Big Huge Monstrously Gargantuan. That is how I will see Big Gigantic after Rowdytown on Saturday. Their quasi-festival Red Rocks headlining debut seems to mark the beginning of a new age for the Boulder-based duo filled with incredible production and rowdy die-hard fandom. As a close friend of mine put it, Big G has out Pretty Lightsed Pretty Lights, taking things to the next level with a one of a kind show and closing out Red Rocks in a way few have ever seen.
Due to the incredibly stacked line-up and the complex set changes, the music started relatively early with Raw Russ going on at 6:00. The venue was not quite half full with most electing to take full advantage of the raging lot scene before they headed into the show. With the sun still up and the party only just starting, Raw Russ managed to get things going with some hip-hop/dubstep remixes and a few heavy originals that at the very least had people practicing their moves for the bass heavy night ahead.
Up-and-comer GRiZ seemed to draw in the majority of the crowd with an original set of hard hitting bangers seemingly inspired by all facets of the EDM genre. Soulful, Pretty-Lights-esque samples layered with glitch-mob-like synth patterns and beautifully eclectic bass lines culminated in a unique sound with undeniable staying power. Those who didn’t yet know GRiZ from his festival heavy summer tour or his numerous mentions in the EDM blogging community were introduced with a bang as he played the sun down and brought the energy up (along with the full moon peaking out above the stage). Track after track pulled huge eruptions from the crowd and the party seemed to escalate exponentially. At one point, during a remix of Flux Pavillion’s Gold Dust, things got so heavy I completely forgot there were three more artists to come and felt I was already at GRiZ’s inevitable Red Rocks headlining show. Although that may be a long way off, I am equally excited for his just announced show at the Fox Theater in Boulder on December 1st.
(Check out our interview with Grant aka GRiZ at this years’ Sonic Bloom here)
Dillon Francis, the master of moombahton, took to the stage next, opening with his signature rendition of ‘Tequila’ into Doctor P’s remix of ‘Love Goes Down’. After such a heavy drop I was surprised (and elated) to hear it followed by almost five full-on 808 trap-step tracks. As the set finally settled into Dillon’s signature moombah stuff, I found myself realizing that Dillon is all about shaking up the genre lines and trying to give the masses something unique instead of just dishing out more of the same. In a music scene where DJs and producers freely play each other’s music and feed off of what’s popular, seeing someone dedicated to doing their own thing and exploring the new and exciting realms of EDM is refreshing to say the least.
Seattle born rapper Macklemore was next with his producer Ryan Lewis, and from what I could gather, the reaction to his set was fairly mixed. I have always felt that hip-hop artists never blend as seemlessly into a heavy EDM lineup as event organizers seem to think, but for me personally, the bass heavy production and party anthem rapping seemed to belong in Rowdytown, acting as a lyrical manifestation of the evenings overall theme. Those that couldn’t appreciate the set were probably also those that were craving six hours of straight booty shaking bass drops, but for me, at least in this instance, I welcomed the genre change. The sing-a-long anthem ‘And We Danced’ was undoubtedly the highlight of the set, though from what I could hear of Macklemore’s rapid fire lyrics, his upcoming album release (Due out Oct. 9th) is going to be pretty damn awesome.
After longer than usual set break, the masses were ready for the main event. Daft Punk’s ‘Robot Rock’ came on as the lights dimmed and the crowd erupted as Dom and Jeremy took the stage. Lights flashed from all levels of the stage as the set got underway and didn’t seem to stop until the encore. They played through their entire catalog and then some, throwing in a massive Pendulum D&B remix as well as Knife Party’s infamous ‘Bonfire’. Projection mapping lit up the rocks with breathing patterns, geometric shapes, animated velociraptors, and of course a tribute to the Colorado flag. Dom was joined by GRiZ on stage for two or so huge tracks that dragged the dance party into a chaotic sea of head-banging and ass-shaking, possibly winning the award for the most intense ten minutes of the night.
As they came back on for an encore at the end of their set, smiling from ear to ear, it was clear that Big G has so much passion for what they do that they may stop at nothing to take things up a notch. Well in my book, Rowdytown was a resounding misson success, and I can’t wait to see how gigantic Big G will undoubtedly get in the future. Check out my photos from the night as well as a recap video featuring some ariel camera work and some awesome shots of the projection! Remember to stay rowdy Colorado and we’ll see you on the rocks next year!