Death Grips are probably the closest thing we have to actual punk these days. For those not aware, the story (roughly) goes: mysterious hip hop/hardcore band release a widely praised mixtape, play some intense shows. Band signs, somewhat bizarrely, to Sony backed major label Epic, announces that two albums will be released in 2012. April 2012, band release the brilliant ‘The Money Store’ album, to more critical acclaim, announce world tour. Summer 2012, tour cancelled by band at last minute to focus on second album of 2012. October 2012, band leak second album ‘No Love Deep Web’, complete with album artwork consisting of the album title scrawled on an erect cock, apparently without Epic knowing, in retaliation to Epic putting the release date back to 2013. Band use Twitter to bad mouth label, label subsequently drops band from lucrative contract. Band embark on delayed tour, new material and shed loads of hype and publicity in the bag.

So here I find myself in Soundcontrol, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Death Grips, a band with a ferocious live reputation and three sterling albums behind them. I’m not normally one for hype, but I have a feeling this might live up to it. The sold out crowd is a pleasing mix of ‘the kids’ down the front and the older (but apparently not over 30) crowd towards the back. Stefan ‘MC Ride’ Burnett strides on to the red bathed stage, topless, bearded, already seemingly drenched in sweat, to rapturous cheers. He’s a genuinely imposing frontman, and he has a live drummer with him as well as a guy on electronics. This is a great thing. This is going to go off big time.

But, much to my massive disappointment, it never really does. Sure, there’s a mosh pit for some songs, and a couple of commendable attempts at crowd surfing, but the famed intensity, the edge of danger, the ferociousness, never quite materialises. MC Ride is a mesmerising presence on stage, all flailing arms and energy, but he stays steadfastly on stage so it doesn’t translate properly into the crowd. The sound isn’t great either, the bass pleasingly rumbles through the floor, but it’s almost impossible to make out any of the often brilliant lyrics, and as one song comes straight after the other, it becomes hard to distinguish which song is which.

A threatening ‘Get Got’ is a stand out, the crowd throwing their hands up with MC Ride and chanting ‘get get get get got got got got’ back at him, probably the closest this gig gets to ‘going off’. ‘I’ve Seen Footage’ similarly gets a great reaction, and one of the only times during the gig you can properly hear the exciting electronics, that make the albums such a good listen, in the background. The band end on ‘Lock Your Doors’ with it’s call to arms of ‘I’ve got some shit to say, just for the fuck of it’, which seems to sum Death Grips whole raison d’etre up nicely. If only they’d have said it louder, and with a bit more menace, this could have been amazing. Instead, it was more interesting than intense…but maybe I just needed to be nearer the front with the kids; they looked like they had a ball regardless.