I don't prepare properly for much in my life. Things move around me in an unpredictable blur and usually I'm more than content to move in whichever direction the wind decides to go. However, the exception to this rule is with live music. I like to be prepared when entering a new live setting. Whether it's researching an opener I've never heard of or scanning through festival guides and cherry picking some names that haven't before crossed my radar. (Though I suppose in this case it's sonar.) With this in mind, I asked my good buddy and Guide to the Cosmos, Hingle McCringleberry, to give me some new music to investigate. Much of what he gave me just sort of bounced off of my ears but there was one album that caught my attention, Mad Liberation by Detroit's newly reigning funk-soul brother, GRiZ. The album blasted my ear-pussy with its unrelenting soul and grooviness. All I want in this new music I'm learning about is FUNKY BASS and this motherfucker delivered it to me in spades. Don't believe me? Fuck you. Listen for yourself.
The main problem came when I was looking at the schedule for Shambhala's final night. GRiZ was to play at the EXACT same time as pretty legendary indie rappers People Under the Stairs. This wasn't going to do. I am a Hip-Hop guy to my core and one of the big reasons I agreed to come on the journey to Shams was that there's always a fairly big Hip-Hop headliner. I would have to sacrifice the only DJ I knew anything about because, well, fuck, I couldn't be missing People Under the Stairs.
So, after Hingle and another member of the crew met me at Five Alarm Funk (A story for another day!) a compromise was made - I would go with them to watch the first half of GRiZ's set and they would come with me to watch the final half of People Under the Stairs' set. Seemed fair. Well friends, let me tell you...we never did make it to People Under the Stairs. GRiZ delivered even more than Mad Liberation promised. I was captivated watching him bounce around behind his equipment and by the time he jumped out from behind the gear with his saxophone in hand, I was in love. The fun(k) was infectious. GRiZ, unlike some of the people I saw spinning and sampling through the weekend. was a wholly engaging personality, incapable of letting the grooves go by passively.
I can't speak for what People Under the Stairs did that Sunday night at Shambhala, I wasn't there. But from what the rest of our crew told us, we had made the right choice by staying to watch GRiZ's set in its entirety. (It's still tied in my head with Wick-It the Instigator, but that might have as much to do with Wick-It being a gangsta-ass motherfucker as with the music.) It was the unexpected musical detour of the weekend and I don't regret it one bit.
And that, dear readers, is the story of how electro-funk defeated my love of Hip-Hop, even if only for one night. Only at Shambhala.