Injury Reserve holds nothing back at Brighton Music Hall

Ritchie with a T of Injury Reserve sings on the stage in The Velvet Underground on May 30, 2017 in Toronto. via Wikimedia Commons

It should come as a surprise to nobody that the punchy beats and powerful vocals that are staples of alternative hip-hop trio Injury Reserve attract large crowds. On that note, it also shouldn’t be surprising that Injury Reserve sold out its show at the Brighton Music Hall Friday, Sept. 27. Native to Tempe, Ariz., Injury Reserve consists of rappers Ritchie With a T and Stepa J. Groggs, and producer Parker Corey. The three are going on their first headlining world tour for the remainder of this year to promote their most recent album, “Injury Reserve” (2019). To start off their Boston show, two opening acts came on to give the crowd some extra energy before their set.

Kicking off the night, drummer Matthew Anderegg took a seat at his electric drum set and played an eccentric, underground-beat-esque drum solo. The rumbling bass drum and unique percussion choices created a significant number of dancing fans. Vocalist Christopher Taylor then joined him onstage by sampling his own voice then playing the keyboard to play and modify the chopped sample. The two collectively work as Body Meat, and it’s hard to pinpoint a genre that their latest album, “Truck Music” (2019), follows. After their introductory piece, Taylor took the microphone and a water bottle, then hushed the crowd. The crowd watched in confusion and anticipation as Taylor sipped his water bottle and continued to make sure everyone was quiet. “I’m just playing, y’all!” Taylor told the crowd. After performing a couple songs off of “Truck Music,” Taylor stopped again to say, “I think I’m cursed … I think I’m cursed.” A curious fan asked, “Why?” Before he could get an answer, Body Meat began to play another song. The crowd expressed its approval of the unusual stage presence through applause as Body Meat left the stage.

Soon to follow was Jasper Marsalis, member of post-genre duo Standing on the Corner, performing under the moniker Slauson Malone. Marsalis’ music can be classified as a mix of hip-hop and sound collage, and his artistic vision was expressed through his 2019 release “A Quiet Farwell, 2016–2018.” His first request upon taking the stage was for the lights to be turned off. Marsalis’ set was unlike any other, to say the least. Mimicking the way he approached mixing on “A Quiet Farwell,” his rapped vocals were drowned in his experimental low-tempo instrumentals to the point where you could barely tell that he was rapping. Occasionally, Marsalis would borderline screech some of the words in his song, which startled the entire venue each time. Marsalis also gave a terrifying spoken word poem during his set.

During one of his songs, Marsalis sang his vocals into a megaphone while playing a heavily distorted guitar. Toward the end of his set, the crowd was split between frustration and fascination by the absurdity of his non-conventional set. Very few fans found a proper beat or rhythm to dance along to through his entire set. Plenty of discussion among the concert-goers followed his set, and many curious fans googled Slauson Malone to see if he really was a musician, as opposed to a maniac.

After a half-hour-long wait, a fusion between Injury Reserve’s “Rap Song Tutorial” (2019) and “Koruna and Lime” (2019) began. A magnificent uproar marked the point where the energy of the venue took a complete 180. Once the bass kicked in, you were either squeezed like a lemon to push to the front or swirled around in a mosh pit about half the size of the entire general admission. Needless to say, it was very easy to lose the friends you were with at the start of the show. 

A plethora of jumping and accidental face-punching ensued as a result of bass-heavy songs like “Oh Shit!!!” (2016) and “Eeny Meeny Miney Moe” (2016). Even low-key songs like “Best Spot in the House” (2019) and “Colors” (2017) had just enough energy to keep the crowd dancing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the rowdiest moments during the set was “Jailbreak the Tesla” (2019). After Parker Corey teased the crowd by mixing the intro, the eventual bass drop satisfied every fan, and nearly everyone screamed the lyrics along. A combination of flashing lights, Ritchie With a T’s chanting and every body emitting heat and sweat served as a sensory explosion. 

When Injury Reserve closed its set out, the crowd began to chant “Three Man Weave! Three Man Weave!” the title to the outro song of “Injury Reserve.” The guys came back on, Corey carrying a bottle of champagne. As the saxophone-assisted intro played, the crowd cheered as Groggs proceeded to take the bottle and chug it on stage. Before the song ended, Ritchie With a T decided to quench his thirst with a cup of hot tea, which also gained approval from the crowd. The trio was relentless the entire night, and the applause that closed out the show was well-deserved. Some fans were lucky enough to catch the guys after the show for autographs and pictures to conclude an unforgettable experience with Injury Reserve.