The night before last, I was digging through my external hard drives, sifting through old photo sets for images of Ben Chasny of Six Organs Of Admittance to send off to a guitar magazine that has offered to pay me to use them. During this hunt, I found the raw files from a photo se that I took of Sacramento experimental hardcore noise rap outfit, Death Grips, from when they played The Crocodile in Seattle back in November of 2012.
At the time of the show, I had been waiting for the project to come through for a while, tipping off friends in places like Oakland to catch them during super early warehouse performances that they were doing, hoping that they would finally make their way up North. By the time that I finally got a chance to see them perform, they had already canceled their first gig at the exact same venue. At this concert, the lineup consisted of Zach HIll (Hella, The Boredoms, Marnie Stern, etc) pummeling his drum kit into paste and Stefan “MC Ride” Burnett strangling the shit out of the microphone that he was screaming his guts out into, with producer Andy Morin noticeably absent from the synths — the paired down duo being a common live setup for the group. The Croc was packed, the lights were terrible for photography, and this was a show that I wanted to see with my own face more than just view through a camera lens, especially when I was fighting the elements. It turned out, however, that among all of the blurry out-of-focus or just too-fucking-dark -to-be-saved images, I was able to grab a handful that weren’t entirely worthless (the one posted above is one of them). It also turns out that, the timing for me to break these out, probably couldn’t be much more fitting.
We’ve posted a decent amount about the evolution and dissolution of these guys — you can look into all of that, if you need the background or a refresher — but the gist of the situation is that the group claimed to have broken up last July, even canceling all of their tour dates (again). A month prior to their disbandment, Death Grips dropped 8 tracks (featuring vocal work by Bjork woven and buried into the mix) under the title of Niggas On The Moon, which was being presented as the first half of an upcoming double album that they were/are calling The Powers That B. Along with the announcement of their split, the Sac Town crew stated that they would still be finishing the album, which was now to be their last, and that the second half, Jenny Death, would arrive by the end of the year. If they were referring to the Chinese aka “Lunar” New Year (February 19th), we don’t know, but it never fucking happened and the phrase “Jenny Death When?” has become a popular one among fans as the world waits. Partly an appetizer to hold folks over and partly just an agitation of the situation, January 5th saw them dropping the instrumental release Fashion Week (Instrumentals) with the tracks being arranged to spell out the phrase “Jenny Death When.” Around this time, Amazon and other retailers began posting release dates and preorders for The Powers That B, which listed it as being slated for February 10th (yep, 3 days ago). Obviously, that never happened. Instead, the date just continues to be pushed back, without explanation.
Then, a couple of hours ago, the Death Grips Facebook page was updated with a new youtube video accompanied by one simple word: “Today.”
The speculation that they haven’t actually broken up continues to gain more and more traction, along with the anticipation that they’ll head back out on the road and, hopefully, actually follow through with performing the shows, if they schedule them. This nearly 20-minute video of them performing is definitely promising. I was out eating with my family, when this went up, and suddenly couldn’t get any 4G service in that Bermuda Triangle of a pizza place, so I’m finally watching it now myself.
Now… we wait (again).
In the meantime, here are a few more shots that I found from that 2012 Seattle show. If you blink really fast, it’s almost like they’re playing a show again.