Judging by the exodus of people dressed in elaborate costumes that left before Big Data’s performance, it was clear that many only attended alt 103.3’s Wicked Ball for the costume contest. Those who left, however, missed out on an exquisite act.
Before the makeshift parade of the best dressed, opener Party Line got the ball rolling with a fun, jazzy set. Worth mentioning was the pants-less keyboardist– and the lack of support in his underwear. Yikes.
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t have the highest expectations for the show. Described as a “music project” rather than a band, the group only had one or two songs the audience would likely be able to identify. Yet the audience’s impression quickly turned from, “yeah, I’ll stay for the show,” to, “I would pay money to watch that woman drink my beer.”
Continuous with the band’s robotic aesthetic and 1984-esque message, there was a strange disconnect from the audience. Interaction between the stage and floor was minimal, and eye contact was prevented by the sunglasses they wore the entire time. Rather than being irritating, however, this element was mesmerizing. There was an air of sophistication on the stage, originating from the choreography, attire, attitude, and precision of the group. Everything was calculated and orchestrated, from the time between songs to the dynamic between the frontman and woman.
The first song featured an intro with sharp choreography that resembled a classed-up robot. Throughout the rest of the set, the songs were punctuated with the same smooth, quick motions. This served as a reminder that the band had an ultimate design to their performance that the audience didn’t know about. In between these motions, the singers could move about, but they were always snapped back to the same synchronization.
It’s perhaps unfair to say that frontwoman Liz Ryan stole the show, but her commanding demeanor and blatant confidence was certainly hard to ignore. Despite not being the (literal) face of the band, she proved to be some real competition for Alan Wilkis in terms of attention. Between the two of them, however, no one was looking at their phones during the set- or the other members of the band, for that matter. Wearing all white and serving as more of an addition to the aesthetic, they remained stationary and were given nothing more than brief mentioning by the computer voice that occasionally piped up between songs.
The vocals were absolutely exquisite. Liz’s passion harmonized perfectly with Alan’s steadiness (this is perhaps a benefit of a music project vs. a band.), creating a beautiful dynamic. The stage presence, along with the genuine talent, made the audience question why they had ever doubted that it would be a great show.
All this talk of aesthetics and stage presence is not at all to say that the music was lacking. With music that’s much more electronic than instrument-based, however, it’s hard to have all that much variability in terms of instrumentals.
Surpassing anyone’s expectations, Big Data showcased levels of talent disproportionate to their popularity. Hopefully, word will get out that these guys provide an artistic, sophisticated, enrapturing performance.
[lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Big Data at Indianapolis Wicked Ball /\”]