Boulder’s Big Gigantic gets even bigger

Boulder-based Big Gigantic is Dominic Lalli, left, and Jeremy Salken. (Ryan Patrick / Courtesy photo)
Boulder-based Big Gigantic is Dominic Lalli, left, and Jeremy Salken. (Ryan Patrick / Courtesy photo)

By Quentin Young

For the third year, Big Gigantic plans to bring its brand of EDM to Red Rocks for a two-night event it calls “Rowdytown.”

For Dominic Lalli, the sax-playing producer half of the band, describing the event is simple enough: “It’s just like literally the biggest party of the year.”

Any questions?

The Boulder duo, which includes Jeremy Salken on drums, came together in 2008. At one time, Lalli slung coffee at the Espressoria in Boulder and Salken delivered pizza for a Domino’s in Louisville, and it’s unlikely they thought of “gigantic” in terms of career aspirations. That’s just the way it turned out.

Rowdytown was so successful last year that organizers expanded it to two nights this year — Friday, Sept. 26, and Saturday, Sept. 27. The performance is almost as much of a light show as it is a concert, and last year was said to be the first time an artist used projection-mapping visuals on the iconic amphitheater rocks. They’ve expanded the light show this year.

A little more than a week after Rowdytown, on Oct. 4, Big Gigantic will take another giant career step when they perform at Madison Square Garden in New York in support of Bassnectar.

“We get to do two things we thought we’d never get to do in a couple weeks,” Salken said.

Rowdytown is a sign of just how big Big Gigantic has become in six years, but the show also will be a return to its roots. Members of The Motet, another Boulder band that’s gaining a national reputation for being good at making concert-goers dance, will join Big Gigantic on stage at Red Rocks.

Lalli is a former member of The Motet, which recently played Second Story Garage, and Salken used to drive their van. Salken moved from Richmond, Va., to be a “snowboard bum” in Breckenridge, and that’s where he started playing drums. A fellow musician turned Salken on to The Motet, and he became one of Dave Watts’ biggest fans and used to beg the drummer for lessons.

“I would pretty much stalk Dave,” Salken said. “He didn’t remember me like the first four times.”

Salken made posters for the band, became their driver and ended up living with Lalli. A computer on which Salken and Lalli started making music came from Motet singer Jans Ingber.

“It’s really something special we get to do with them,” Lalli said. “They’re all amazing musicians.”

Big Gigantic has carved a niche in EDM by bringing live instruments and improvisation to electronic elements of their sound. Performing with The Motet is an extension of that approach.

Colorado has long been a hot spot for Americana and bluegrass. But Big Gigantic, along with Pretty Lights and other electronic-based artists on the Front Range, are helping to give Colorado an EDM-friendly reputation.

“It’s not exactly a spot you’d think would be saturated with that kind of thing,” Salken said.

But the duo find interest in the state’s EDM scene when they travel.

“People actually look to Colorado to see what’s going on,” Lalli said.

One place they should start looking is Rowdytown III.

“We go pretty much to the nines for the show,” he said.

Contact Quentin Young at 303-684-5319 or qyoung@times-call.

If you go

What: Rowdytown III, featuring Big Gigantic and members of The Motet

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, and Saturday, Sept. 27

Where: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison

Tickets: $40.50, or $75 for two-day passes


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