Multi-talented Gryffin shines

Gryffin’s black baseball jersey has become a staple at his performances, as seen above during his L.A. show. Photo courtesy of @GryffinOfficial/Twitter

Gryffin’s musical talent proves to be instrumental for his set at The Observatory North Park

Anderson Haigler | A&C Editor | The USD Vista

As a genre, electronic dance music (EDM) often struggles with how to best present its music in concert. Artists of the genre are often plagued with criticisms of a lack of creative presentation, as many DJs have been known to simply “press play” and let the music run. 

Last month, however, Gryffin brought a show to The Observatory North Park that defied many of these expectations. Gryffin, whose real name is Daniel Griffith, is an American DJ from New York. He rose to notoriety in 2016 with the release of his hit songs “Heading Home” and “Whole Heart,” and is also a  classically trained pianist and guitar player. These talents shined during his San Diego show. 

Gyrffin’s use of instruments sets him apart from other EDM artists. During the transition from the opener’s setup to Gyrffin’s  setup, the stage underwent a transformation. As the opener, Autograf used only a laptop and DJ equipment, Gryffin’s setup featured a guitar,  electronic drum machine, drum set, and piano in addition to traditional DJ equipment. 

Gryffin used all of these instruments throughout his performance and often took the lead on songs like “Feel Good” using his electric guitar. The DJ theatrically hammered out drum portions of songs on his drum machine, and didn’t hesitate to play the melodies of his songs on the piano. The use of the instruments added to the show immensely and gave the audience an opportunity to appreciate the often unseen talent that goes into creating electronic music. 

Gryffin, sporting a black baseball jersey adorned with his name on the back, was clearly excited for the performance. His energy onstage was visible and authentic, and watching the artist soulfully play the instrumental arrangements of his songs provided a much more fulfilling audience experience than a traditional DJ set.

Highlights of Gryffin’s set included his hit songs “Whole Heart,” “Nobody Compares To You,” and “Feel Good,” as well as his remixes of songs such as Troye Sivan’s “Youth.” While he is a relatively new artist, Gryffin featured a broad catalog of songs during his performance and his set spanned more than an hour. However, the artist seemed to truly hit his stride during the second half of his set. 

Songs like “Whole Heart” and “Feel Good” resonated best with the crowd, and both were punctuated with Gryffin playing the guitar. The crowd was older than those who   usually attend rap shows The Observatory often hosts, and the crowd seemed to have more people in their thirties than teenagers and college students. Nonetheless, The Observatory was packed as usual, and the audience seemed to enjoy his set.

Gryffin offered a unique take on an EDM set — his use of instruments provided an engaging audience experience, and his talent both in composing and playing music was evident throughout. Toward the end of his set, he played new music and fans seemed to enjoy it. It’s clear that Gryffin has a bright future in music, and judging by the audience last week, fans are looking forward to more from him in the future.