30 p.m. Feb. 23 at Newport Music Hall.
What do heavy electronic beats, big bass, live drumming and a solo saxophone have in common? They are all featured in the music of up-and-coming Colorado-based duo Big Gigantic.
Big Gigantic has been touring in support of its newest album, “Nocturnal,” which was released in January. The group will be performing at Newport Music Hall at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Paper Diamond will be opening.
While typical electronic concerts tend to consist of a producer behind a table turning knobs and clicking buttons on a computer while standing in front of an effects screen, Big Gigantic offers a different experience.
Producer Dominic Lalli switches back and forth between dropping paralyzing bass lines and delivering smooth and funky saxophone melodies, while drummer Jeremy Salken’s intensity adds energy to the performances.
“We’re still trying to be somewhere in between the DJ and live-band experience,” Lalli said.
Big Gigantic takes full advantage of its unusual instrumentation.
“The way that we have the music set up, a lot of stuff is improvised,” Salken said. “So we have the jam-band aspect of improvisation, building a solo, and things like that. But we also have the DJ-producer side of beats, and heavy tracks and more dance music.”
In 2008, Salken and Lalli were each performing in different funk groups in Boulder, Colo. When they were not performing, they were attending the electronic concerts of Colorado’s growing music scene. They soon decided to combine their funk and jazz skills with electronic music. The final product was Big Gigantic.
Since then, the group had been refining its sound as well as its live performances. This hard work has paid off, as the first four shows on the Nocturnal Tour have been sold-out, as have other shows since.
“We’ve developed musically and as a band,” Lalli said. “I think our purpose is still the same, it’s just that the music has moved along a little bit further — it’s a little bit better produced in terms of we’re better producers now.”
The tour also features a new stage setup, which consists of two large beehive-like structures covered in LED lights. During the show, the members of the band are situated within the structures.
“There’s all this new activity going on,” Salken said. “We’ve got the new album, we’ve got the new set and we’ve got a new tour. We have a bunch of festivals coming up this summer that we’re really psyched about. Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Electric Forest and a bunch of other stuff that hasn’t quite been announced yet.”
“Nocturnal” is available for download on iTunes. The group is also giving it away for free on their Facebook page.
Amber Reynolds, a fourth-year in dietetics, said Big Gigantic is one of her favorite musical acts.
“I love when he plays the saxophone,” Reynolds said. “I’ve seen them so many times, and it’s always a great time. I’m pretty pumped to rage my face off.”
Stephanie Riedl, a fourth-year in marketing, will also be attending the concert.
“I’m expecting a pretty big crowd if it’s not sold out,” Reidl said. “I like that its electronic dance music, but that it still incorporates cool instrumentals.”
This hybrid musical style allows Big Gigantic to deliver the excitement of a rock concert with the soundscapes that can only be produced in electronic music.
“A huge part of it for us is the live experience,” Salken said. “That’s why we’re doing it. We love playing live music, and we want people to come out and share that experience with us.”