What a treat this was. Death Grips, the much hyped Hip-Hop/Noise Rock quartet, playing a free show to celebrate the launch of Vice’s Do’s and Don’ts Book. The venue was the relatively new Nation of Shopkeepers which I have not been to before but I have been to its Sheffield counterpart, Bungalows & Bears. The two venues, thankfully, share two things in common; a fantastic choice in beers and fantastic sound. The venue was unsurprisingly rammed for a free gig of such a hyped band during freshers in Leeds city centre.
With this being one of the first shows of the UK leg of Death Grips’ first tour, there was much anticipation to what the live show would actually be like. The show ended up being exactly how you would expect; three of the members playing live instrumentation while MC Ride yelled and screamed over the beats with such intensity. And that’s definitely the word to sum up Death Grip’s show, intense, as they proved themselves to have just as much anger and abrasiveness as any hardcore band. This lead to the crowd reacting appropriately and going absolutely mental. Bodies were thrown left, right and centre as the crowd bellowed every last word back at MC Ride. The most crowdsurfers I have seen in a while.
Throughout their relatively short set, Death Grips mainly played tracks from their debut album, Exmilitary, with added instrumentals between songs (there was very little space for breathers between songs) and Zach Hill’s (of Hella, Team Sleep and just about every other band) trademark sporadically mathy drumming. The vocals were, unfortunately, slightly too low in the mix for how prominent and vital they are to the sound but this is neither the band’s fault nor a major gripe. This, while stunting the atmosphere of opener Guillotine, got better and better throughout the show with it being more than made up for by the second half where tracks likeTakyon (Death Yon) and Lord of the Game were really given the chance to shine. However, possibly their finest moment was Spread Eagle Cross The Block which, while not really living up to the songs that surround it on record, was delivered with such energy and conviction that it was a definite highlight. This slight sound issue certainly didn’t stop MC Ride from being the star of the show either, flailing his body in every direction and putting every last bit of energy in to everything he does; he is a mesmerising front man. Death Grips have landed, and proven themselves to be not just a fantastic band on record but also live as well.