REVIEW: Big Wild at Turner Hall Ballroom

The atmosphere was buzzing on Thursday night as Turner Hall Ballroom progressively filled up for producer/DJ Jackson Stell, better known as Big Wild. The EDM act was touring in support of his debut full-length, “Superdream”, and has garnered local airplay with catchy single, “6’s To 9’s”. Stell brought that track and plenty more to Milwaukee, amping up an already energetic crowd with his live show.

Opener Robotaki set the tone for the night, with a solid set featuring live production on electronic drum pads, but that energy increased tenfold by the time that Big Wild took the stage. Aided by a guitarist, bass player, and at one point, picking up a guitar himself, Stell proved that he was much more than your run of the mill EDM DJ. In fact, at the core of his roughly hour long set on Thursday, it felt like the purpose of the show was to prove just that. Stell thrashed while standing on a drum kit, hit the aforementioned guitar tracks, and also gave an enthusiastic performance on a cajon, showing off the dimensions of his skill.

Photo by Quinn Beaupre

While the beginning of the night had more of a (comparatively) downtempo indie pop feel to it, the set slowly but surely devolved into a more club-friendly show, aided by large production screens and an assortment of strobe lights. Stell was spirited on stage, matching the crowd’s enthusiasm with his hair whipping and head banging along to every track. As the set wound down, a pseudo-cover of the all-too-fitting Steppenwolf hit “Born To Be Wild” and “6’s To 9’s” were crowd favorites. Big Wild was out to distinguish himself as more than your average DJ, and did just that for a sizable crowd on Thursday night.

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