in 2013 in support of his latest album, All People. I caught the “rebel rocker” at the Minneapolis State Fair in late August and about a month later in Madison with Moon Taxi.
Nahko & Medicine for the People – 2 shows: I had never heard of this band until about a week before they showed up in La Crosse, WI for a show at my favorite bar The Popcorn Tavern, which was a memory I’ll write about further down the page. A similar sound to Michael Franti and Matisyahu, Nahko just has a radiance of good vibes glowing off him that the rest of the band and crowd feeds off of.
Other notable acts: Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Moon Taxi, moe., Victor Wooten & Friends, Thievery Corporation, Blues Traveler, Dark Star Orchestra, 311, EMEFE, Steez, and Dark Star Orchestra covering The Rolling Stones.
My Top 5 Shows of 2013:
Of the 9 shows I saw Roster McCabe perform in 2013, why this one? Perhaps because it was only one set, which means it was a straight up dance party. Also, this was on Thursday at Summer Camp – the pre-party – so it was just a great way to set the tone for the entire weekend. The Camping Stage was a great spot right on the outskirts of the woods to draw in all the campers – and everyone LOVED it! The crowd didn’t stop moving through the entire – most of them unaware of Roster – but loved discovering a new band to get down to. They closed the set with a cover of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky that turned into a frenzy.
4) Umphrey’s McGee, 2013-07-02 Summerfest – Big Backyard
So many great things about this show. My hometown, in the front row with all my friends, Kevin Sinclair sit-in, Pink Floyd cover, 4 song encore (!!!) that included rarity Dear Lord, this show is a must download!
3) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 2013-06-28 Summerfest – Marcus Amphitheater
This was my 6th Tom Petty show, and possibly my last. A sell-out crowd at the Amp sang along with all the hits and had great energy, as always. Petty loves Milwaukee, he makes that very clear every time he comes (all 6 times I’ve seen him came at Summerfest) and even showed a surprising amount of improv jams in a couple songs!
2) Trey Anastasio Band, 2013-05-26 Summer Camp – Sunshine Stage
This would be #1 if not for the unfortunate fact that the show was cut short. Due to the extreme rainstorm. But wow. This was my most listened to show of the year by far. I can’t imagine a better band to make such miserable weather conditions tolerable.
1) Everyone Orchestra, 2013-05-26 Summer Camp – Red Barn
The lineup included Victor Wooten, Joel Cummins, Al Schnier, Vinnie Amico, Allie Kral, Alex Steele, Mike Dillon, Roosevelt Collier and a few other I can’t remember, all conducted my Matt Butler. This show just completely blew my away from start to finish. 100% improv! What else could you ask for from an all-star lineup?!
Conclusion and Looking Towards 2014
The only regret I have from 2013 is that I didn’t get to see my all time favorite band, Phish. I had tickets for all 3 nights in Chicago but unfortunately it didn’t work out with some other things that popped up. I have a good feeling they’ll return to Alpine Valley for 2 nights this summer though!
2014 will be a great year. Of course Summer Camp already has an amazing lineup announced and it will only get better. Particle reunited and is on a heavy tour for 2014 – don’t miss out on these guys! One of the founding bands of the electronic jam scene next to the Disco Biscuits and STS9.
Happy new year, and see ya on the road!