[Night Out] Big Data @ Bowery Ballroom (3/24/2015)
The irony was not lost on me last Tuesday night as I stood inside the Bowery Ballroom grinning ear to ear as the sweet sounds of Big Data washed over me and cheered amongst enthusiastic newcomers to the brilliance that is the work of my "broadband bud" Alan Wilkis.
(As longtime readers know, when the SKOA family chooses to champion an artist, we are in it for the long haul with them. We shout your name from the rooftops to anyone who will hear us, we celebrate every success no matter the size, and we patiently wait for the day when everyone else finally sees what we see in them: that they are some kind of awesome. A reminder: as nice as it may seem to have the bragging rights of knowing them before anyone else did, at the end of the day their success is our greatest pleasure and the most important thing to us.)
A little back story here: In early 2010, Rocko discovered this really great remix of RJD2 - "The Shining Path" which was done by none other than Mr. Alan Wilkis. After some digging we learned that he had also been working with The Kickdrums, which essentially sealed the deal for us in terms of giving him our full support. Alan proved to be a really chill dude who was even up for grabbing drinks with strangers from the internet the first time Rocko ever came to hang in NYC with the family.
I call him my "broadband bud" because other than bumping into Alan a few times at shows or the occasional bar, the extent to our friendship has been strictly digital. This is not a complaint, it's just how life is now. These days you make a brief physical connection to someone once and thanks to the power of the internet it's possible to never really shake certain people. Mind you, this isn't all THAT uncommon in the music business, but it still doesn't make the concept any less silly. In addition to the ongoing support for his many remixes and projects on the site, myself and the rest of the SKOA family have mostly exchanged a few tweets, likes, and emails over the course of our 5 year friendship. That all said, as I stood in front of him last night snapping photos feeling prouder of him than I have of my own accomplishments in the past 5 years, I couldn't help but laugh at myself and what our society has become with help from our good ol' friend technology.
As you will soon learn from hearing his debut album, 2.0, or experiencing his thought provoking live show, my broadband bud Alan shares the same conflicted feelings that I do about where we are in this new age of technology. We all want to feel connected, but there are so many complicated icky things that come with being a citizen of the internet, especially now more than ever. The Siri-esque AI that MCs Big Data's show last night was certainly not one to shy away from bringing up topics such as the data mining that is used by websites to sell products to us, claiming that they "know us" as if they were our "friends". You're probably being delivered one of those fun ads on this very page that you're reading, in fact. (Sorry.)
After the band closed out the evening with their breakout hit, "Dangerous", I queued the coat check line, enduring the incessant gushing of a new fan with unfortunately bad breath. I pondered whether to seek out Alan and congratulate him based on the newfound invalidity my relationship suddenly felt that was brought on in part by the very experience that he had been responsible for delivering that evening. I was very uneasy because I have always taken the approach to celebrate and embrace the majority of what the internet has to offer, but I worried that maybe my approach was, if I may attempt to make a pun here, dangerous, because it has slowly made so many aspects of my life such enormous gray areas, relationships included. Then I considered that whatever way I have been internetting brought me to this moment of self-reflection by means of someone who I considered an albeit casual friend, so maybe the internet couldn't be all that bad.
I ushered some girls who had been attempting to talk to me throughout the opening bands back upstairs so they could meet Alan. One actually gushed to him that she thought he was going to be the next LCD Soundsystem. It was a pretty adorable moment. After I had a brief rock mama moment with Alan, my new friends wanted wanted to make sure they could tag me in their Instagram photos so presumably we would be tied together to this one moment indefinitely on the internet (btw - I'm the one snapping photos in that photo, obvi).
It's weird how I never even thought twice about this kind of interaction until this show, but I guess that just means that 2.0 really does sink in when you're not caught up in all of the uncontrollable hip shaking that occurs when listening to it.