Injury Reserve Rocks the Brighton Musical Hall
by Simone Tranfaglia
I checked out the hardcore experimental sound of the rap trio Injury Reserves sold-out show at the Brighton Musical Hall this past Friday. I was lucky enough to spend some time with all nine artists before their sets. Christopher Taylor, the lead singer in Body Meat, The Injury Reserve trio of Steppa Griggs, Parker Corey, and Ritchie With a T, and Slauson Malone were lounging on the dingy green room couches, drinking tea and watching The Office. Next, they warmed up their voices, a new ritual for them. They switched on a 5-minute vocal youtube video and soon began to harmonize with one another. Hitting the tables and chairs, they constructed a danceable rhythm.
Having just signed with the Loma Vista record label, there is no denying that they are on the rise. The experimental rap trio arrived in Boston that afternoon after a tour-stop in New York City. Ritchie said he only gets nervous depending on the crowd and where it is, Christopher interjected and added he always gets nervous before a show regardless of the venue or size, nerves are part of the performance for him. The nine artists seemed to have a good group dynamic while on tour; all very genuine to each other. It’s no wonder considering Injury Reserves’ humble background: Ritchie met Groggs at his mother’s Vans store and he met Parker in high school. They became a trio and wanted to create something new, and produced their first mixtape “Live From the Dentist Office,” literally from Parker's grandfathers' dentist office. Anyone could tell they worked hard to get where they are today and that passion seeps into their music.
Body Meat opened the show with an energetic performance displaying his experimental sound including “Combo”. Throughout the performance; however, they ran into some technical difficulties resulting in Christopher bringing up a fan from the crowd and challenging him in a “yeah boy” contest to fill time; essentially, whoever can hold the “oy” in “boy” longest wins. With an impressive competition, it went on for almost up to a minute until the fan ended up taking the win. While disappointing that his set had some problems, Body Meats positive energy twisted the negative to an interactive show with his fans that only made the experience more personable for the audience.
Next, Slauson Malone’s set was an existential experience itself. Quoting Ritchie, he says “it’s a once in a lifetime experiences” seeing his performance. Before starting, Slauson Malone turned off all the lights to set the scene and performed songs including “Smile 2”. Jasper Armstrong Marsalis was a member of “Standing on the Corner,” an experimental music collective, he also featured Earl Sweatshirt's latest Album “Some Rap Songs.” Slauson Malone released his album “‘A Quiet Farewell,’ Twenty sixteen to Twenty Eighteen” which shows elements of glitch and plunderphonics, making his songs truly unique; every song is completely different from the other.
Body Meat and Slauson Malone generated an atmosphere of excitement that erupted when Injury Reserve got on stage. Immediately the crowd began jumping and singing along as the group opened with “Koruna & Lime.” The energy in the room started high and only progressed throughout the show, making it a truly breathtaking experience. Injury Reserve never failed to keep the audience lively with their flashy stage presence captivating the audience. The overwhelming strobe light did not “kill the vibe;” they never had to fight for the attention of the audience. As I scanned the room I only saw faces of glee, headbanging, and of course, the occasional mosh pit.
It's important to note that Injury Reserve does not want to be boxed into one niche of music. Parker Corey, the group’s producer continues to make waves in the music industry for his constant dismantling of sounds and stringing together something new. The group is constantly changing their sound which gives them artistic freedom many artists lack.
Parkers’ setlist flowed effortlessly throughout the show. One particular moment that stood out was the finale, in the trio's performance of “three-man weave” which has a chorus of saxophones giving it an upbeat base than some of their other songs with a noisy industrial beat. The crowd all sang along with their hands up to “This reminds… of high school… Now me, Groggs and P doin' the three man weave, though.” Groggs came into the crowd and danced with the fans, finalizing the night with a sense of kinship. They brought out a bottle of champagne in celebratory to their performance (however Ritchie with a T chugged his tea on stage instead), paying tribute to how far they’ve come since their humble beginnings of starting the rap scene in Flagstaff, Arizona. The trio’s dedication to music and their fans was made evident in the performance this past Friday. They’re continuing the world tour, soon to go across the Atlantic and do shows around Europe. The rap trio continues to make music and break the artistic expectations of the group; this definitely will not be the last we see of Injury Reserve.