Posted on 2013/07/27 14:31
  • Live Report
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There is a very expensive LED wall at the back of the Red Marquee to be used for the visuals of the various performers. Instead of preparing video clips like pretty much every act, Death Grips just set the color to white and made it as bright as possible. The LED wall became a blinding wall of white light at the back of the stage, and it was pretty much the only illumination, making the band appear only as black, slightly pixelated silhouettes. But what should you expect from a band that almost prefers to play gigs with a couple of amps on a concrete floor in the corner of some warehouse? And from a drummer, Zack Hill, whose kit only consists of three drums and two cymbals. Everything about the band is extremely minimalistic? And from a frontman, MC Ride, who once poignantly commented in an interview, “Lately, I’m not so into… human beings.”

Death Grips’ tactic in everything seems to be ultimate simplicity and maximum power. They call it a mix of dubstep and experimental hip hop, or something similar, but really, their music is like getting punched in the chest so hard it stops your heart for a moment. For their 1am set at the Red Marquee on Friday, the opening night of Fuji Rock 2013, they didn’t bother with song introductions or, for that matter, any talking at all. They just exploded into their set, played for 45 minutes without stopping, and then left. Mostly, the audience simply undulated in the same giant body wave motion MC Ride makes up the stage as he barks out lyrics no one can understand. It is like everyone is getting hit with invisible waves of bass that have the power of superhero energy blasts and come as regularly and slowly and irresistably as the waves of the ocean. Most people were just gobsmacked. If it is awesome, it is not an upper. Death Grips is about something very serious and ponderously heavy. I was a bit surprised they were given this party-time slot, but it somehow worked. Everyone was firmly in the hold of their Death Grips.