This past weekend, my friend Katie and I decided to fly to Switzerland for two days to see one of her favorite artists, GRiZ, live in concert. Because why not?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the electronica/dubstep music scene, talking to you Mama Kulka, GRiZ is a saxophone playing, American DJ who is basically famous and way cool.
We landed in Geneva on Thursday night, where coincidentally GRiZ had just played a show. It was late by the time we got to our hostel and the show was over, but Katie and I were intent on going out, so she got to work on her phone.
I am actually convinced that Katie’s iPhone is possessed by some sort of voodoo spirit of debauchery and good news. Just as general life rule, I like to stay away from black magic, so I usually leave Katie to her little screen and await further instruction. Within minutes we had an invite to come chill at the venue where GRiZ had just played.
We rolled up to the club around two in the morning. And by rolled up to the club, I mean we arrived by overpriced taxi at a sketchy Swiss venue, and hurried in because the street was full of questionable characters who looked like they either wanted to sell you coke or shank you.
Once inside, we spotted GRiZ immediately. He was the tallest in the room, and his swagger and bleach blonde hair were unmistakable. After a few minutes, he noticed the Chicago cap I was wearing and introduced himself. We began talking and I was pleasantly surprised at how human he was. He wasn’t GRiZ, he was Grant: a 24 year old dude just doing what he loves, chasing the dream and trying not to take things too seriously. We bonded over our polish heritage, and at some point he proceeded to compare me to a ferocious dog, sexy tortoise and suppulent ostrich, but I can’t recall the context of that particular conversation.
It was closing time, and people began filing out of the bar. Instead of leaving, Grant and his tour manager invited Katie, myself and a blacked out Catalonian girl to hang out with them in a lounge above the venue.
We hung out with Grant discussing life and love and dreams and goals. It got real deep, the kind of deep that only happens in smoke filled rooms in the wee hours of the morning.
It must have been around four, and the room had emptied out aside from Katie, Grant and myself. I suddenly felt a rush of energy that could only be satisfied by yoga, so I situated myself in the center of the room and began busting out my downward dog. Grant and Katie quickly joined.
Little did I know, Grant was himself a yogi and surprisingly flexible for a tall man in skinny jeans. Before I knew it, Grant had commandeered the yoga session and began leading us in a series of sun salutations.
At some point before the break of dawn, Katie and I jacked bananas from the lounge and said our goodbyes.
The next day, Katie and I strolled through Geneva, and in the spirit of Swiss authenticity we enjoyed fondue and Swiss confections. That’s really just a pretentious way of saying we ate a pot of melted cheese and too many chocolates. With heavy stomachs we slowly made our way to Martigny, an small mountain town near Geneva, for GRiZ’s next show.
The show in Martigny was in a small cave-like venue with only a roomful of attendees. Katie and I were on “the list.” All it really did was get us out of paying ten bucks to get in, but I had never been “on the list” before, so naturally I was feeling pretty important.
We hung out with Grant and his tour manager before he went on stage, and he played a jazzy version of Mary Had a Little Lamb on his saxophone for me, an ode to my high school band days.
GRiZ played a killer show, and you could tell he was clowning around the whole time. When he had just finished playing, Katie got the roomful of his Swiss fans to chant: “one more song!” Grant had this goofy grin on his face and you could tell he was flattered. It was a look that I knew all too well, because it was the same exact smile I have whenever people tell me they read my blog.
We hung around a little while longer and eventually hugged goodbye, and then Grant left us with the best parting gifts I had ever received: a pineapple cup, an opened bottle of Jameson, two bottled Starbucks Mocha Frappucinos, a bottle of Vodka and, of course, two bananas.