GRiZ brings two nights of saxophone solos and special guests to Los Angeles for his ‘My Friends and I’ Tour
Detroit-based producer/saxophonist GRiZ isn’t content to sit still while writing his next album. In late January, the All Good Records don announced a surprise nine-date tour, bringing his unique blend of electro-funk to intimate venues throughout the country.Two of those dates brought the show to Los Angeles, the only city with multiple performances besides GRiZ’s hometown. The sold-out shows took over the historic Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip and Masonic Lodge at the iconic Hollywood Forever cemetery on February 19 and 20 respectively.
Photo credit: The Roxy Theatre
Friday night, multi-instrumentalist Big Wild — one of Dancing Astronaut’s 25 Artists to Watch in 2016 — played to a crowd that packed the Roxy from the moment doors opened. This is not the first time that GRiZ has brought the Los Angeles-based producer on tour throughout the country, but the rising star was a more natural fit than ever. His groovy set made heavy usage of live keyboards and drumpads, and dovetailed seamlessly into GRiZ’s performance.
GRiZ delivered on his tour name, “My Friends and I,” sharing the stage throughout with labelmate and frequent collaborator Muzzy Bear on guitar duties. Ida Hawk, the soulful vocalist featured on “Stop Trippin,'” came out for a live rendition of the song, and previewed a new collaboration with GRiZ to roaring affirmation from the crowd. The undisputed pinnacle of the night came when GRiZ was joined onstage by his full live band, who closed out the show with an electrifying finale. GRiZ, ever the people’s artist, returned for a lengthy encore.
Photo credit: Laine Kelley
The Masonic Lodge stripped down the separation between GRiZ and friends and audience members even further. At the unconventional venue, there was no VIP section or bottle service- just several feet of height separating the stage from the floor. A projected screen behind the booth allowed the lighting designers to get a little creative, with clips from Kill Bill, the dream sequence from the Big Lebowski, and retro cuts from Pokémon adding to the sensory experience.
As electronic music fans in the United States grow ever more fatigued of the ubiquitous pre-recorded set, the demand for live elements in electronic performances is driving resurgent interest to established acts like GRiZ, Big Gigantic, and Ratatat. GRiZ’s Los Angeles performances, and the “My Friends and I” tour as a whole, is ultimately a small-room answer to big-room exhaustion.