Atari pop

Big Digits and bigger pleasures
By ELISABETH DONNELLY  |  September 5, 2006

Big Digits, from earlier this year
The robot women of UV Protection claim, “We will protect you,” and it’s clear you want them on your side. It’s Thursday at Great Scott, the occasion is Big Digits’ CD-release show, and UV’s impeccable art-school stage set-up is augmented by some wonderfully absurd tributes to Boston’s best two-man rap duo. Images of Big Digits’ Mac Swell and TD stand like cardboard cutouts in front of UV Protection’s usual scrim, and everybody carries silver felt giant hands labeled “Big Digits” to wave around.

UV Protection can work a crowd — they set up the stage with a black light that rendered everything purple, making those cardboard Big Digits images stand out all the more. The audience, which had been dancing to lone Certified Banana Audiovandal’s supersweet Cassie and Annie mixes, stared rapt at the women as they played their Devo beats sweetened with trills of operatic vibrato. Their dancer dropped robot science while UV Protection sprayed the room with dollar bills. Some people started stuffing their friends’ pants with cash, pantomiming stripper moves. On closer inspection, it turned out the bills had photocopied images of Mac and TD in place of our first president’s mug.

With Big Digits’ cardboard faces dangling everywhere, even from the Great Scott rafters, the duo finally arrived on stage. They’ve moved on from those adorable matching outfits they used to wear and now have a tougher image. TD was in all white topped by a Mexican wrestling mask with a slit for eyes. Mac complemented that outfit by looking like a S&M-happy Mexican wrestler.

There was enough smoke to befit the new album’s title, Smoke Machines in Lazervision. And the new beats sounded like pingy ’80s Atari game blips playing videogame themes outfitted with raps delivered in a quick, ’80s-style flow. “Hey Birthday,” a new haters anthem, offered standouts like “Check the text message/You’re lame!” and “You think that you could model for American Apparel/But you get your fashion tips from Perry Farrell.”

The highlight was the Pixies’ “Gigantic” reinterpreted as frenetic videogame electropop. Mac got so into singing it that he stripped down to his underwear. The front row passed around his orange track pants while fans chanted “Big Digits love!” And we all went home with UV Protection Big Digits dollars crammed in our pockets and bras.

Related: Last man standing, Quaking in their cleats, Party like it’s 1989, More more >
  Topics: New England Music News , Culture and Lifestyle, Games, Hobbies and Pastimes,  More more >
| More

Most Popular