On Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27, Wilmington, North Carolina celebrated the annual GRiZmas in July special at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, a mid-size outdoor venue with a seating capacity around 1200. Grant Kwiecinski, commonly known as GRiZ, is an electronic music producer from Detroit, Michigan, who possesses an incredible ability to connect with his fans and unite people around the universal language of music. His style fuses funk and electronic dance music, and often incorporates saxophone, guitar and other live instruments.
After seeing GRiZ ten times, I’m amazed that every performance has been so different. I love what the music stands for and the message behind it. It isn’t about partying, money or success. It’s about love and freedom. GRiZ delivers inspiration to feel empowered to chase the life you dream of.
On the first day of GRiZmas, the weather was absolutely perfect as thousands of people were flooding into Greenfield Lake Amphitheater for another sold-out show. GRiZ’s Liberators greeted attendees as they arrived and fostered an atmosphere of equality, compassion and freedom. Before the music even started, concert goers felt united through showing and spreading love.
Marley Carroll kicked off the party with a chill electronic introduction, combining elements of soul, disco, afrobeat and house genres. Carroll has shared the stage with artists like Floating Points and Bonobo, gaining notoriety at music festivals such as Coachella and Moogfest. A seasoned producer and DJ, the Asheville native truly succeeded in setting the perfect mood for GRiZ’s performance.
GRiZ took the stage and immediately led the audience through a group meditation of breathing exercises and positive thoughts. After reminding us to love and take care of each other, he proceeded to open up with “I’ve Been Dreamin’”, a SoundCloud exclusive from his album titled Chasing the Golden Hour, Part 2. GRiZ’s best friend and guitarist, Muzzy Bearr, rocked the stage too, contributing to harmonies between saxophone and guitar that won’t ever be forgotten.
After performing an hour of music handpicked to compliment the sunset, GRiZ turned it up a notch; breaking out some heavier tunes from his extensive archive of original music. GRiZ is the king of the crossroads between funk and dubstep, and that did not go unnoticed this GRiZmas. In addition to funk and dubstep, hip hop was proudly represented by ProbCause, who performed alongside GRiZ and Muzzy Bear during some of their collaborations such as “Smoke That” and “My Friends and I”.
To our surprise, GRiZ closed his set with “Come Too Far”, a rare song to hear from CTGH Part 2. While GRiZ and Muzzy Bear shared an intimate collaborative solo as the track faded into the sunset, Freddy Todd appeared next to me in the crowd and noticed I was wearing a hat with his own name on it. He was flattered and hung out with my friend group for the rest of the show. I was able to spend the final moments of night one at GRiZmas alongside one of the most talented electronic music producers in the festival circuit.
Greenfield Lake Amphitheater has hosted GRiZmas in July once before, and to much success. This venue rarely hosts electronic music but has made exceptions for artists such as Gramatik and everyone’s favorite Detroit sax-master. With the growing listenership for music of the electronic genres, it’s likely that we’ll see more events oriented toward the EDM community at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater.
I would highly recommend GRiZ to anyone who loves funky electronic music. His live performances and recorded discography are equally impressive, and his love for the fans is unmatched. Music is GRiZ’s passion and it certainly shows when he performs on-stage.