Death Grips @ Manchester Academy, 16/10/2016

Sacramento industrial punk-rap trio Death Grips bring their mysterious and notorious live show to the UK once again. This particular gig was in such high demand, it had been upgraded from the smaller capacity Academy 3.

Keeping their mysteriousness consistent – intentional or not – there was no support act, no merch, no audience interaction except for a single “Hello” at the beginning and an incredibly prompt and confusing ending. They also didn’t allow themselves virtually any breaks between songs.

The show went a lot like a traditional hip-hop live set with MC Ride accompanied by Flatlander on turntables but Zach Hill was also there on drums. The crowd certainly didn’t struggle to keep themselves entertained as there was almost constant movement in the areas closest to the stage. Some songs got more of a reaction than others, especially songs off “The Money Store”. Despite approximately 40% of the songs being unfamiliar to me, Death Grips have always been good at keeping their songs unique and unpredictable which kept me engaged during the performance. There were of course a few fantastic pits opening up at the start of songs like “Up My Sleeve” and “I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States”. The band also appeared to be drowning in their own sweat by the third or fourth song.

A few disappointments I had were them not playing some of the better deeper cuts from their latest LP “Bottomless Pit” – such as “Ring A Bell” and “Trash” – and them also not playing many of their guitar-based songs. I firmly believe that some of their best songs are strongly guitar-based (like the incredible “On GP”) and was also secretly hoping that they would integrate a guitar into their live set for this tour. I remain hopeful and intrigued for this to happen in future.

Fred Savage


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