Red Rocks is one of the most magical places in Colorado. I have been very lucky this year and have been able to attend multiple Red Rocks shows. That being said, getting to see the second night of Big Gigantic, more commonly known as Big G, at Rowdy Town III was a perfect close to the show season.
We arrived at the lots around 5 p.m. in order to hang out with friends who had come from far and wide to see the last big show at Red Rocks. This is the essence of the Rocks – being with family and friends to share in a night of all-out fun and musical extravagance.
Once the gates opened, my group and I headed in to try and get good spots. We ended up being in row twenty right behind the sound booth. This is prime seating, close enough to the stage to be able to see the artist’s facial expressions, but far enough away that you don’t get knocked over or crowded by the multitudes in the closer rows.
The night started off with the artist Herobust. Known for his remix of the Pretty Lights song, “Let’s Get Busy,” Herobust provided the perfect rowdiness to start the crowd off and get the anticipation building. His remixes of old hits such as “Jump Around” by House of Pain and “I Can’t Stop” by Flux Pavilion kept everyone cheering and grooving. With the sun just beginning to set and a perfect temperature, the night was off to a great start.
Caked Up came on next. The two members of Caked Up seemed to just jump around on stage while screaming incoherent things into their microphones. While the crowd did their best to keep moving, there seemed to be a definite feeling of disinterest in the air. Maybe it was just an off-night, but it put a slight kink in the show.
The New Deal took the stage next and changed the entire mood of the evening. With beautiful electronic jam sounds, this three person band took the crowd to a much softer and groovier setting. While some people in the crowd did not seem particularly interested, many were happily jiving to the funky riffs coming from the speakers. This seemed to be a perfect way to give the crowd some time to rejuvenate before Big G came on stage.
As the stage was cleared for Big Gigantic, the small time DJ, Trippy Turtle, played quietly during the thirty minute intermission. As his mini-set came to an end, the anticipation in the air became electric and tangible. People began to move and chat restlessly in the dark, waiting for the headliner.
As Big G came on stage, the lights flashed with full force and the crowd cheered with tremendous gusto. Knowing full well that the real party was just starting, the crowd got rowdy. Playing many of their biggest hits including, “Clvdbvrst,”“Sky High,”“It’s Goin Down” and “I Need a Dollar,” as well as many others, the crowd sang and grooved along ecstatically.
One of the things that sets Rowdy Town apart from all other shows at Red Rocks is the projection mapping that is done on the rocks themselves. The huge monoliths are turned into giant projector screens that show all forms of visualizers such as cats with lasers shooting from their eyes, live feeds of the crowd and Big G, moving shapes, falling rocks and many others. Rowdy Town is nothing less than visually stunning.
As the show neared the end, Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken were joined by members of the famous Motet as well as the rising electronic jazz star GRiZ, and a marching band from a local Denver high school. This created a culminating finale that I have rarely seen before – with so much talent on stage it was hard to not just stand there with my jaw open. For their encore, Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken left the main stage while some quiet music played on loop. The crowd was confused as to what was happening until the two reemerged in the sound booth in the center of the seating area. Standing barely five feet away from the two band members I got to enjoy the rare treat of seeing them play a soft and beautiful piece right in the heart of the crowd.
This show was the perfect ending to the Red Rocks season. With so much hype surrounding the show before hand, Big Gigantic pulled out all the stops in order to beat out everyone’s expectations.
Collegian A&E Writer Royce Hoffner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RoyceHoffner.