Words by Alex Voigt. Photos by Mike Mauger.
Last Friday evening, February 22nd, the dynamic duo that constitutes Big Gigantic had settled into Philadelphia’s neighborhood and played to a sold-out, sardine-packed crowd at the Electric Factory. Also performing on the Winter Tour is DJ/producer, Kill Paris and just for the night, Philly’s own EDM producer, Space Jesus wows his hometown mass of electronic music fanatics.
After playing a short set, Space Jesus gives the stage to Kill Paris who throws down a selection of popular mixes and groove-tronic mashups. Mixing up heavy dub and ’70s style R&B beats, Kill Paris keeps the enthusiastic fans alive and on their feet–that is, in between the jumping–with dubstep remixes like: “Baby Come Back” and a gnarly arrangement of Mariah Carey’s “Sweet Fantasy.”
It is now just after 11 p.m. and the musically innovative pair that make up Big Gigantic, Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken, walk on stage, both dressed in all white, and embrace the screams and hollers from the hundreds of people. “Dom,” the essential, dominating sax player and producer addresses everyone first as Salken situates himself at the drums, where he never skips a beat– or even seems to take a breath.
In no time, Dom beckons the crowd: “Philly, are y’all ready to get Sky High or what?!” and pretty soon everyone is simultaneously thrown into a universal groove to the video-game-like track “Sky High.” The electronic light displays have multi-colored Pacmans on screen and I quickly hear other fans’ general excitement for the classic childhood game as one guy screams: “PACMANNN!!”
Other than the uncontrollable positive energy that inevitably permeates the scene and attaches itself to everyone in the building, the light show is another stupendous feature of Big Gigantic–it is a presentation of its own. Moving through a remix of Jay Z’s “Can I get A (What What)” song into a fan favorite, “I Need a Dollar,” dollar signs and dollar bills flitter across the display screens as we are drenched in vivid green lighting symbolizing cold hard cash.
In addition to the popular hip hop remixes, Big G plays a nice long list of their own original works. “Lucid Dreams,” off of their first studio album, A Place Behind the Moon radiates the scene as Dom takes off on one of his grand sax solos and colors of the rainbow flash around the factory, bouncing off the walls, the ceiling and the gleaming faces of each fan.
Almost every inch of space is filled around me on the balcony. I can see that the ground floor folks have about a centimeter between each other’s frolicking bodies. Yet, regardless of the minimal space the show is still epic, intimate and refreshing all at the same time. The Mortal Kombat-esque song “Let’s Go” kicks a$$ like usual among other rowdy tracks like Nocturnal‘s “Beginning of the End” and the fast and heavy screeching dub in “It’s Gonna Get Louder.”
Like vibrant colors in a kaleidoscope, the streaming lasers eventually dim as the audience waits for Dom and Salken to re-take the stage for the night’s encore. Not much time is wasted before sounds of the song “Fantastic” beam around the venue, as we are left with one final song. Dom has expressed his love for Philadelphia a few times throughout the night already and encourages the crowd once more yelling, “Gimme every last little piece you got!” for the ultimate finale: “The Uprising.”