This is my first Death Grips show, and there’s no support act.
Instead, an ominous Shepard Tone (a disconcerting auditory illusion in which sound appears to be endlessly rising or falling without resolution) rings out, while the stage stands empty for about 20 minutes. Eventually the group show up, motionless as the Charles Manson monologue from Beware – the first track from their debut mixtape Exmilitary – plays over the system.
What follows is a relentless, chaotic mess of a set (this is a good thing). The three blitz through an hour’s worth of material with no breaks, no audience interaction, no thank yous and no encore. Pulling tracks from across their discography, the group debut old tracks live for the first time (Warping from 2016’s Bottomless Pit) and drag out the hell-raising single Guillotine.
But the biggest reaction comes as the smashed glass and screeching synths of the snappily titled You Might Think He Loves You for Your Money but I Know What He Really Loves You for it’s Your Brand New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat rinse the skulls of everyone in the room. MC Ride’s manic delivery and the surging, wildly overdriven bassline turns the centre of the room into a sweaty, heaving pit almost instantly. Personal highlight Death Grips is Online – the running joke turned Big Black-gone-pop opener (I’m thinking about you, Passing Complexion) of their latest record – is a dash of warped light in an otherwise oppressive and hectic set (again, a good thing). Death Grips remain one of the most bizarrely enigmatic groups in modern music, and now I see why.