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Concert review: GRiZ heats up Halloween

American DJ and producer GRiZ performed a sold-out show at Express Live Tuesday night as part of his “Good Will Continue” tour following the release of his remix album of the same name earlier this year.

Thankfully for his fans, it was the spookiest night of the year. Many guests came clad in costumes, including myself as a solo jazz patterned cup. The room was filled with an assortment of pop culture icons, aliens, skeletons and more.

The familiar DJ setup seemed oddly empty. Like most EDM stages, there were DJ tables with MIDI controllers, however, the setup lacked electronic drums, synthesizers, and other common producing tools. Each table was fitted with microphones and sat in front of a large LED screen as usual.

Everything seemed in order. Though I knew this would be no ordinary show.

To differentiate himself in the EDM scene, GRiZ is famous for playing the saxophone on stage to accompany his tracks.

As a Halloween treat, GRiZ entered wearing a wizard costume. Accompanying him on guitar was opener Muzzy Bearr donning a king of spades outfit. The set kicked off with a crowd favorite “Can’t Hold Me Down” with Muzzy Bearr nailing the song’s signature riff. To follow that up, the crowd grooved with GRiZ’s saxophone melodies.

The set had a healthy mix of tracks from his 2015 and 2016 albums “Say It Loud” and “Good Will Prevail” respectively — along with a couple classic 70s and 80s funk songs — but most were remixes from “Good Will Continue.” Nevertheless, GRiZ managed to fit in the original versions of popular tracks like “My Friends and I,” “Good Times Roll” and “Wicked.”

Each song lends itself to building friendships and with Tuesday night being Halloween, the result was a hilariously fun vibe. Concertgoers complimented each other’s costumes and formed dance circles. Crowd energy was at a non-stop high as the usual EDM concert shenanigans ensued.

Impressive visuals accompanied every song, each having their own theme. During “Can’t Hold Me Down,” the screen flashed corporate logos with their text replaced by uplifting words like “positivity” and “love.” The most notable visuals were during “Gotta Push On,” with psychedelic animations and rainbow colored lights creating silhouettes of the DJs jamming on their instruments.

The highlight of the show was a guitar/saxophone battle between Muzzy Bearr and GRiZ. The duo stood face-to-face center stage mirroring and improvising riffs resulting in a funky melody. After a hard-fought loss, Muzzy Bearr knighted his opponent. He kneeled as Grant Kwiecinski, but rose as “Sir GRiZ of House Funk.”

I’ve been to many festivals and EDM shows, but I’ve never experienced something quite like this. Maybe it was just the excitement of Halloween, but considering the live instrumentals and energetic atmosphere, GRiZ put on a show I won’t soon forget.

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