I\’ll start by stating the obvious: I love EDM.
While I have been a life long lover of almost all styles of music from indie rock to hip hop to screamo to classic rock to disco, there\’s just something about EDM that I feel expresses sentiments I feel about life that words never could: My passion for living in moment, sucking all the marrow out of every single day I\’m on this earth, finding something to smile about even when life has other plans, spreading my positivity to others, and, of course, always having a soundtrack for every moment of life. They\’re feelings I\’ve alwasys held deep inside my soul, and no other genre expresses it quite as effectively. And there\’s one artist who brings all that and more to every show he plays, that that is my main man Griz.
Let me give you a brief lowdown of my Friday night at Freaky Deaky last week. I arrived a around 7 pm after sitting in traffic for nearly three hours (I\’m all the way up by Loyola, so yeah, fuck that), so I had tons of pent up energy and I was ready to spend it on the first banging DJ set that heard. When I walked in, I heard the booming bass of the hit single \”Tsunami\” coming from The Shrine tent, and made my way over there to let off some steam during Borgeous\’ set, not expecting any big artistic statements to be made. And you know what? I had a fucking blast. Was there anything groundbreaking about the music, visuals, or his performance? Not really. It was an hour of \”Three, two, one, Go\’s!\”, clouds of weed smoke above the crowd, fist-pumping kids, and of course, big room banger after big room banger. It was the perfect warm up for my night, because after he was done, Griz would take the stage, and I knew my night was about to kick into high gear.
Griz has always been about as far away as possible from those Top 100 \”push play\” DJs of recent times that one possibly could. He takes every aspect of a \”typical\” EDM show (such as the trippy lights, banging bass, and colorful visuals of Borgeous, for example) and breathes new life into it by adding something new and different.
First and most obviously is the music. He started his set by playing some of his newer singles and some tracks from his newest alum, Say It Loud. His music has always been one of a kind because he is an EDM producer whose music was inspired by things other than sweaty dance floors and late nights. I feel a personal connection with his music because he, like me, has been inspired by all different styles of music all throughout his life, and he uses his shows as a tribute to the sounds that shaped him as a musician. His music blends elements of classic soul/R&B, funk, blues, hip hop, disco, and dubstep, and they\’re all mixed together in his shows in such a way that it\’s more than just a diverse musical experience, its a love letter to the art of music. One of the trademarks of live Griz shows is remixes and incorporation of older, classic, non-EDM songs into his sets. This time, he threw in the classic R&B track \”Ain\’t no Mountain High Enough\” and a dub remix of the indie rock tune \”Wake Up\” by The Arcade Fire, which you can view guerilla footage of below. Every single person in the audience was singing along to these amazing songs they forgot they loved so much until this moment, and I really felt that he was making an incredible connection with each and every one of us in the crowd through these forgotten gems.
Another trademark of his shows that make them unforgettable is his trusty sax, which he learned to play as a teen in high school band class. He brings it along to all his shows, and as a former band geek myself (where my drumline peeps at?!) I appreciate that he\’s paving the way for other artists to use acoustic instruments to their advantage during electronic music shows, and it\’s something I would love to see more of. Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than watching a performer who is absolutely loving every second of what they\’re doing, and hearing him wail on his sax while crushing bass rips through the speakers behind him is a truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Next up is his lights and visuals. They seem kind of basic at first, with trippy strobe lights and colorful lasers, but if you pay close attention you\’ll realize how well he syncs them with the music. Check out this video of him performing \”The Anthem\”:
And he doesn\’t stop there. He also used the top of the tent as a canvas for truly unique visual presentation. One of my favorite moments of the show was when he unleashed a heap of confetti and glitter into the crowd while crazy laser projections danced over the ceiling during \”A Fine Way To Die\”:
When you seen a artist like Griz perform, you can\’t help but think \”this is the music of the new generation.\” I will always pay top dollar to attend a Griz show whenever he is in town because I feel like I am witnessing the future and natural evolutions of music performance. When we think of some of the most iconic performances in modern history, from the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, to Hendrix at Woodstock, to Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, to The Talking Heads in \”Stop Making Sense\”, and Nirvana on MTV Unplugged, I feel like one day Griz, who is still only 25 years old, will one day have a performance we can add to that list of legends.