Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Big Data w/ CHAPPO, On and On - Stage AE - Concert Review - April 4, 2015

The Club at Stage AE was home to great show on Saturday night, if you so happened to be in attendance. Opening the night was CHAPPO, filling the stage with smoke and sound and style that was otherworldly. In the year since I’ve seen CHAPPO out in Columbus, they’ve added to their stage show, outfitting a smoke machine to a crazy cartoon animal head that breathed out smoke at different parts of the show. CHAPPO started their set out with a psychedelic and sci-fi feel before bringing the show back down to an earthbound sound playing their most notable songs, “Come Home” and “What Are You Kids On?”. It was a great build to the closing song of their set, where frontman Alex Chappo comes out in the crowd, at times writhing on the dance floor or drawing people in to dance out their final song (including me, before I jumped right back out to try and capture the frenzy on the floor). While I didn’t get to capture any shot to share here, I did help to take part in raining confetti over the stage and audience with one of the many confetti sticks Alex had laid down. It was a great start to the evening and if you didn’t know who CHAPPO was before the show, you certainly were aware of them afterwards.

If CHAPPO was the shot to start the show, On An On was the chaser that gave the audience some room for a breather before Big Data came out to close the night. No additional lights, no stage props, just the stage lights and the music. “Ghosts” was a highlight, but I wasn’t able to remember as much from their setlist as I wanted to a day removed from the show.

Big Data’s set played like one that rightfully belonged on the main stage of Stage AE, and I would be surprised if they didn’t find themselves playing there the next time they come back to Pittsburgh. Big Data played in front of a projector emblazoned with current web logos such as Twitter, Facebook and Netflix that were appropriated with Big Data’s name instead. I love how much care and skill was put into this digital imagery at different parts of the set, all referencing different sections of the digital age we consume. It was clever in poking fun at how entrenched we are into this digital age, but there were wonderful tongue-in-cheek moments that dealt with the different parts of the live show. I loved the Siri-like audio bits to allow everyone to take selfies of themselves at the show, asking for audience participation with the use of lights on their smartphones and introducing all the members of the band towards the end.

Having listened to their LP 2.0 released just a few weeks prior, I had been speaking to friends wondering how well their LP would translate to a live show with all the different collaborations. I got my answer Saturday night and the answer was an emphatic “Very well.” A lot of that has to do with the incorporation of Lizzie Ryan, who really made all the songs I loved on the album soar with her vocals alongside Big Data himself, Alan Wilkis. The set opened up with my personal favorite, the first track off of 2.0 “The Business of Emotion” and I don’t recall one moment anytime in the set where anything lagged all the way to the encore of “Dangerous”. There was even a great cover of “Private Eyes” before the end of their set which was perfectly in tone with their mocking digital overlord theme, and also further solidified that this show from Big Data as one of my favorites of the year already.

-Long Hong (instagram: @longqhong)