The scene outside Sydney’s Enmore Theatre on Wednesday night was one of absolute chaos. The line to get in, filled with massively hyped fans, was spilling on to the street and was so long it turned two corners, despite the fact that the show was meant to have started a half hour ago. The atmosphere outside was a mere pre-cursor to the sheer bedlam that would follow. And that’s where Death Grips come in. The Californian three-piece are famous for their berserk, high energy live shows, and have generated a cult-like following online. Their Sydney show would kick off a short tour of the East Coast, and was their first in the country in four years. Needless to say, fans were keen to get amongst it. After much speculation as to whether there would even be a show, due to past controversial gigs where the trio have no-showed or played short sets, the wait was over. There were no support acts, which is just as well as I don’t think the crowd could have been more psyched up.
MC Ride followed by band mates Zach Hill and Andy Morin, stormed the stage to deafening applause, and the show was underway. Listening to a Death Grips record is a vastly different experience to seeing them perform live. Although the subtle nuances that make their music great are tuned out, in their place is a ferocious, relentless energy. Said to be pioneers of the Industrial genre, the group’s songs take on a visceral quality, blasted at ear shattering volume and enhanced by erratic strobe lights. It was near impossible not to dance and thrash around exorcism style, as the entire sold-out theatre was. The group powered through a set that spanned their discography. Their hit ‘Get Got’ from their 2012 release The Money Store appeared quite early in the night, followed by tracks from their most recent album, 2016’s Bottomless Pit. MC Ride’s dedication to his on-stage persona was clear; the rapper was present and focused, often falling to his knees, letting his body drive home the point as he bellowed. On the drums, Zach Hill was a hurricane, playing as though his life depended on it.
Tracks ‘No Love’ and ‘I’ve Seen Footage’ whipped the crowd into a frenzy from which there was no return. Punters were seen emerging from the mosh pit wild-eyed and drenched in sweat and inside, limbs and hair were everywhere. The show reached it’s dizzying climax with a massive rendition of their standalone single and viral hit ‘Guillotine’, during which I experienced a moment of genuine concern that the roof may cave in. And as soon as they had arrived, they had vanished. In their wake, a stream of dazed punters whose ears would ring for days filed from the theatre. The entire show was so far from any other live music experience I’ve had in past years – the vibes were impossible to deny.
It’s no surprise that Death Grips’ live shows are as notorious and coveted as they are.