December 2013. I was lounging in my hotel room in sunny San Diego, checking my email during a brief moment of down time at what was otherwise a chaotic work conference. I saw an email from Ticketmaster recommending an upcoming concert and informing me of an exciting discounted 2 day pass. The band was called Big Gigantic, and among the artists opening for them during their 2 nights at Roseland Ballroom were some DJ, some other DJ, a bunch of other random DJs, Brillz, and The White Panda. I saved the email for post-conference viewing.
When I got back to Brooklyn, I opened the email again. I had heard of Big Gigantic only by name, but I love The White Panda (mashups!) and was at the peak of my Brillz obsession, so when I saw that they would be playing on the same night, I immediately bought a ticket.
“If I don’t end up liking Big Gigantic, I’ll just leave,” I thought. “I’ll be one of those cool kids who only goes to a concert for the opening acts.”
I later decided to just download one of Big Gigantic’s albums to see what I was getting into. So I went online, downloaded “Nocturnal,” and next time I left the house, put in my earbuds and set the album to shuffle.
As soon as the first few seconds of “Fantastic” floated through my ears, I was hooked. I fell head over heels for this funky, jazzy, not-quite-definable sound that was like nothing I had ever heard. I spent the next 2 weeks devouring Big G’s catalog, incredulous at the fact that I was ever considering not staying to see this band. My excitement at getting to see Big Gigantic quickly eclipsed my excitement over getting to see the other two.
On December 30th, one year ago today, I went over to Roseland just in time to catch Brillz, who, by the way, was terrible. In between sets, I wandered around the venue, marveling at how obnoxious the crowd was. It was your standard underage EDM scene – girls in light-up bras and dudes in neon tanktops, all of them rude, most having had way too much to drink. I danced to The White Panda towards the back of the room, trying to create as much space as possible between myself and the high schoolers.
When Big G finally came on, I noticed something – the obnoxious kids were gone. Seemingly every last one of them had left after The White Panda. As the main show began, I realized that everyone around me was cool. And nice. And knew how to dance without throwing elbows. It was a fun, chill crowd, and in the 5 Big G shows I’ve seen since that night, it’s never been any other way.
A lot has happened in the year since that show, and realizing how laid back their audiences are is just barely scratching the surface. I’ve read as many interviews as possible with Dom and Jeremy, the duo from Boulder, CO that comprises Big G. I traveled to Chicago to see them at Spring Awakening Musical Festival in June. In July, I saw them in the rain at Hudson Project, a show that officially turned my 2 friends from nonbelievers into huge fans. I made plans to see them in Philadelphia on my birthday in October, and when everyone who was going to join me bailed, I went anyway. I ended up hanging out with a group of people who didn’t know me but who welcomed me into their pre-show tailgate just because I was a fellow member of the Big Gigantic Family (one of them told me he would marry me based solely on this fact). Even though I was with no one I knew, it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had (and the fact that 2 New York friends ended up surprising me in Philly late into the show was icing on the cake, at that point).
Big G has put out another album since my first show a year ago, yet as familiar as I’ve become with all their music, “Fantastic” remains my favorite song. I still don’t know how to fully define their style, and even though I’ve searched pretty aggressively, I still can’t locate any other artists who sound like them. I also haven’t heard of any other musicians who so actively promote a spirit of community service amongst their fans, nor have I found any with Instagram accounts a fraction as hilarious.
From a live show perspective, Big G was the act I saw the most in 2014, and for good reason. Their music is great to listen to while hanging out at home, but it was really meant to be experienced live. There’s an energy and a lightness and a joy that comes from being surrounded by thousands of people all getting funky to Big G. And while they certainly fall into the realm of the electronic, the live drums (Jeremy) and saxophone (Dom) add so much depth. As someone who grew up largely on alternative rock, I have an appreciation for live instruments that I value even more now that I’ve gotten into music that, more often than not, lacks them.
I had no idea a year ago that I’d be here today, writing a paean not just to a new favorite band, but to this community – this family – of which I’m now a part. I’m looking forward to meeting more fans in the coming year (and who knows, maybe one day actually meeting the boys themselves!), going to more shows, spreading the Big G gospel to even more of my friends, and hearing whatever new tracks or remixes they decide to grace us with. While I’m sad I won’t be in Colorado to see them on New Year’s Eve, I know this past year has only been the beginning for me and Big G.