The scene: a cold, snowy November night, somewhere in between Missoula, Mont., and Madison. Gramatik and his team are sound asleep on the tour bus when they’re awoken by the driver, who regretfully informs them that a wheel has fallen off the trailer. After seeing the damage, they look at each other and realize they will not be able to make it to Madison in time for his scheduled show …
Flash forward. Gramatik takes the stage at the Majestic Theatre Wednesday night. His good friends and opening acts Russ Liquid, Branx and Gibbz accompany him. The sold-out crowd roars, hungry for some crunchy electro-funk jams that had been suddenly and unfortunately seized from them that tragic November night.
Redemption, thy name is Gramatik.
The Lowtemp crew stands by the motto “putting the M back in EDM” — for those who aren’t with the hip phrases kids are saying these days, EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music. According to Gramatik, he and his fellow artists are actual instrumentalists as well as producers, dedicated to creating funk, soul and blues with an electronic twist. By doing so, they’re able to do more live performing instead of just DJing.
Gibbz and Branx, both recently signed to Gramatik’s label Lowtemp, started the night out right with their hour-long set. Gibbz crooned several songs off his recent EP over beats laid down by Branx, sometimes playing guitar. With the little amount of music he’s put out, I was surprised yet captivated by Branx’s impressive setlist, and the crowd seemed to love it too.
After the lights had darkened leading up to the main act, Russ Liquid’s horns blared a familiar intro and Gramatik plunged into one of his classic songs, “I’m Doin’ My Thang.” Russ Liquid stayed on stage for the duration of the show to play horns and other instruments as Gramatik directed the night with a perfect blend of his new music and old. At one point, the two played a particularly funky rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”
Gramatik played several songs off his new album, The Age of Reason, such as “Bluestep,” “Expect Us” and “You Don’t Understand,” all of which were improved by Russ Liquid jamming along. Towards the end of the set, Gramatik called Gibbz to return to the stage for their seductive tune “Get a Grip,” also on the new album.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd at the Majestic so hyped at a show, especially considering it was a Wednesday night. Surely part of it had to do with the impending anticipation of Gramatik’s return, but the atmosphere was truly unmatched. Do I hope he comes back to Madison soon? In the words of G himself, “FUNK YEA!!”