DEATH Grips are a band that have inspired a fierce, almost cultish fever among their fanbase. Their rare tours, lack of public personas and experimental music have made a Death Grips gig more event than a regular music show. Our entertainment editor, Will Stevenson, went along to see it with his own eyes.
There was no support act last night. (16/10) Instead, there is simply a synthesized, buzzing noise that reverberates around Manchester Academy from when the doors open at 7:30 till when Death Grips finally emerge on stage at 9pm sharp.
They emerge silently, without as much as a word of acknowledgment that there is even a crowd in front of them. That crowd, meanwhile, is losing its collective mind.
Can't actually believe we saw death grips last night
— Portia (@s_creenager) October 17, 2016
The imposing, bare chested figure of vocalist MC Ride looms large over the sell-out crowd. Then, as the first notes of “Whatever I Want” ring out, the crowd convulses, all together. They cease to be a room of solid humans and begin to move as one, enchanted mass. The crowd surges, sways to and from and bodies fly everywhere.
The band feed off this energy, blasting straight into the electronic banger “Bubbles Buried in This Jungle” from their latest album, this year’s Bottomless Pit.
From this point on the band do not stop, slow down or falter. There are no breaks as they blast through a greatest hits style set that encompasses every one of their albums.
— Ryan Taylor (@RyanTaylorrz) October 17, 2016
MC Ride prowls the stage, belting out his often bizarre lyrics in his unique flow and delivery that perfectly mirrors his performances on record, though live he is possibly even more menacing.
To his right is producer Andy Morin, who remains static throughout the show, a menacing glare in his eyes as he blasts out some of the most interesting and unconventional, yet danceable beats from the last ten years
To Ride’s left, drummer Zach Hill performs heroically, smashing out incredible live drums to every song, without missing a beat. As with the rest of the show, there’s no real spotlight placed on Hill but for those who can tear their eyes away from the enigmatic frontman Ride, he provides an extra spectacle that is truly astounding to watch.
There has to be a special mention to the sound tech running the desk at the Academy, as a sound so monstrously heavy, detailed and layered as Death Grips could easily have been lost or muddled over the huge PA, yet every detail comes out crystal clear.
Death Grips put on a show that is truly superlative in every way, but perhaps the highlight of an incredible evening comes in the form of the final track, “The Fever.”
Following a run of five of Death Grips most crushing tunes including “Guillotine,” “I Break Mirrors With My Face” and “Hustle Bones,” “The Fever” somehow manages to raise the audience from the dead for one final mosh pit that seems to encapsulate the entire floor.
With every single person in the room still bouncing, MC Ride and co exit the stage silently and the room lights come on. There is no call for an encore; the audience understands that the show is over. Instead, they make for the exits, aware that they’ve seen something special tonight.