Some artists dream of playing Red Rocks at least once in their career; however, there are some that can call the place home. Being from Colorado, Big Gigantic has claimed this residency at Red Rocks with”Rowdytown V,” their fifth two-night run that took place last weekend (September 23-24). This Boulder-based duo — consisting of producer and saxophonist Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken — have not slowed down since their first Red Rocks run in 2012. Now with the release of their new album, Brighter Future, last August the group had no problem selling out both nights of this now-epic tradition. On Saturday, I had the chance to catch my first ever Colorado throw-down that is a Big Gigantic show.
In the parking lot, you immediately noticed the age group of the crowd. Yes, usually EDM shows have a younger crowd, but this was a particularly young crowd, which proved Big Gigantic could be the band of the future for Colorado, and that this “Rowdytown” tradition might be here to stay for a long time. Even the openers for the show were new and up-and-coming, a testament to the generations of fans that were there that night. First was Kasbo, a 19-year-old Swedish producer whose music could make you cry and dance at the same time. Next up was Illenium, another Denver-based producer who set the crowd up for emotional, melodic bass drops with beautiful vocals in between. Last to play was the brand-spanking-new DJ Marshmello — a trap aficionado who excels in creating a party and brought the energy level up just in time for the headliners.
Big Gigantic entered the stage on a huge platform, the biggest stage set-up I have personally ever seen at Red Rocks. Two massive LED screens covered the platform and showed the Colorado flag waving in the wind as the performers began their two-hour long set. They began the night with “The Little Things,” one of their brand-new hit singles off the Brighter Future album, and a song that can best sum up Big Gigantic’s style and sound in five minutes. A combination of an old-school big band sound of the 1940s with thick synths and heavy drums gave Coloradans their favorite live electro feel that began with Pretty Lights 10 years ago.
Given two nights and two hours each night, the band couldn’t realistically play only their own songs the entire time. This was not really a bad thing though, and provided more variety to the night. Drops of dubstep, trap and hip-hop songs kept the crowd on their toes while Lalli played his signature saxophone over everything. At the time it seemed Lalli relied too much on his live sax and simply pressed play on some beats instead of really performing them; however, it did not matter to these dedicated fans, as the whole place rocked from start to finish. An obligatory encore and “family photo” ended the night with nobody disappointed, and Lalli too could not express enough how grateful they were for the local support over the years.
Even after Big Gigantic’s fifth consecutive year at Red Rocks, their fans did not falter. The crowd’s youth and dedication proved that Colorado-based acts have a special part in the local scene, and with their unique sound and live show, there is little doubt the Big Gigantic will continue to hold residency at the Rocks. The duo hasn’t even begun their official Brighter Future tour, which starts mid-October in South Carolina. No matter what you think of Big Gigantic, the youth have spoken — and Rowdytown isn’t going anywhere.
All photography by Will Sheehan and Kiddest Metaferia.