They say that nothing is truly new in music anymore, merely variations on the same old themes. Perhaps that's true. After all, rock spawned out of country and blues and even those genres spawned form what came before them. Occasionally, though, you find someone who puts such a fresh new spin on their influences, that its gives you something to get excited about.
This Thursday night, Aug. 25, Big Gigantic makes a stop at Cain's Ballroom and mixes everything from old-school funk to dub-step, to jazz, electronic, house music and gangster rap. Yes, it's a dance party, but it somehow becomes more than that.
To some (including myself) the jam band element of Big Gigantic's songs will be the most appealing part of the group's performance. At times, the duo of saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken leans heavily towards the groove and sounds of jamtronic bands like Soundtribe Sector 9, mixing electronic overtones with an organic sensitivity.
For others, the duo's remix and mashup tendencies will be the attraction. The outfit also goes toward a more DJ oriented sound at times and leans into the more heavily electronic driven sounds of Bassnectar and Deadmau5.
Most of the time, however, Big Gigantic exists somewhere in the middle, finding a way to walk a fine line between the two. The music takes on even more depth as the duo incorporates classic funk rhythms and hip-hop samples into the mix.
The real secret of this duo is the chemistry between drummer Salken and Lalli, who seamlessly alternates between keyboards, sax and laptop to build a wall of sound that drives the audience into a dancing frenzy. Improvisation is the key here and the duo have managed to move from initially laying vibrant jazz melodies over pulsing dance beats to becoming one of the cutting edge artists on the jamtronic and festival circuits.
The duo's debut disc, Fire it Up, and subsequent Wide Awake EP were only the beginning for a project that was conceived in 2008. Big Gigantic quickly built a solid following, moving from modest club shows to festival appearances. Last year's full length release, A Place Behind the Moon, showcases the best of what the duo does with its original compositions.
In a live setting, the two expand their sound even further, turning every venue into a party. As the duo continues to progress and expand its sound, the live improvisation aspect has seen Big Gigantic not only further explore its electronic inflected jazz sound, but also tap into hip hop and funk, leading to an internet buzz over the band's creative remixes of Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" and Notorious B.I.G.'s "Notorious Thugs."
Big Gigantic made its Tulsa debut in March of 2010 opening for STS9, but has continued to grow since then, building an even larger following on the festival circuit, calling for its own headline set at Cain's Ballroom this Thursday night. This show is an opportunity for the duo to not only reintroduce itself to local fans, but draw in some new ones as well.
The evening promises to be even more interesting as the group not only continues to build on the buzz that its festival shows have been building, but also introduce and preview new material that will be released in October on the new CD, Nocturne.
Credit goes to Cain's Ballroom for continuing to diversify its lineup and open its doors to new and up and coming artists for shows like this. If you love electronic jam bands like Soundtribe Sector 9 or just love a good dance party, this will be your show of the week as Big Gigantic sweeps in under the radar. The band won't be flying stealth for much longer, however, so check them out now and check them out just as they are beginning to blow up. Tickets are $18 and doors open at 7pm with Gramatik opening the show at 8pm.
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