Music Editor Holly Alder reminds us why the experimental hip-hop and rock group Death Grips are so important to the music industry while reminiscing on one of their two Irish dates in Dublin’s The Academy venue.
Hailing from Sacramento, California, Death Grips have been around since 2010. The group unites vocalist MC Ride, drummer Zach Hill, and Andy Morin on the keys. The trio are nothing short of an enigma and have one of the most loyal fanbases around. Their music, which can only be described as a discombobulated blend of electronic, hip-hop and punk noise somehow blends seemlessly to create something that scratches the itch in many fan’s brains. Although musically satisfying, the sheer curiosity that surrounds the sound of Death Grips lures you in and never lets you back out. I remember when I was first introduced to the band at 17 - and naturally, as a 17-year-old girl from Ireland, I had never heard anything like them before. I was instantly enamoured with their sound and still am to this day. As you can imagine, when I heard that Death Grips had announced not one but two Dublin dates, I was ecstatic.
Their music, which can only be described as a discombobulated blend of electronic, hip-hop and punk noise somehow blends to create something that scratches the itch in many fan’s brains.
For any Death Grips fan, seeing MC Ride scream into a microphone while the entire venue pulsates with sweat is just a dream. Not only that but getting to witness Zach Hill drumming in person should be on everyone’s bucket list. Having briefly seen the band before at an Irish festival in 2018, their headline show was a completely different ballgame. The first night of the show sold out, and the entire venue was alight. The crowd was inevitably one of the best crowds I have ever seen, with the euphoric feeling of seeing a band that some gig-goers have waited over a decade to enjoy live. MC Ride didn’t speak once during the set, taking little to no breaks and going straight from one track to another, playing songs such as “No Love” and “Guillotine” that sent the crowd into a manic frenzy. It was amazing to witness, and attending night two as well ws incredibly tempting. The whole set lasted around an hour and a half, and despite feeling like I could have stood there in awe for another hour, I was grateful to get outside into the air due to it undoubtedly being the sweatiest and rowdiest gig I’ve ever been to. The crowd was full of old-timers and new fans, equally enjoying themselves.
For any Death Grips fan, seeing MC Ride scream into a microphone while the entire venue pulsates with sweat is just a dream.
With MC Ride bouncing off the stage, shirt off and dad runners intact, the venue emptied into the streets, and it was difficult to see one person who didn’t have a smile on their face from the adrenaline felt in the room. Despite having no stage props, no merch stand and no introduction, Death Grips managed to put on one of the most impactful and thrilling shows Dublin has ever seen with just some flashing lights and loud noise. Maybe this is the answer to the question, What is so important about Death Grips? While you could not call their sound or their stage presence minimalist, Death Grips’ experimental approach to creating their music combines different features of different genres to create something much more complex and intriguing. Hill’s fast-paced and unusual drumming techniques separate their sound from others, which is complemented by Ride’s loud and angry vocals. The fact that the group stays hidden and out of the limelight adds to their mystery and in turn, their appeal, with an interview from the group being a very rare, and almost impossible, occurrence.
Despite having no stage props, no merch stand and no introduction, Death Grips managed to put on one of the most impactful and thrilling shows Dublin has ever seen with just some flashing lights and loud noise.
Amongst some strange and perhaps disappointing stunts the group has pulled in the past, such as last-minute show cancellations and quite literally never engaging with fans, the most important thing about Death Grips’ music is that it consistently and constantly pushes the boundaries of hip-hop music, and once they continue to do that, their fans will keep listening. I for one know that if they decide to go on tour again in five years, I’ll be there to experience the pure electricity of a Death Grips show all over again.