By Justin Charles

With all of the amazing music to take advantage of on a nightly basis, it is very rare for one event to stand out among the others. On Thursday night, at Budweiser’s Made in America tour stop at Roseland Ballroom, I had to pinch myself to assure my brain of the reality of the surroundings. Budweiser spared no expense in ensuring the capacity crowd was not just entertained, but were treated to a night they would never forget.

To get added to the guest list, all you had to do was RSVP on Facebook and allow Budweiser to write a promotional line on your wall. It was a small price for what awaited attendees inside Roseland Ballroom. The entire venue was transformed, with lights, tables, visual effects, and giveaways. Free cans of Budweiser lined the bar for all to indulge on. Popular food truck Mexicue set up a taco bar, completely free. There were also free hot dogs, mini pastrami sandwiches, and candied nuts being passed around. Everywhere you went there was some sort of free food or free beer.

Before I get to the music, I just want to praise the production team one more time. For such a high demand, and completely free show with an open bar, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. This event was completely organized. You were allowed to pick up wristbands earlier in the day, which allowed you to cut the line. The lines for beer were shorter than on an average night at Roseland. Overall, everything was run quite smoothly.

But free stuff aside, Budweiser picked a perfect line up for this New York City crowd. Local favorites Break Science were joined by live electronic duo Big Gigantic, who are about to embark on a nationwide tour in September. Break Science, made up of drummer Adam Deitch and keyboardist Borahm Lee, took the stage first, bringing their high-energy stage show to New York once again. Blending hip-hop, glitch, electro, and dubstep together with Deitch’s incredible live drumming, the duo completely won over anyone in the crowd who wasn’t already familiar with them. Deitch, who is also the drummer for Lettuce, among other projects, is one of the most versatile and talented drummers in the music scene right now.  Borahm Lee’s keys and mixing provide danceable beats that take twists and turns across different genres. Break Science is sometimes accompanied by vocalists, but this set seemed to be more focused on highlighting the duos instrumental virtuosity. These guys seem to just get better and better, as this was one of their best live performances I have ever seen.

After a brief break, the crowd revved up for Big Gigantic, comprised of Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken. Big Gigantic is one of the more unique livetronica acts out there, blending a variety of beats with Lalli’s saxophone riffs and solos, and Salken’s live drumming. Big Gigantic’s signature blend of hip hop, jazz, and electro has recently been met with the addition of dubstep, giving their live show even more energy, if that was even possible. The thunderous bass and smooth saxophone go surprisingly well together, while Salken’s drum keeps the beat moving. The crowd ate up this set of music, which featured a mix of classic songs, tracks from their new album, and even a few wildcard songs like Nero’s Promises towards the end of the set. After several high profile festival gigs this summer, Big Gigantic is seemingly on fire right now. I would definitely not miss them on their upcoming tour.

If the Made In America festival, taking place in Philadelphia on Labor Day weekend is as well put together as this small event, then the Northeast will have a fantastic new festival option for the coming years. I would highly consider thinking about taking the trip up to Philly if the line-up is up your alley. Budweiser put together a fantastic night, and Break Science and Big Gigantic put on a show that would have easily been worthy of a $40+ dollar ticket on a normal night.