11-14-14 Big Data seduces Terminal 5 in NYC, November 12th, 2014
When Warner Brothers Records PR hooked me up with a ticket and photo pass to the Big Data show I was totally psyched! I posted about them in July so I already knew I liked their music. But now I was going to see them live, at a sold out show, opening for Fitz and the Tantrums.
Big Data is an electro band with a theme of internet paranoia, which gives an interesting psychological edge to their presentation and music. For example, at the beginning of their show, a computer voice asked us to tweet, instagram and generally post anything we could about the band. The voice then identified itself as the NSA and introduced the band. That was pretty cool.
I noticed right away that Alan Wilkis, the “mastermind” behind the band was extremely psyched to be onstage. He sported sunglasses and blue light-up drumsticks. His female lead singer had insane stage presence like a siren of digital doom. Unfortunately, I’m unable to identify her or any of the rest of the band. As you can probably tell, there isn’t a lot of information out yet; but I have a feeling Alan Wilkis wants it that way. It definitely fits nicely into his theme of internet government paranoia. And he’s probably well aware that mystery is a great way to get people intrigued. Therefore, I will refer to his female lead singer as the “Siren”.
Big Data ended up playing their entire EP during the show. After the second song, Wilkis grabbed his Siren and they danced together. It was fun to see they weren’t taking themselves too seriously. I looked around and noticed the large crowd was surprised and quiet. Keep in mind that Wilkis and the Siren were both wearing red shoes and Wilkis’ moves throughout the show were robotic whilst the Siren danced around seductively. So they made a pretty weird pair (in a good way). At one point Wilkis even “powered down” at the edge of the stage looking straight down into the photo pit. However, by the end of their set, the crowd was used to their odd stage antics and was loving the music. So Big Data even played two new songs.
To my ear, they are a mixture of influences including Muse, Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel among many others I’m sure. And the only mild negative about the show was the Siren hitting several flat notes, but what band doesn’t when they’re starting out? They get a big pass.
At the end, they finished with their hit single “Dangerous” and the crowd was dancing, as the drummer really got into it. At the end of their set, Wilkis looked out over the crowd and reached for his cell phone saying, “I want to take a picture of your beautiful faces”. Here’s the photo Wilkis snapped! Then he thanked the venue, the audience and Fitz and the Tantrums. In an even classier move, I noticed both he and the Siren were helping the crew break down the Big Data set. Wilkis was even having a conversation with one of the roadies. I thought that was cool.
After the show, I bumped into another photographer who told me she was friends with Wilkis and that he’d worked for around 10 years in the music industry (including doing remixes of other bands’ singles) before founding Big Data. That’s part of the reason Big Data has done so well, so quickly. That, and they’re actually good. She said seeing him perform at Terminal 5 made her realize he’s now a rock star!
It’s ironic (I’m guessing intentionally) that the same social media causing Alan Wilkis such “paranoia”, is the very same that will make his band big. And it will, because Big Data is going to create just that… They’re gonna be big, so catch them if you get the chance.
See Big Data’s blog for more information.
UPDATE: I’ve since seen learned that the Siren’s name is Liz Ryan.
Here’s a gallery of my photos from the show:
And here’s a good article about how “big data” is used in the music industry!
Special thanks to Warner Brothers Music PR for the entry to the show. Much appreciated!