Big Wild Makes His “Superdream” a Stunning Reality at Observatory Tour Debut

Big Wild at The Observatory (Credit: Niyaz Pirani)

Big Wild brought his debut LP Superdream to life Wednesday night at The Observatory in Santa Ana, with the unveiling of the Superdream Tour before a gyrating, sweaty, sold-out crowd.

Known for remixing the work of artists including Odesza, CHVRCHES, and Sylvan Esso, plus his own 2017 “Invincible EP,” Big Wild—DJ/producer/singer-songwriter Jackson Stell—has made his name on a tireless creation and touring ethic, including shows at Coachella’s Do-LaB in 2016, the famed Red Rocks in Colorado, and a streamed set at EDC 2018 that helped to further expose him to a global audience.

Live, much like the duo Disclosure, Stell frantically goes from belting out notes to slamming down beats on an array of electronic drum pads. He’s also prone to slapping on a cajon, basically a South American box drum, while breaking out some mad whistling skills, too.

Playing in front of a massive video screen that took up the entirety of the stage, Big Wild unleashed the majority the album with assists from guitarist Hayley Johnsen and singers Ida Hawk and Moorea Masa.

The visuals matched the album’s ethereal sound, with wide desert landscapes, bursting colors and morphing shapes exploding into existence behind the performance. “Superdream” (which he wrote the music for performs lead vocals duties) reflects the love, inspiration, and hope that he mined from battling and beating thyroid cancer.

“I’m thankful for my experience with cancer because of how it changed my view on living my life,” he wrote on Instagram when announcing the album. “It gives me the courage to try new things and push myself, and gave me the courage to write … all of the music on Superdream.

The album is bouncy and bass heavy, soulful and soaring, with sweeping drops and even an acoustic interlude tucked in there for texture. Funk and disco touches are weaved through the overall sound. It’s built for big arenas, festivals and commercials.

At the Observatory, he threw in a cover of “Born to Be Wild,” (how could you not, honestly) and shined on the crowd-uniting “Joypunks.” Album standouts “6’s to 9’s” and “City of Sound” earned the crowd’s enthusiastic approval, and singer Ida Hawk left the crowd in a roaring frenzy with her turn on “Alley-Oop.”

If Stell’s proven anything, it’s that his vision will continue to evolve. Get in on the fun while you can still can, because these small venues won’t be able to fit such big dreams for too long.

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