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Am I too old now to be going to Big Gigantic shows?

Big GiganticBy Josh Herwitt //

Big Gigantic //
Avalon Hollywood – Los Angeles
June 19th, 2015 //

It was more than five years ago when I first discovered Big Gigantic.

With its inclusion of the jazz, hip-hop and electronic worlds into their bass-heavy club bangers, the Boulder-based duo comprised of saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken quickly captured my attention as one of music’s most intriguing up-and-coming acts amid America’s 21st-century EDM boom. There was no one else doing quite like what they were doing. Between Lalli’s sexy saxophone lines, Salken’s thundering hip-hop beats and the help of a laptop computer, Big Gigantic was already one of a kind. It was like they had created a new genre of music, or “jazztronica” as I like to call it.

A few months later, I got to witness Big G’s energy first hand when I saw them open for Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) at a sold-out Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It was then and there that I started to understand how “big” their sound really was and could be.

Since then, Lalli and Salken have come a long way. They have released four full-length albums and played at nearly every major U.S. music festival out there, from Bonnaroo to Coachella to Firefly to Electric Forest. And this September, they will headline their fourth “Rowdytown” show at Red Rocks, a feat that Lalli and Salken can both be very proud of as current Colorado residents. It’s all resulted in a burgeoning fan base, one that continues to grow outside the 303 and 720 area codes.

Big Gigantic - Dominic Lalli


Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli

At this point, I have seen Big Gigantic perform more than 10 times — more times than I can remember, in fact. I have lost track of the number not because the shows were unsatisfying or unmemorable, but more because there have been so many in such a short amount of time. But after turning 31 this month, I realize I’m also no spring chicken anymore.

Which brings me to last Friday’s show at Avalon Hollywood, where Big Gigantic made their return to LA after appearing at HARD Day of the Dead a few months earlier (a Big G show in the local area that I actually didn’t attend). Having noticed over the past two years that the fans seem to get younger and younger with each show I’m at, I was fully prepared to see some recent high school graduates packing the dance floor when I arrived before Big G’s headlining set. Of course, it didn’t help that Avalon is well-known as an 18-and-over venue, but it’s certainly not the only one in LA either.

Big Gigantic - Jeremy Salken


Big Gigantic’s Jeremy Salken

Nevertheless, the audience on this night immediately made me feel old. Had I not run into a friend who is also in his fourth decade, I might have thought I was the only one in the room who was no longer living at home and going to school. I had felt this way at Big G shows in Colorado, but LA had yet to catch up. The real topper, though, came late in their set, when another male quite possibly 10 years my junior encouraged me to make a move on my girlfriend of more than three years. It wasn’t completely surprising knowing both my girlfriend and I share a rather youthful appearance that can often catch people off guard, so I simply chuckled and explained to him that we have lived together for almost two years now, a detail I could tell he was shocked to learn just by the expression on his face. It was a clear sign that I was no longer in the majority of the band’s fan base. I was and am simply an outlier now.

Big Gigantic, meanwhile, sounded as clean as ever. Taking the stage around 12:30 a.m. and running through a setlist highlighted by remixes of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” and Jay-Z’s “Can I Get A …”, they had the Hollywood crowd ebbing and flowing until almost the 2 a.m. mark. Both Lalli and Salken have grown tremendously as performers, from Lalli’s production expertise and techniques to Salken’s timing and chemistry when it comes to the music’s improvised sections. And yet, they are still as funky as ever, which makes a lot of sense coming from Lalli, a formally trained saxophonist from the Manhattan School of Music who spent years playing with Colorado funk ensemble The Motet before founding Big Gigantic in 2008.

But as EDM’s sphere of influence continues to spread across the industry, so has Big G’s fan base, with many being of the younger variety. It’s left older fans like myself in a precarious position, one that feels unnatural even with so many shows under my belt. It’s why I can’t help but ask myself, “Have I exceeded the age demographic of a Big Gigantic show?”

Because even if I’m not too old yet, it’s sure starting to feel that way.

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