Electro-funk maestro Griz made his way to The Brooklyn Mirage on Wednesday night, September 22, for the first of two shows dubbed “in the round and phone free.” A small stage was set up in the middle of the Mirage’s courtyard, just barely big enough to house Griz’s performance platform and a host of guest singers and musicians throughout the show. The simplified staging gave the fans in attendance a much more intimate experience than is typical in the venue for most layouts.
Upon arrival, all attendees were given a Yondr pouch – a magnetically sealed pouch that secures your phone while remaining in your possession. The idea behind them is to force people to disconnect from their phones and outside lives for a few hours while enjoying the show, while at the same time eliminating the view of dozens of video-taking cell phones typically seen above a concert crowd. The pouches are a great concept and they are really effective at promoting a positive concert environment. Aside from no longer having access to the current time, I did not miss access to my phone one bit.
The Brooklyn Mirage is one of several venues within the vast Avant Gardner complex. The venue has become one of the premier performance spaces in the city over the last few years, hosting some of the biggest names in electronic music all year long. Shows at The Mirage can feel overwhelming at times; the GA floor is quite expansive and there is an entirely separate space that exists along the walls that surround the courtyard with bars and lounges hidden throughout.
However, the cavernous feeling within the venue was vastly mitigated by the production for this show. A small rectangular area less than 20 feet in length was fenced off in the middle of the floor that housed Griz’s DJ tables and a small stage. Fans along the rail of the stage were no more than ten feet from Griz, and even if you were further away from the center, you still felt immersed in the action given the concentration right in the middle of the floor. This level of intimacy is rarely experienced in The Mirage.
Griz blends hard hitting dubstep beats with a live, funky saxophone for a style of music uniquely his own. The electro-funk DJ added to his catalog this past June with the excellent new album Rainbow Brain. Night two of the Brooklyn Mirage shows is tonight, September 23, but due to the strong rain and wind expected, the “in the round” set-up was abandoned for a more protected set-up on the main stage of the venue. The show is still a phone free night, but it is a shame that the crowd for night two will miss out on the incredible intimacy of the night before. After tonight, Griz heads to Ohio for a set at the Lost Lands Music Festival before a b2b performance with Zed’s Dead in Arizona – catch the full run of shows HERE.