by Josh Gross
With the breakthrough success of Skrillex and imitators across the pop world, dubstep and electronic dance music as a whole are on the map.
And between the small but committed community staging local shows and small festivals, and the growing online chatter, EDM seems like the rare musical trend that Boise might be in time with.
That made the city primed for a visit by rising national stars Big Gigantic, whose thundering wub and space sax combo shakes booties of the pink fur and standard variety.
Which brings us to Oct. 20 at The Knitting Factory.
The buzz was big. The sound was huge. The band was enormous. The only thing that wasn't big was the audience. In fact, for the entirety of the opening DJ set by local Dayne5150, it would have been a slow night even at a small venue.
But one good thing about the smaller audience was that it gave plenty of room to sidestep the guy in a Hawaiian shirt and toe shoes dancing with lit up balls on strings that might as well have been Bruce Lee's whirling nunchucks.
Things picked up by the time the middle act, Griz, hit the stage. The fairy wing-clad and glow stick-wielding throngs filed in as he infused samples from "Tequila" by The Champs, "Boyz in the Hood" by Eazy E and Basement Jaxx with hip-hop beats, throbbing blasts of dubstep bass and occasional solos from his Kenny G-sized sax.
After Griz finished, it was nearly an hour before Big Gigantic took the stage. But when the band started, it was easy to see where its sizable reputation comes from—most notably its catchy sound and danceable grooves. Laptop programmed beats formed the foundation as the band traded riffs back and forth between drums and saxophone. Live drums kept things fluid and lively while the sax made the songs soar instead of just throb.
To give it even more oomph, the band played from twin risers that looked like Devo's domes made from LED screens that flashed patterns of light and scenes from Pac Man as fog rolled off the stage.
If more bands put that much effort into their stage show, the world would be a much better place. And anyone in the audience last night, including the guy in the Pokemon footsie pajamas, would likely agree.