Grant Kwiecinski is a man of many talents to match his musical tastes. Commonly known as GRiZ, the 27-year old producer from Michigan is riding high off his latest release, Good Will Prevail. The album debuted at #1 on the electronic charts while simultaneously available as a free download, along with his entire catalogue. Always eager to spread the good vibes, GRiZ is back for another North American fall tour, kicking off last night at The Observatory in Santa Ana.
The energy was at a 10 from the very start as Kwiecinski hyped the crowd up and jumped into his set. A minimal approach, the stage was flanked with backing lights, a projector featuring cartoon images and two podiums. One for his guitarist and the other himself, housing his DJ set up and of course that sweet ass saxophone.
“Get Down” was an early hit that showcased his wide range of funk, hip-hop, and electro styles. The all-ages crowd was a diverse mix of hippies, burners, beach bros and club girls. I thought at first it may be an odd choice for the venue, but that’s the beauty of music, it brings people together.
GRiZ has become a champion of the live electronic landscape; effortlessly blending improvised saxophone, guitar, vocals and more over booming bass lines, hard drops, and some of the most creative transitions in the game. Stand out tracks included “Feelin’ Fine” and “Good Times Roll,” while mixing in club bangers like Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” which the crowd ate up.
One of the high points during the night found the producer spinning “Play That Funky Music (White Boy)” by Wild Cherry with the audience singing along word for word and pacing the vibe along.
The music was non-stop and GRiZ took us on a journey with “Hard Times,” one of his earlier jams. Mixing in his maestro guitarist with backing vocals, he commanded the stage with his saxophone. Pacing up and down, the soothing horn does something special to the ear, relaxing yet invigorating.
Towards the end of his set heard “Where’s The Love,” a common theme from the archives. A soulful rendition featuring glitchy vocals, guitar solos and that bass drop to keep the party bouncing. With EDM here to stay, guys like GRiZ are taking conventional methods of the genre and branding it with his own personal style. Fans pleaded for more on this night, ever after the encore, a powerful sign for the funky one.