Denver local, “GRiZ” had his way with us once again as he finished off a consecutive three-night, four-show stint in the city last month. He began with a live band rehersal downtown at Denver’s Ogden Theatre Thursday night, a practice show of sorts preceding the following two sold-out nights of Red Rocks.
Night one on the rocks included his live band as well, where GRiZ got down on the sax with the other 15 members of the GRiZ Live Band, a feature he debuted on his Red Rocks tour in 2017. The funk dj lightens it up a little when all 16 play together, but don’t let this fool you: they still bring it. The band plays some of the artist’s newer music with some funk-covers in the mix that will give you goosebumps. Safe to say nights one and two were a success as smooth as the jazz they were full of.
While usually I’m all for a groovy, light-hearted jam sesh laden with instruments galore, a live-set more chill mix of covers and originals, the opposite is true when it comes to GRiZ. Red Rocks night two was my night, and god damn, he didn’t disappoint. I’ve seen GRiZ more than a handful of times, and this show was indubitably the best I’ve ever seen live. I wanted old GRiZ: grimy, hard, in-your-face GRiZ, and shit, he gave me all of it.
He came in hot with an opener of “Boogie Time,” into a dirty “Glitch Hop is Dead” drop. Night two was light on tracks off his newest album “Good Will Prevail,” outside of the heavy “I Don’t Mind,” which I didn’t either, simply because old GRiZ goes so much harder than most of new GRiZ. No shade to GRiZ, just here to present the facts.
GRiZ and his guitarist Muzzy Bear stood side by side on stage and went back and forth in a banter on their respective instruments and continued to break it down with a “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” remix that blew me away. The funk proceeded with “Good Times Roll,” featuring Big Gigantic, allowing for the only negative of the set, being that Dominic Lalli didn’t come out to play the song live. But, I mean, I wouldn’t want the deaths that would inevitably ensue from us all dropping dead on my hands either if he had brought him out for this.
My disappointment was soon reversed back to satisfaction when I got the song I’d been chasing for years. Things got DIRTY when he dropped “Dance with Me” off his first album “End of the World Party,” a song most newer fans have never even heard of at all, let alone seen live. He danced all over the stage, silently begging me to join him, a struggle kept at bay only by the shock that overtook my entire being holding me back from jumping up there with him.
The gratification didn’t stop there, as he continued to destroy the venue with a “My Friends and I” remix he called “Part 2” that I’d never heard before. GRiZ reminded us all that “The Future is Now,” a song off my favorite album, “Mad Liberation,” embodying both it’s title and his self-proclaimed “future-funk” sound, in their truest forms.
The Red Rocks run might have ended, but the GRiZ run hadn’t just quite yet, with an afterparty following night two at The Gothic Theatre. While I could’ve listened to him slay for days on end, even GRiZ has to be tired after three consecutive nights in The Mile High City. He came on stage, grabbed the mic and said “Current mood: no fucks given” and threw down the dirtiest 30 minutes we could’ve asked for.
It had been all too long since I’d seen the funk legend do his thing, and he left me more than just fulfilled. Get your GRiZ void filled this weekend at Moonrise, next month at Imagine, or in October at Breakaway. He never disappoints.