Photo by Maxine Builder
I have never feared for my life more than I did on Thursday, October 21. A grown man landed on my head while he was trying to crowd surf, my ponytail got pulled in all sorts of directions, and I was sure that I was going to be crushed on by a hoard of sweaty, moshing and angsty men. But that’s par for the course when going to see Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA).
Before talking about the performance itself, there were a couple quick of gripes about the venue. The concert was held at the Royale, which is primarily a nightclub, and in order to accommodate their business and squeeze as much money as they could out of one night, the doors for the show opened at 6:00PM. This meant that OFWGKTA was scheduled to go on at 7:30PM. That is early, and OFWGKTA is very definitely a group that deserves a later start time. The other common complaint was about the line to get in. Rather than queue people on Tremont St., the management had the crowd go around the back, climb a set of stairs, go through four separate checkpoints and then finally enter the venue. The whole process took about thirty minutes, which is far too long of a wait.
Fortunately, OFWGKTA made it worth everyone’s while. But first, let’s talk about Syd Tha Kid. The only female member of Odd Future, Syd serves as DJ and producer. Her DJ sets that start off their live shows have become somewhat legendary, and her brief twenty-minute set did not disappoint. She began with a Waka Flocka song, and the already energized crowd launched into action. People were jumping and pushing. It felt like being caught in a rip tide; you had to go where the crowd was going or you had to leave for fear of getting stomped on. The craziest moment of her set came when she dropped Skrillex’s remix of La Roux’s “In For the Kill.” It was a strange meeting of hip-hop and dubstep, but the crowd was receptive to the track and did not stop their movement.
In fact, the moshing and the dancing did not stop once during the entire 90-minutes that Odd Future was on stage. The audience’s behavior bordered on violent, but with lyrics like “In my basement, and keep that b**ch locked up in my storage / Rape her and record it, then edit it with more sh*t,” it’s very easy to understand why.
The mastermind behind these depraved and generally disgusting lyrics is Tyler, The Creator. He is the ringmaster of Odd Future, and at twenty years old, it is clear that he is enjoying every second of his time in the spotlight. Tyler and the rest of the group seemed almost childlike between songs. Syd and Left Brain were sharing a bag of Doritos onstage, and Tyler befriended a giant stuffed toy wizard that he named Harold. That sort of innocent banter between songs makes their songs seem even more twisted. One of Tyler’s most memorable moments from the show was his performance of “Yonkers.” He did not move around the stage much and used nothing but his facial expressions – complete with giant, bug-eyes – and deliberate hand movements, to whip the crowd into a frenzy.
Although Tyler is very much the star of OFWGTA, the other members of the group also shone. In fact, Tyler spent a lot of his time offstage or simply sitting in a chair onstage; some could speculate that his recently healed leg after breaking his foot this summer is still bothering him. But this gave Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats and Left Brain a chance to strut their stuff and perform some of their solo tracks. They still played all of their biggest hits including “B**ch Suck D*ck,” “Turnt Down” and “French!” There were also some touching moments like when Syd played Earl Sweatshirt’s “Earl” and “Drop” while the other members rapped along in his honor.
All in all, no one got injured except for the oversized stuffed wizard toy, which Hodgy ripped into shreds. But seeing OFWGKTA live is definitely not for the faint of heart. After nearly two full hours of being thrown around in a crowd, my body is still sore, but the entire experience can be immensely satisfying if you know what to expect and can prepare accordingly.
OFWGKTA will be on tour until through the end of the year. Free Earl.