Odd Future – O2 Brixton Academy
March 19th 2012 saw the release of The OF Tape Vol. 2 – this much-hyped hip-hop collective’s official debut album. Later in the month Odd Future premiered the first episode of their sketch show, Loiter Squad (the cool love child of Jackass and Trigger Happy TV). Add to that a pop-up shop on Brick Lane and a sold out London show - the Odd Future brand is pretty much sorted.
Having only seen clips of the group’s raucous live performances, I felt slightly apprehensive during the hours leading up to the gig. Well, that was until I realised the audience would mainly consist of hipsters… So, er, there’d be nothing to worry about. Saying that though, kids were being chucked out before anyone was actually onstage. The police lined up outside must have had a field day!
Anyway, the actual gig… Despite not being as insane as I’d hoped, the 2-hour set was still the most chaotic thing I’ve seen. Tyler, the Creator, despite being the most well-known Odd Future member, shared the limelight with the rest of the group as the stage became a mess of play-fighting, robot-dancing, t-shirt stripping, broken armed, glow-in-the-dark footed, mental-as-shit rappers. Oh, and a guy called Ben Thomas the group had picked up at the pop-up shop earlier that day. He was bullied throughout but I bet everyone wanted to be him. The group were “high as fuck”, and so were we (probably) as the aroma of, erm, ‘special herbs’ smacked you in the face upon entry to the building. I don’t know about the rest of the crowd, but I had absolutely no idea what they were on about half the time. What I do know is that they were keen to track down a certain lady in the audience. I understood this from the frequent requests for the “bitch in the snakeskin leggings” to make herself known.
Okay, so musically it wasn't perfect. The sound quality combined with the entire crowd screaming every swear word that came up made it hard to tell what exactly they were playing sometimes; some of the songs ended abruptly and were followed with a brief awkward silence before applause; and some of the new tracks didn’t quite match up to the impact of the older ones, but the fact they looked like they’re were actually having FUN, launching themselves into the audience repeatedly, and the die-hard fans going completely insane, made up for it. Their performance felt far more genuine than most other hip-hop acts I've seen.
New track 'Rello' (a personal favourite from Vol. 2, but mostly for the video…) was one of the best received of the new offerings. Everyone knew the words, understandably, with lines like “Then my dick went limp so took about three pills of Extenzo, now my dick’s longer than a five-door limo” (har har) and Tyler was running around the stage flapping his arms like a really crap bird. A beautiful sight. The group briefly asked how many people had bought their new album (a few crowd members screamed), then how many had downloaded it for free (everyone screamed). The response? A simple “FUCK YOU!”
Obviously 'Bitch Suck Dick' was a massive crowd pleaser, and involved a lot of thrusting in the performance, mm-mmm. It was hilarious and I loved it (there is no way to stop any of this sounding dodgy so I’m just going to go with it), but having everyone around you shouting, “My bitch suck dick, like she suck dick” is really, really disconcerting.
The two tracks that everyone was there to see though, of course, were Tyler, the Creator’s 'Yonkers' and 'Radicals'. Suddenly there was a moment of “Oh, I know this one!” from the vast majority of the audience, and the mosh pits got even bigger with even better white-boy dancing. The latter track closed the show, with Brixton Academy chanting “KILL PEOPLE, BURN SHIT, FUCK SCHOOL,” but it was a while before the Odd Future crew actually left the building. They were far too busy taking photos of themselves on stage and soaking up the glory – a glory well deserved that night.
Hate Odd Future as much as you like. Yes, they’re hugely offensive to those who want to be offended, but they never disappoint.