by DJ Fizzi Pop
On October 26, I had the opportunity to attend the finale show of the second season of GRiZ’s Ride Waves tour at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. After a brief hiatus from social media platforms last year, GRiZ (a.k.a. Grant Kwiecinski) hit the ground running with an epic musical comeback following the release of his Ride Waves album in April 2019. Decked with a whole new sound, an increase in production quality, star-studded features (including Matisyahu, Wiz Khalifa, and Snoop Dogg), and detailed album graphics to match, this new era of GRiZ is one to keep your eyes and ears on. Tracks like “The Prayer” and “Caught Up” still have the good ol’ funky saxophone mixed with heavy bass elements that grabbed my interest in his music in the first place, but the additions of elements of musical variety including gospel,hip-hop, and even some soul all mixed with unheard-of electronic music features really blows this release out of the water in comparison to his previous releases.
Following Ride Waves, Grant has been relentlessly producing and releasing mini-EP’s to the world in a series of “Bangers”, with 4 so far. These EPs have gained more popularity than ever in the music world with their high-energy sound, well used samples, yet still combining with the OG Griz sound, each release keeps the fans wanting more and each one is more epic than the last. You might remember the release of “Griztronics” off Bangers 2 featuring bass music legend Subtronics, which instantly became the festival staple of the summer. I don’t think I’ve heard a more remixed and flipped song in many producer’s sets within the last 3 months songs have been released since Griztronics. Bangers 4 has to be my personal favorite, with elements of house/techno mixed with electro-funk in “Gonna Get Funky” taking the crown for me as most influential song of 2019.
From the five past times I’ve seen GRiZ live, this set was the most professionally curated and immersive in terms of visual aesthetics than the past performances. Each song flowed smoothly to the next one with tracks featured from allthe Bangers EPs and the Ride Waves album and little to no flaws happening throughout. Although I was a tiny bit disappointed I didn’t hear any of the old GRiZ classics, it was refreshing to see how much has improved and changed from those albums to these current releases. Each song had a guest feature on stage, whether it was Muzzy Bearr on guitar or Probcause on the raps. This show additionally brought lasers and visuals to the next level, with rainbow spectrum lights filling the amphitheater, triggered by every note and beat and seamlessly bringing about the aura of every track. Songs that blew the audience away included “Ice Cream” with its heavy dubstep elements, and “Tiger Kingdom Space Camp,” that featured a special appearance from the UC Berkeley drum line!
What was really special about this performance was the energy felt from both the performers and the crowd itself. Positivity flowed throughout the entire venue, with every fan having a smile on their face, whether they were a GRiZ veteran or if this was their first show ever. That’s what’s so appealing about GRiZ himself: his very message is ‘show love, spread love,’ emphasizing good vibes, respect, equality, and just pure fun in not only his music but his everyday life. And even with all the massive production and amount of guests brought on stage, Grant Kwiecinski still managed to be his own goofy self, even winking to the crowd before exiting the stage. As someone who’s followed GRiZ for my entire electronic music career, it’s exciting to see him curate his own image and envelope these messages from his music into everything he does in the industry. 10/10 vibes, 10/10 show.
DJ Fizzi Pop’s show Soundwave Sanctuary airs only on KZSC Santa Cruz 88.1 FM.
You can check out other interviews and festival coverage by DJ Fizzi Pop here: https://kzsc.org/?s=dj+fizzi+pop
GRiZ’s website for tour and music updates: https://www.mynameisgriz.com/