Billboard’s Best New Artist of the Year nominee astounds croud

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Billboard’s Best New Artist of the Year nominee astounds croud

Following the opening of new electronic band Grizfolk, Bastille wows Minneapolis crowd

Grizfolk, an up and coming electronic rock band, shared the stage with headliner Bastille at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Nov. 19. Before the show began, representatives of the Northerner had the opportunity to sit down with Grizfolk and talk about their music, the tour, and their inspiration.

When asked about where the band finds its inspiration both lyrically and musically, Adam Roth, the lead singer of Grizfolk, said that they had been finding a lot of inspiration along the road through the different cities, landscapes, and people with which they came in contact, gesturing to the brightly colored autumn trees surrounding them as they were interviewed.

Sebastian Fritze, who plays synthesizer and sings backing vocals for the band, said that musically, the band is a blend of the band members’ different backgrounds from Americana, to hip-hop, to electro. Adam Roth nodded and said, “The live show is definitely a rock show.”

Roth noted that their music reflects their experiences in the hopes that they would connect to the listener’s experiences as well. “We feel like we’ve written thousands of songs about love, and maybe it’s time to write about other things like struggles,” Roth concluded.

Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille,
leans into the microphone during the
opening song, “Things We Lost in the Fire.”

The Northerner asked Grizfolk how they got the chance to tour with, and open for, Billboard Music Awards 2014 Best New Artist of the Year nominee Bastille. Roth said that their mutual label, Virgin Records, introduced the bands and Dan Smith, lead vocalist of Bastille, asked Grizfolk to join them on the road. Roth said Grizfolk felt “really lucky to be on this tour, because [we] know that there’s a lot of other bands that probably would kill to be on this tour.”

After talking to the fellows from Grizfolk, we took our seats in the balcony of the auditorium waiting for the concert to begin. The Roy Wilkins Auditorium, which is connected to the XCEL Energy Center, was a rather unfortunate choice for the concert with its lofty ceiling and seated balconies.

A large portion of the audience was up in the balconies, which were far enough back from the stage that it sacrificed a lot of the intimacy and put a rift between the floor crowd and the the balcony crowd. The high ceiling dulled the music throughout the night, but luckily it did not seem to muddy the vocals at all.

The night began when Grizfolk stepped on stage. It was apparent that the bands were well coupled. Grizfolk’s style, with its focus on harmonies and synthesizer, fit right in with Bastille’s style, however, the crowd was pretty dead when they began playing. Grizfolk is a new band, only recently releasing their debut album, so the majority of the crowd was hearing the songs for the first time.

Fredrik Eriksson from Grizfolk strums his guitar
during a solo to rouse the quiet audience.

Apart from a few people bobbing back and forth and clapping, the crowd was motionless. Energy began building after lead guitarist Fredrik Eriksson stepped to the edge of the stage and rocked a solo, and energy exploded when the band taught the chorus of “The Ripple” to the crowd and they were able to sing along with the band.

The simple connection of knowing the words to the chorus closed the gap between the crowd and the band and being able to participate in the music with Grizfolk completely changed the atmosphere in the venue.

Upon completing their set, Roth riled the crowd up by asking if they were ready for Bastille, and then tossed some merchandise to its hopeful new fans.

The energetic buzz from the crowd was palpable as Bastille stepped up, and it erupted when a large on-stage screen flashed the words “now for our feature presentation.” Lead vocalist

Dan Smith began the show with the song “Things We Lost in the Fire”, and instantly engaged the audience by jumping and dancing along with them all across the stage.

The band incorporated a lot of video elements into their performance, including clips from music videos to tell the story of the songs which they were playing, and even used a live camera feed of the crowd.

Seeing the people in the audience flashing across the screens intermixed with the members of Bastille made the concert feel more intimate. It was obvious that Bastille valued the inclusion of those listening, and it was a theme throughout the entire night. A highlight of this was when Dan Smith asked the crowd to turn on their phone flashlights and sway with the music.

Bastille engaged with the crowd during the
entire concert by incorporating music videos clips,
a live camera feed of the crowd, and phone flashlights.

All the little twinkling lights gave the appearance of hundreds of candles moving along with the melody and the entire auditorium’s mood changed to follow the music.

Near the end of the show, Smith tricked the crowd by switching out with a double and appearing amongst the crowd. After the spotlight found him, he took a stroll through the floor, stopping to sing, dance, and take photos with the fans.

Much to the fans’ disappointment, Bastille said its farewells and thanked the crowd for showing up before playing Pompeii, arguably the band’s biggest hit. The crowd obviously was not having any of this, and after being cheered back on stage for an encore, Bastille brought Grizfolk back with them and ended the show with this song.

It was an electric end to the evening, with the entire crowd singing along to the very well known song. Bastille showed its genuine humility and its appreciation for all those who supported them by spotlighting the crowd throughout the night, and giving center stage to their opening act and partner band during the largest part of the evening.

If you would like to see the entire exclusive interview with Grizfolk, visit