Earlier that day, at the pop up shop, I heard a random British teenage boy pose an interesting question – “What’s the big deal for some asshole with a backwards cap and gap teeth?”. Hours later, at the Odd Future concert, unable to breathe amongst the craziest and most tightly packed crowd I have ever seen, I could not help but wonder the same question. What was it about Tyler and his group that made me, normally a fairly sane individual, try to knock a grown man over to get a better view of the stage? Was the night worth hours of traveling, spending less than 24 hours in two locations, and a lost purse? By the end of the show though, with the crew blasting “Earl” in tribute to their comrade, I had developed a hypothesis in response to the boy’s question – it’s because the Odd Future crew puts the exact same amount of energy into the show that their insanely dedicated crowd does.
The first to take the stage was Syd who put on such great tracks that, by the time Left Brain and Hodgy actually came up to the stage the crowd was already pushing their luck with the metal fence barrier. The duo, joined moments later by the rest of OFWGKTA, burst into Mellowhype’s “64” while the rest of the crew hyped them up with furious, jagged dancing. It would be a lie to say I got a good hold of the next couple of songs after that. Instead, my main concern became trying to breathe while, at the same time, scream at the man trying to take my second row spot – I guess you could say the vibe of “kill people, burn shit, fuck school” had possessed me. Speaking of “Radicals”, it was one of the highlights of the night with the audience bursting loud for the chorus. Another predictable audience favorite was Tyler’s single “Yonkers” – the Creator himself stood silent while the venue rapped the first couple of lines.
After the show was over and the raw energy of the crowd drifted into the streets of London, I was reminded of what I read Rick Rubin once say about Metal music. He described it as one of the last true music genres in the sense that, at a concert, you can visibly see the fans react to the songs with such undiluted emotion that one can understand the influence the chords have had on their lives. The fact that, at an OF concert, you can see the same type of thing forming before your eyes makes any doubts that they are just a passing trend absolutely evaporate.
Tyler, The Creator – Radicals