Death Grips – The Limelight, Belfast

They exploded like a bomb onto the stage – MC Ride and the boys strolling on like the bad-ass muthafuckas they are; getting themselves ready for a riot – torching everything in sight.

Blue stage lights shrouded their entrance with MC Ride and drummer Zach Hill going “Taps-Aff” before making their sound – the sound of Death Grips.

The crowd was mental – all night. Dudes were crowd surfing, someone said there’d been a fight, and hands were constantly thrown in the air. The place was packed and it was chaos – complete chaos. That’s exactly how you want it. And the show had barely even started.

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There had been a long wait from door-open to stage-time but Death Grips are notorious for riling up the crowd before they go on to perform.

There’s even a report of Death Grips setting up a bogus gig – as a piss-take – where the crowd had gotten so angry at not being able to see them perform that they went on a rampage and trashed the entire stage. It turned out that the stage they destroyed was a load of fake amps and a junior drum-kit – all the same they know how to gear up a crowd.

The queue was around the corner from the Limelight since 8pm, but fortuitously I had pre-empted this and brought a few cans along with me to drink across the street while I waited. A dawning realisation came over me after a few smokes that I already had my wristband and so the best option was to finish the last beer and head inside.

My awareness and love for Death Grips grew after Graham Linehan posted on Twitter a few years ago exclaiming their genius. Graham Linehan is the writer of Father Ted – along with loads of other class TV shows – and he appeared in a classic episode of I’m Alan Partridge.  I had never expected that he would be the one to turn me on to something like Death Grips.

Even from early on people were dangled over the front row barriers; people waiting…..but for what?
An hour and a half went by with only the rising & never-ending sound of a revving motorcycle mixed with a vacuum cleaner crunching from the P.A. Everyone was held captive in the tension, growing ever anxious and expectant for Death Grips, not daring to move in-case a volatile band like this would just decide to take the stage whenever they wanted.

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No support band was advertised – none was needed; I don’t think anyone could have handled anything more than just solely Death Grips.

Eventually during the wait I realised there was no soundman behind the desk and automatically knew there would be ample time to go for more smokes before they exploded on stage.

And Death Grips showed-up. Big Time!

During the entire gig there was this massive bass sound that reverberated in your chest and inside your nostrils every time you tried to breathe. MC Ride’s movements and hand-gestures were mimicked by the baying crowd during “Guillotine;” and as Zach Hill annihilated the drums for “Giving Bad People Good Ideas” the whole floor shook under your feet.

The crowd were on it tonight. I’d forgotten that Wednesday night is as good as a Saturday night in Belfast now that there are so many more people running about.

Everybody went crazy for “Get Gone” and “World of Dogs”; with crowd surfers being chucked on the floor and tee-shirts and half-beers being thrown across the floor.

MC Ride was wrenching all over the stage and the Limelight felt like a packed out and sweaty hip-hop club in LA for those few hours.

I won’t lie. I had to mostly saunter to the back and sides of the hall because I’d just been off the back of a 4-day drinking session and the mosh-pit might possibly have destroyed me, but there was no way I was going to miss Death Grips playing in The Limelight.

The calls at the end of their set for an encore came from the most battered fans and were only half-hearted. The crowd and the band had dished it all out. Death Grips aren’t an encore type of band anyway.
Either you got it or you didn’t.

I’ve never really understood a planned encore anyway. It used to at least mean something; now it’s just a gimmick that a shitty bar-band uses for the ladies and their egos.

They walked off; the lights went up; and everyone lurched to the bar for fluids after taking a complete kicking by Death Grips.

The thought did cross my mind that this may be the last time we see Death Grips here. Whether or not you believe the media and publicity that says they have been on the verge of parting ways for so many years: that’s one thing.

But I think if they return to Belfast the stage they will be offered might be a lot bigger. My brother still always tells me about the time Rage Against the Machine blew the roof of the Ulster Hall.

Anyway. You can’t beat seeing a band like Death Grips in the Limelight. Somehow The Limelight can always pull off the biggest coups when it comes to class bands. Death Grips are another one to add to that ever growing list.  And if you were there; you were there.

Death Grips