Photos: Gramatik and Slow Magic at Best Buy Theater, NYC
On January 23, Gramatik and his many talented friends took over Best Buy Theater in NYC for two nights. Days and even weeks before, the “Gramatik Family” social media was blowing up in anticipation for this magical weekend. Members of this family are more than just fans — they have a mutual understanding between one another that a concert is more than just listening to music. Gramatik family treats each show like a reunion; a place to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and exchange great vibes, funky dance moves, and beams of positive energy amongst one another, all while some of the funkiest and most original soundscapes of electronic music pulse through the crowd.
While most fans showed up for two nights (traveling from far and wide to catch this occasion) I caught night two, which had Branx, Marvel Years, Russ Liquid and Slow Magic lined up as openers. Laying down funky rhythms and grooves, the first few openers set the perfect tone for the night. By the time Slow Magic appeared onstage, accompanied by two large drums, the crowd was nearly drooling with anticipation.
Opening with one of my personal favorites, "Waited 4 U," the mysterious Slow Magic, donning his famous mask, began wildly drumming along to the beat, adding another dimension to the already rhythmic song. The percussion pulsed through the audience. Dreamy lighting had the crowd entranced.
Slow Magic’s sets are more than someone standing behind a computer. SM puts his heart and soul into each beat of the drum and has an impeccable knack for reading his audiences. He continued his set with "Girls," and "Still Life," both off his debut album How to Run Away. After nearly an hour of pulsating percussion, Slow Magic closed his set off with his breathtaking remix of Odesza’s "Say My Name," which he then cleverly transitioned to Destiny Child’s "Say My Name," which had the entire crowd body-rolling and singing along.
Not before long, Denis Jasarevic, a.k.a. Gramatik took the stage alongside live guitarist Andrew Block and Russ Liquid on the saxophone. The live aspect of the show truly set this part of the show apart from other electronic acts. Song after song, which included "Digital Liberation Is Mad Freedom," "23 Flavors" and "Brave Men," the true musicality of the songs really shone through. The live instrumentation highlighted the various layers of the song and illuminated the cornucopia of melodies, percussion, breaks and basslines of each song. The crowd really started breaking it down during the speaker-destroyer "Control Room Before You" and the super sensual "Obviously." In a highlight of the night, Gramatik mixed in Stevie Wonder’s "Superstition," completely captivating the crowd.
We were all too busy dancing to realize the night was nearly over when Gramatik began his farewell. Not accepting defeat, the crowd continued cheering until Gramatik and friends came out for an encore consisting of Orlando Napier joining in for "Far Away," PLM drummer Adam Deitch on drums for '"Stairway to Hip-Hop Heaven," and the booty-grinding "No Diggity." While the show at Best Buy Theater ended eventually, nearly every member of the audience headed to Slake for the free afterparty, refusing to let the night end. The exhaustion and hangovers the next day were definitely worth it.
Photos and words by Julia Crescitelli.