Saturday, July 4, 2015

Review: DEATH GRIPS @ The Metro 6-30-15 (Chicago)

         We at 37flood have always been huge fans of Death Grips. Whether you're into punk, hip-hop, metal, or glitch they have something for everyone. Well... maybe not everyone but for a group that's so abrasive and shrouded in mystery they really seem to bring people together in a weird way. Through the onslaught of synthesizers and samples and the ambush of MC Ride's delivery, I think there's something in the way their lyrics embrace (and sometimes beleaguer) mortality that everyone can relate to, even if you don't talk to aliens or kill people.
         As the mysterious I.L.Y.'s EP "I've Always Been Good at True Love" played over the P.A., the floor level was packed to the back bar with hip-hop heads, floral patterns, annoyed girlfriends, and stiff shoulders. But, when Zach, Flatlander, and Ride abruptly sauntered onto the stage and into a "Powers that B" freestyle over the first "Runway E," there was an equally abrupt rush to the stage.

         The first song was interrupted by "Takyon (Death Yon)," and this pattern continued; no opener, no dialogue. I'm not sure if eleven hundred people ever felt like so many to me as it did in the first hour of this sold out show before I wrestled to the bar for a water and to make sure that I'd only lost my hat. It wasn't a mosh because there was no room for that kind of movement. We were packed in like a can of sardines being violently shaken. It seemed like everyone knew all the words too. Everywhere I looked were people screaming and ducking down every few seconds trying to catch a breath, or elbow someone in the ribs.

         Death Grips delivered an impressive 23-song set, flexing their entire catalogue for somewhere around two hours. Their sound was deafening to the point that it seemed all three of them were trying to play louder than the other two. One thing that surprised me about the performance was the cohesion between Zach Hill and Flatlander during songs like "Hacker" and "Inanimate Sensation." Zach's weird barrage style of drumming was complimented by Flatlander's glitch beats in a way that never quite translates even on their most live-drum oriented recordings. MC Ride was the tidal wave of a post-apocalyptic prophet who's trying to kill you that he's always been. That guy is a force of nature; sometimes howling through songs like "Get Got," and barking through "Hustle Bones" and "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." When they finished their closer, "I Want It I Need It (Death Heated)," they got up and left just as quickly as they took the stage (without a word), and I got my hat back.

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