Death Grips at The Roundhouse

As is often the case for music I like, I first thought Death Grips were either bad or a joke, but curiosity kept me coming back until I got into them. Eventually though, the experimental hip-hop trio became the sound of my 2015. Still, I wasn’t initially set on seeing them live, due to the aggressive vibe of their music and an old reputation for not showing up. Once again though, curiously won.

It was interesting seeing which songs got the crowd most excited, and given that Death Grips have a big discography, not all fans like the same stuff. The crowd was naturally best when almost everyone was really excited by the song, which didn’t always happen with songs that I really love. Their early work seems to have the most fans, but it was interesting that Hustle Bones and Guillotine didn’t seem to make people lose their minds, although with the later that is more to do with the tempo of the song.

The sound quality was a little muddy, although I was perfectly satisfied with it. There were a few times when it took me a moment to realise what song they were playing, and I’m not sure if that’s because of the clarity or them taking a different approach to the song compared to the studio version.

While the audience were very active, and there was the expected moshing, I was never thrown into it or hurt at all. Looking back and seeing a group of people in skeleton masks getting rough was as fun as watching what was happening on stage. The lights weren’t flashy and mostly remained purple, but the few times they did mix it up it energised the audience a bit, which was needed, and perhaps a few more surprises in presentation could have kept energy levels higher later in the show.

The gig had a bit of a descending feeling. The absolute highlight was seeing them strolling on stage in their adorable suits. It was amusing but not exactly goofy, as they also looked pretty cool. The climax wasn’t huge as they didn’t end with a very crowd pleasing song. They didn’t play an encore, which makes perfect sense for them, and they already played for an hour and a half without relenting. A few people immediately knew to not bother waiting, while a few people shouted the customary “one more song,” but I’ve never heard it done so half-heartedly.

A good evening that left my ears ringing for a couple of days. The venue was also perfectly good: I did remark, as I looked up, “Oh, it’s called the Roundhouse because it is round.” I am not always very fast. I really hope their next album cover has them lined up, smiling in their matching suits.


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