Behind the scenes at Summer Set Music Festival

TROY MANLEY

thmanley09@ole.augie.edu

Somerset, Wisc. served as the scene for Summer Set Music and Camping Festival from August 24-26. The festival was something that I, along with friends, had been looking forward to all summer. I was granted media credentials and interviews with Big Gigantic and Midnight Conspiracy.

After watching several top-of-the-line acts, such as Yelawolf, Prof and Zeds Dead, it was my turn to meet up with the headliner for the night, Big Gigantic, for a one-on-one interview.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Big Gigantic–comprised by Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken–their music is a blend of electronc, jazz, jam and funk beats.

With live saxophone and drums, they are a show not to be missed, which explains their headlining position on nearly every major music festival of the 2012 season.

With music as riveting as theirs and a name so unique, I was tasked with finding its meaning. Unfortunately, there isn’t an interesting origon for the name. Lalli said he simply thought of it while walking down the street one day.

When asked what continues to push Big Gigantic to produce their innovative style of music, they said they’re “trying to keep the music as fresh as possible with the drums and sax while making it personal at the same time. We were musicians first. We’ve been doing the instrument thing all along.”

They played in Sioux Falls at Club David in Feb. 2011 and said of their performance, “Sioux Falls was one of our favorites. We will never forget that one.”

As part of their upcoming tour, the band scheduled a stop in Sioux Falls for Oct. 23 at the Vault. Be sure to check out this band.

I was also lucky enough to catch up with Midnight Conspiracy. I first heard of the band while attending Lollapalooza in Chicago this past summer. Their music and lights caught my attention immediately; however, it was something else that left an imprint in my mind.

In the middle of their set, they stopped everything–music, lights, etc.–and asked a young man from the side of the stage to come out.

The young man, Drew, has a physical disability that renders him reliant on a wheelchair. Upon wheeling out, the band began to explain that it was his birthday.

When asked about how this act of kindness came about, a band member replied, “He Twitters us a lot. He basically just asked for a birthday shout out. During the show I had two guys go find him in the crowd and bring him outside, through the alley and in the back enterance. The next thing he knows, he’s on the stage with us.”

It’s stuff like that that separates Midnight Conspiracy from the rest of today’s electronic bands.

The culture of electronic music is evolving. According to Midnight Conspiracy, “It’s no longer that you can get up there with DJs and a mixer and rock the show. It has become a live performance.”

Although Midnight Conspiracy has never played in Sioux Falls, they expressed that they would love to come rock this town.

All in all, for 2012 being the inaugural year for the Summer Set Music and Camping Festival, I would say the weekend was a smashing success. I give kudos to the event production team, all the staff, and all the artists.