By Ryan Cummings
All in Your Head played a short set to kick off Big Gigantic’s triumphant return to Pittsburgh in support of their latest release, Nocturnal. He appeased eager ears and set the stage for the performers to follow. Next, Paper Diamond, a.k.a. Alex B hit the decks brandishing an iPad. Girls with glowsticks and painted faces went wild when he dropped Bassnectar’s bruising “All We Do Is.” Cueing drums and drops, he melted the faces of unrelenting ragers. The highlight of the set was when he sampled the well-known Rusko’s “2 N A Q” after a heavy 808, Dutch house build up. He also played a few songs with 80’s era dance lyrics and an overall retro dance vibe and a dubstep drop. His heart-pounding bass and onstage theatrics were a thrill for all ages. “From now Till…” was another hit featuring a lyric sample from “Diamonds Are Forever.”
Paper Diamond’s remix of Kanye West’s “Power” was almost a mash-up version of the popular hip-hop song with a powerful electronic style. Then, to finish off his set he got fans singing along with the lyrics to Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” a song off his forthcoming EP Paragon. During Paper Diamond’s set, Dom Lalli Big Gigantic’s sax player was seen hanging around the bar and checking out the scene.
Atop elaborate LED paneled rigs, Dom Lalli and Jeremy Salken harnessed the energy of the sold out crowd to blow the roof off of the Mr. Smalls Theater. Big G employed big sounds and played nearly all of the tracks off of their new album Nocturnal. Despite the album being available for free download, Nocturnal made it to number 2 on iTunes’ electronic releases. Their set also featured several crushing remixes including Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” Notorious BIG’s “Notorious Thugs,” Talib Kweli’s “Get ‘Em High,” and my favorite remix of the night, Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar.”
Everyone was dancing and singing along with the popular lyrics and the LED filled stage was illuminated with colorful images and thrilling designs. Salken’s hip-hop drum beats and hi-hat heavy segments along with Lalli’s soaring saxophone and synthesized melodies, got the fans super rowdy. “The Uprising,” the first track on Nocturnal brought the heat, amazing fans with the progressive buildup and heavy bass drop. The studio album does not due Big G justice; it’s all about the live show. The whole experience of the new light setup paired with the acoustics of the stage speakers and subwoofers is what sets it apart from the studio releases. “It’s Goin Down” has an amazing sax buildup with a deep, mind-blowing drop that exploded out of the huge theater amplifiers.
The encore included “Hopscotch” from Nocturnal, Wiz Khalifia’s “Black and Yellow” a dubstep remix void of saxophone, and another popular track from Nocturnal, “Beginning of the End.” The encore definitely ended the show on a high note with these intensely synthesized electro-house tracks.
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