REVIEW: Big Gigantic at The Bluebird

The Bluebird is truly one of Indiana’s best venues. After Thursday night’s Big Gigantic performance, it’s easy to see and understand why The Bird continues to thrive in Bloomington and consistently snag tour dates with some of today’s biggest and best acts.

The Bluebird’s unique layout always offers attendees a great view of the stage from almost anywhere inside their standing room- even during a sold out show. The Big Gigantic audience was crowded, but not sold-out- resulting in a relatively comfortable environment. Attendance levels achieved that perfect balance of the occasional bump-in with one’s neighbor due to flailing arms and booty shaking, yet there was enough capacity in the room for everyone to maintain their own small section of dancefloor real estate.

There’s something about The Bluebird that makes live music sound better than other venues, too. Comparing past Big G experiences with my friend, we agreed that festivals and theater venues are too open and spacious; that the enclosed, cave-like room of The Bluebird preserves and projects the music onto bodies and faces, rather than evaporating into open air. At certain points in the show, the room was mysteriously filled to the brim with sound, yet I was still able to hear various expressions being shouted by fans and distinguish the jubilant screams coming from all corners of the room.

Of course, all of this means nothing if the band itself isn’t spectacular. Luckily for Bloomington, Big Gigantic IS spectacular. The two-person group, consisting of Dominic Lalli (Production/Sax) and Jeremy Salken (Drums), has carved a niche for itself that lies somewhere in the middle of tightly produced dance beats and improvisational jams. But they’re so much more than just another livetronica band. There’s also hip hop samples, a touch of dubstep, and- most importantly- endless live saxophone. This perfect combination of musical elements strikes a cord with people across multiple genres of music and brings them all together to dance, to sing, and to rage.

Bloomington was feeling the show, and Big Gigantic reciprocated that. Drenched in sweat very early in the night, Lalli peered into the audience at the end of every song with a wide smile on his face- I could almost detect disbelief in his eyes. He’d give us a shout out, announce the next song, and dive in headfirst to another rejuvenating track. For me, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like for guys like Lalli and Salken to rage with so much force and perform with so much enthusiasm nearly every night of the week. But the fact that we didn’t have time (or energy) to question their weariness or drive, means that they certainly gave us 110%.

The show was, in a word, perfect. The hodgepodge of people that filled the venue did so with much excitement and much courtesy for their neighbors. The venue made Big Gigantic look and sound better than they have all summer. And most of all- the band exceeded expectations on all levels. I can’t wait for Big G’s return to Indiana.