It wasn’t long ago when producer, composer and vocalist Jackson Stell was just a hip-hop beat producer known as J Beatz, or just a composer for an ad agency. And it wasn’t long ago he was an opening act for someone else.
A lot has happened for Stell in the last four years. He has combined all his talents to find a home in electronic music as one of the genre’s rising stars under the moniker Big Wild.
After his debut tack “Aftergold” in 2015, things started moving fast. With an EP “Invincible” in 2017, Big Wild now has his first album “Superdream” this year, warranting a world tour.
The Sylvee was a perfect fit for Big Wild. It was enough space for people to pack in the main area to groove and move to his music, and intimate to the point where you could feel the positive vibes radiating from Stell’s long, flowing hair and assortment of drum pads, keyboard and synths.
The combination of the intimate setting and Big Wild’s musical style made for an electronic concert unlike any other. Being so close to the stage, his music wasn’t banging my ear drums to the point of exhaustion like many other electronic/EDM type artists. The sound was clear and enjoyable and the array of changing colors and designs behind the artist made for a compelling visual aspect.
A lot of artists who come through Madison venues have a knack for crowd dialogue and interaction, but aside from a brief greeting, a couple sing-along requests and a crowd call, Big Wild was less interested in that aspect of the show. He was on a mission to perform and most people in attendance appeared to be fine with that. He had people breaking out their moves all night, so why stop to chat and when you’re putting your audience into a musical trance.
Some of the biggest highlights of the night included a “Born to be Wild” remix, which started off as the classic rock song and quickly transitioned into a unique electronic fusion that he made completely his own.
Other highlights included some of his most popular tracks, “When I get There,” “6’s to 9’s,” “Aftergold” and “Pale Blue Dot.” You could hear roars from the crowd as each of these songs began.
At one point during his performance he whistled through an entire song, in tune. Mad impressive. For someone like myself who cannot whistle, watching Stell do it was incredible. He didn’t bring out his vocal performance often, and he doesn’t in his songs all that much, but when he did you could tell he has a suitable voice that works when he needs it.
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Big Wild elected to use the drum pad set a lot throughout the show, more so than the keys, and it was fun for the audience to see him rock out, banging on the drum pads. At one point he brought out a single drum in the middle of the set and rocked out on that as well.
The only complaint I have about the Big Wild concert is that I wanted more. He came out around 10 p.m. after two openers and played only until 10:50 p.m.
As Big Wild continues to make more music, his concerts will add even more depth and length. I will make sure I’m back to see him again.