Live Review: GRiZ @ The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver – October 18th 2019

This weekend, GRiZ brought the funky bass lines of his new album, Ride Waves, to Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom. The Michigan born artist, age 29, is a true jack of all trades. He produces, song-writes, raps and even plays his own instruments. He incorporated all of these talents into his Saturday night show, frequently jumping up from behind the DJ booth for a crazy saxophone solo. 

GRiZ, whose real name is Grant Kwiecinski, isn’t only known for his catchy tunes. He has used his platform to give back to his community and empower his fans. As one of the few openly gay artists in the electronic music scene, GRiZ has been vocal about his struggles with depression and anxiety during the years that he kept his sexuality a secret. The artist even started his own music festival, 12 days of GRiZMAS, from which all of the proceeds go towards improving access to music education in Detroit. 

To think that GRiZ also runs his own record label, headlines major festivals, sells out shows at some of the largest venues in the US and releases a steady stream of music, you wouldn’t expect the artist to have so much energy on stage. Even though Vancouver was one of the many stops on his Ride Waves Season Two tour, GRiZ performed like it was the only stop. He seemed to be having just as much fun as the crowd. When he wasn’t DJing, rapping or playing the sax, he was dancing along with the audience. 

A highlight of the show was when GRiZ dropped a mashup of Bassnectar’s Underground, which had the crowd going wild – picture a sea of head-banging spirit hoods. For many songs off of Ride Waves, GRiZ brought out vocalists and trumpet players. During Cruise Control, he pulled out all of the stops, playing the sax while his vocalist belted out the lyrics and trumpeters flanked either side of the stage. For other tracks, like the popular Griztronics, he stayed behind the DJ booth, letting the strobe lights and lasers steal the show. 

GRiZ connects with his fans in a way that few artists are able to, presumably because his music is such a clear extension of his persona. The artist aims to lift his fans up with his funky, upbeat tunes – and judging by the audiences’ smiles during his show, he succeeds. The good vibes that he spreads with his music take on a greater meaning when they come from a guy with such an obviously good heart. 

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