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Death Grips Concert Review

Death Grips
June 26th, 2015
The Granada Theater - Lawrence, KS

My best Death Grips photo. It was dark in there, man.

Kansas City/Lawrence music journalists, I am appalled. I figured I could just go to the Death Grips and have a good time and not worry about having to write a review of one of the most important shows of the year. I thought you'd have me covered, but here we are, almost a week later, and barely a mention of it! Someone had to tell the people about it, fuck your boring Rolling Stones review, here it goes!

This was a night that many groups of people had been awaiting for years. Internet noise-rap superstars Death Grips had not visited the area since a 2011 show at Jackpot Saloon with Trash Talk when they were still basically unknown. Since then they have released multiple albums to critical acclaim, creating rabid fans across the globe. Hardcore kids, art school students, and basically any young weirdo or asshole with an internet connection was trying to get a ticket to the sold out show.

Doors for the show opened at 7pm, with showtime billed as 8pm. The group, in typical Death Grips fashion, did not grace the stage until close to 9pm. People had wondered anxiously aloud if they had been duped by the notoriously elusive band. But as soon as the three figures walked onto the stage,  they were instantly forgiven.

The stage was lit a very dim red with no flashing lights or changing colors throughout the show, possibly to keep the attention on the music, possibly just to fuck with the audience. Vocalist MC Ride also kept the onstage banter to an absolute minimum. The only thing that left his mouth besides a lyric or a scream the whole evening was a "Check, check" at the beginning and what I think may have been a "Yeah, Lawrence" between two songs in the middle of the show. These things could  throw off or even offend people seeing other bands, but I'm fairly sure nobody gave a shit about the lack of these theatrics at this (or any) Death Grips gig.

What the band did not deliver in light shows or audience interaction, they made up tenfold in sheer performance quality. The show began with the instrumental track to "Runway E", set up by computer/dials man Flatlander. MC Ride quickly joined in, providing lyrics from the song "The Powers That B" off the band's latest full length release. While the ever-cryptic and often-meme'd MC Ride was the main attraction, the group's drummer - infamous noise rocker Zach Hill - was just as much of a treat.

Most likely due to the ferocity of the performance and the shock of their appearance, the area in front of the stage was completely swamped by people thrashing about while simultaneously trying to be as close to the band as they could. This resulted in almost everyone in the lower GA area being instantly soaked in sweat and barely able to move for the first five songs. By the time the band played oldie and crowd favorite "I've Seen Footage", people had calmed down (just a bit) and learned how regulate each other. Moshing areas were slowly designated  so people not moving were very politely shoved to the outer rim of the area. It was bound to happen this way with so many nerds and bros attending. I think a lot of these people don't go to a lot of shows.

Death Grips did a great job of picking their set list for the tour as well, picking four or five songs from each of their five LPs. Almost nobody in the room had seen them before, so it was a great way to get everybody caught up. Highlights of the evening included "Hustle Bones" that had a good chunk of the audience imitating MC Ride's odd, trademark inward fist pump, mass shout-alongs on "Guillotine", and the hardcore punk-type track "I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States" that I may or may not have tried crowd surfing/flexing to.

Another notable part of the performance was MC Ride's vocals being echoed on his howls and at the end of some tracks, giving the songs a wild, swirling feel, amplifying the band's live energy by another notch. The pure volume of the show registered with many as well. Many of my friends later mentioned the ringing in their ears lasting much longer than usual.  I'm not sure many people left this concert unsatisfied. Sacramento's favorite experimental rap group came, saw, and conquered Lawrence, Kansas for what will probably be remembered by many millenials and Generation Z-ers as one of the live music highlights of 2015.

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