By: Ashley Moore
Almost immediately after finding out Big Gigantic was headlining a New Years Eve banger at the Riviera in Chicago, I bought my golden ticket to the celebration of the year! This dynamic duo has become a favorite of mine after seeing them at the North Coast Music Festival this past summer. Since then I've had the pleasure of seeing them 5 times, but the sixth was the charm. Many EDM artists have risen to popularity because of their capability to produce, collaborate, or transition from one genre to another flawlessly without losing their following. However, a unique sound is the most important element when creating an unforgettable artist like Big G.
Big Gigantic has accomplished feats artists take years to achieve, if at all. Take Aloe Blacc, for example, whose song "I Need a Dollar" helped rock Big Gigantic to fame. It was only after Big G took the song, remixed and mastered it to become their own did the song gain its current popularity. Big Gigantic's mixture of electronic, saxophone and heavy bass lines make a unique sound reminiscent of space travel. It's almost flawless how seamlessly they can blend elements of jazz and EDM into a new version of funk-soul music. This combination composed the perfect recipe for the first celebration of the New Year.
Preceding the main attraction was Chicago's LoBounce and West Coast transplant The Polish Ambassador. Carlo Pasquesi has retooled his low freq-heavy stage show to combine some of the most raucous electro flavors with the filthiest bass drops this side of the Mississippi. 2011 was a big year for Pasquesi, who released his Bouncetown album, to back his rowdy, hands-in-the-air, conduct-the-whomp stage show with a solid studio effort. To cap his set of nasty bangers, LoBounce unveiled a touching ode to Jasper, a fellow scene star whose passing rocked the entire electronic music community, especially in the Midwest.
Can I just say The Polish Ambassador's stage outfit was ridiculously amazing? A turquoise and yellow European ski-suit is always in style—and I should know. Poised and purposeful, David Sugalski ran through a set filled with old-school hip-hop, indie remixes, and forcefully funky dance grooves. The Polish Ambassador really broke big in 2011, and started showing up on both coasts and everywhere in between with acts as diverse as STS9, Mochipet, and Papadosio, and a viral remix of Bon Iver’s “Perth,” made him an indie darling overnight. You’d be hard-pressed not to crack a smile and bob your head when the dancing diplomat takes the stage.
Both performers satisfied my bass heavy appetite, but when 11:15pm came, saxophonist Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken, finally took the stage. The audience was ready to get down to Lalli's sexy sax solos and some jazzy electro funk by playing some of my favorites like "Sky High," "Solitude," a remix of Jay Z's “Dirt Off Your Shoulders,” Yeezy and a few popular songs we've all heard before, mixed with some of their own. With the rumbling tempests of bass, drums and electro you could feel the venue shake. Every single body was in motion causing me to step to the side from time to time to catch my breath.
A few moments before the countdown, the duo announced they would play an original song for us (with some necessary sampling from Common’s “Chi City”) to pump up the audience before the stroke of midnight. I always love when people gush over our city because, well, we are the greatest and having that song play when the confetti and balloons fell beautifully from the sky made it all the more special. Counting down the numbers from ten, with everyone's hands in the air we screamed "Happy New Year!" in unison, then I proceeded to hug and kiss all my neighbors. Even the ones I didn't know. Connecting with everyone around me, I felt it was the most genuine moment I've felt at a show in a while. After the insanity of the ball drop calmed down, they proceeded into “High and Rising.”
Ending their set, they made us beg for an encore. The first one was easy, returning to the stage after a mere moment. The duo remixed Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" and their imfamous remix of “I Need a Dollar.” Then they left the stage, almost too quickly. I was hoping that wasn't the last song because it left much to be desired. I stayed where I was, along with everyone else, and screamed for Big G to grace the stage once more. Surprising us with a second encore, they said they wanted to end on a banger by performing a song off their forthcoming album Nocturnal. Honestly, that was the new sound I wanted to hear all night long. Part of me was secretly hoping they'd preview their new album in its entirety, but even if they didn't I hoped they would at least play more songs from the newness to drop January 11, 2012. The new sax solos made my bones jiggle to the core, and the bass was so heavy that I still feel it ringing in my ears. I can guarantee everyone at that show felt the same way. Thanking everyone who attended the show for the love and support we've shown them in the past year, it was evident, there would be no more music that night, but the feeling we had would last all year.
Mark my words, 2012 will be the year of Big Gigantic! Catch them on their upcoming tour, download their new album January 11th and check their website for tour dates. See you in outer space.
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