16th October at Academy 1
It’s the 16th of October, Sunday at 8:30pm and the Manchester Academy is already packed full of Death Grips fans, anticipating their promised early start. In place of a support act is a somewhat sinister electronic buzzing sound that continues to build and build, adding to the growing excitement.
At exactly 9pm, MC Ride appears on stage and, without directly addressing the crowd, opens with ‘Whatever I Want (Fuck Who’s Watching)’. Usually there is a huge surge forward at gigs, but with Death Grips this is less of a surge and more jumping, pushing and shoving in all directions. The performance of each song is delivered with such high energy that there is barely a dip in the movement in the crowd and the noise created by both Death Grips and their fans singing—or, rather, shouting—along.
Towards the middle of the set I find myself three rows from the front, drenched in sweat and struggling to stay upright. This is all part of the fun, and I’d expect no less from a Death Grips gig, but it is still extremely intense and I wonder how some fans have managed to stay at the forefront of this mass of limbs and perspiration for the entirety of the evening. I also wonder how MC Ride, Andy Morin and Zach Hill have managed to perform each song (25 in total) without seeming to become tired at any point—every vocal and beat is perfect, there are no pauses and no song goes under-performed.
The entire night is sweaty, rowdy and a resounding success: It’s everything that anyone could want from a Death Grips gig, and the change of venues from the smaller, more intimate Academy 3 to the much larger Academy 1 was certainly not a sacrifice as many initially thought it was.
Ending with ‘The Fever (Aye Aye)’ and no encore was yet another excellent move by the group, leaving the crow fully satisfied and beginning as abruptly as they began. Any support act or encore would have detracted from the mass of energy which was maintained throughout, and despite leaving feeling extremely bruised and dehydrated I cannot find a fault in the entire gig.