REVIEW: Injury Reserve @ Patterns, 08/11/19

The Verse’s Orlando Glendenning tells us what he thought of the Injury Reserve gig at Patterns on the 8th November

Injury Reserve has come a long way since they broke onto the scene in 2015. They went from recording their debut mixtape in a dentist office (appropriately titled Live from the Dentist Office) to embark on a world tour this year. And this success is well-deserved; after 3 mixtapes and a self-titled studio album, Injury Reserve have proven themselves to be one of the most consistently entertaining acts in the current hip-hop scene. Needless to say, I was excited to see them live at Patterns. 

The show began with a robotic female voice instructing the group to start the show, an amusing reference to their meta-song Rap Song Tutorial. The trio then entered, the rappers Ritchie With a T and Stepa J. Groggs silhouetted by the blinding strobe lights and the producer Parker Corey barely visible at the back of the stage. Although they didn’t speak to the audience besides the occasional “thank you”, the group said everything they needed to through their music.

They opened with the single Koruna and Lime from their latest project, featuring distorted vocals, clanging drums and lively verses from the pair of rappers. Ritchie and Groggs’ performances were as wild and energetic as I had anticipated, running across the stage and jumping up on to the barrier, much to the excitement of the crowd. One thing that became apparent very quickly was the group’s impeccable versatility. The song GTFU is a perfect example; Ritchie’s guttural vocals and the booming, minimalist bassline thrilled the crowd with its aggression, but the song quickly transitioned into an emotional refrain performed over elegant violins. 

This versatility persisted through the show. Ritchie and Groggs screamed verses at the crowd over a glitchy instrumental on Jailbreak The Tesla, before they reeled it back with the smooth, jazz-inspired S On Ya Chest. While the lyrics of their songs are often hilarious, mocking everything from “hypebeast” fashion trends to Elon Musk, the group are not afraid to delve into sensitive topics. Ritchie rapped about police brutality and his refusal to conform to people’s expectations on the song Colors, which was accompanied by a warming yellow glow lighting up the stage. It was a touching moment that served as a well-needed break before the trio delivered more relentless bangers.

After they ended the show with fan favourites such as All This Money and Oh Shit!!!, the audience howled and chanted for “one more song”, which came in the form of the soulful Three Man Weave. It was clear that the concert had been more than satisfactory for the fans, and it feels like Injury Reserve are only just getting started.

Orlando Glendenning

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