Glaring laser lights greeted EDM lovers at Upstate Concert Hall on Sunday. The crowd, who seemed to all be under 30, was decked out in neon clothes and accessories. Many wore flat-brimmed caps, one guy dressed as Green Man and there were people playing with LED poi, gloves and orbits. All of these colorful folks gathered for one reason, to get down to Gramatik. This Brooklyn-based DJ, originally from Slovenia, packs some serious hip-hop flare. Clifton Park was lucky enough to be the last stop on Gramatik’s Age of Reason tour before heading to Europe.
Soon Gramatik’s soft spot for big-band jazz and electro-swing emerged. He mixed instrumentals from “Hit That Jive” off of Street Bangers Vol. 2. Eventually this turned into a funky electronic jam with FAQ. Styles including funk, soul, hip-hop, R&B, jazz, classical and blues were melded with heavy dubstep bass.
Busta Rhymes’ featured verse on Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” was prominently played before beats dropped and a funky remix of Kill the Noise’s “Jump Ya Body” also made an appearance on Gramatik’s set list.
Tracks including “23 Flavors” and “Illusion of Choice” from his new album #digitalfreedom, from Pretty Lights Music, played from the color-changing LED DJ booth. Most of Gramatik’s newer work seems to have been heavily influenced by the EDM world that he has been merged into during his constant touring. Much of it has a heavy dubstep and trap sound. However, Gramatik hasn’t forgotten his hip-hop roots. He laid down tracks from his album Beatz & Pieces Vol. 1, including “Break Loose” and the single “So Much for Love.”
Later on, singer Gibz joined Gramatik and FAQ for a performance of “Get a Grip.” Gibz’s R&B slow-jam style created a sexy, funky tone over smooth beats. Exmag, a Brooklyn-based group featuring Gramatik and FAQ, started off the show with funky R&B electronica and joined Gramatik for his closing jam. It was a party on-stage featuring trumpet, two DJs, electric guitar, synthesizer and Gibz’s vocals.
DJ Russ Liquid was the second performer of the night. Although he was the only solo performer of the evening, the Portland-based DJ rocked it out with several instruments. This included trumpet and flute, which complimented crystal cave and laser sound effects.
If you missed Gramatik this time, don’t fret. This is an artist who is always touring, mostly because he posts all of his music for free on SoundCloud.com. That’s because he believes in #digitalfreedom.