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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Death Grips brings hardcore back to Boston at Fenway’s MGM

Montecruz Foto via Flickr
Lead singer of ‘Death Grips’ Stefan Burnett engages with the crowd.

Sacramento-based experimental hip-hop and electronic trio, Death Grips, performed at Fenway’s MGM Music Hall Sept. 20. The performance was part of their 2023 North American Tour, marking their first Boston performance in over eight years. 

With the group’s radio silence since their 2018 albumYear Of The Snitch,” Death Grips’ fans have been eagerly awaiting this year’s tour. Avid listeners have been theorizing how tour dates could align with potential future music releases using the means of numerology and phases of the moon. None of the theories thus far have turned out to be accurate, so with little information regarding what music would be played, the audience turnout was high, nearly selling out the 5,000-seat venue.

The band’s keyboard player Andy Morin was not present and substituted by frequent collaborating guitarist Nick Reinhart, accompanied by frontman MC Ride and drummer Zach Hill.

The show itself had no opener, with unreleased singles of the band played over a speaker over the span of an hour as a substitution. Fans picked up on this, many intently listening to pick up on what the band could’ve been working on in their 5-year hiatus. Much of the unreleased music was similar to their 2013 record “Government Plates,” full of bouncy instrumentals and almost using MC Ride’s voice as another instrument. 

As a pleasant surprise for fans, an angelic feature from Sarah Bonito of Brit-pop outfit Kero Kero Bonito was present on one of the singles. However, it should be noted that these tracks are likely unfinished and it is highly speculated that the band’s producer Andy Morin is finishing them during his abstention from performing live.

Suddenly, the pre-show music stopped and the lights went dark. The next second, the stage lights all beamed red as Death Grips opened their performance with the 2012 track “System Blower.” This was followed by classic after classic, their most musically conventional song “I’ve Seen Footage” playing next, “Spread Eagle Cross the Block” after that, “I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States” after that. Songs transitioned perfectly by Nick Reinhart and Zach Hill while Ride took short vocal rests and the crowd refused to lose any energy. 

The band’s energy was high as ever even as members’ ages continue to climb into their mid-40s. Zach Hill’s performance on the drums was remarkable as always, keeping up the punkish drum patterns with ease. Reinhart’s addition on the electric guitar brought a lot more to the soundscape with an incredible stage presence. MC Ride continues to put his all into his one-of-a-kind shout-rap fusion that trademarks the band.

The set’s highlights included the bass-booming track “Hustle Bones,” a version of “Giving Bad People Good Ideas” almost more cacophonous than the studio recording, and many of Ride’s famous screeches littered throughout tracks like “You Might Think He Loves You for Your Money but I Know What He Really Loves You for It’s Your Brand New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat” and “Lost Boys.”

The show closed with the glitchy Internet-rap anthem, “Hacker.”

Death Grips continue their North American tour this week, playing the Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville Sept. 25.

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