|Photo by: Provided|
“I have some good news and some bad news,” Odd Future’s Domo Genesis said to a sold-out house of about 1,500 sweaty, eager, impossibly-hyped fans at Cincinnati's Bogart's. “The good news is that I’m here! And the bad news is that Tyler, the Creator will not be performing tonight.”
Before the crowd had enough time to whisper to each other about whether or not that was actually true, DJ Syd Tha Kid started spinning the opening to "64,” while Hodgy Beats and Left Brain, a.k.a. Mellowhype, rapped. They barely made it through a verse before Tyler bounced out on stage in a bright blue T-shirt and his signature supreme snapback to a roaring round of applause.
Tyler might be the one with the hit album, the songs on the radio and the VMA for Best New Artist, but tonight is not about him, it’s about Odd Future. Tyler travels inseparably from his crew, which consists of up to 11 musical members. This night included: Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, Syd Tha Kid, Domo Genesis, Jasper Dolphin and Mike G.
Even if most of the crowd came for Tyler, a majority of the set belonged to his cohorts. Domo took the reins for a few cuts off his new tape, Under the Influence, and led the crowd in a rendition of his stoner classic “Rolling Papers.” Mike G also took center stage at least three times and Hodgy got a chance to freestyle, with Tyler looking perfectly happy playing second fiddle to his pals.
If you think over a thousand people packed closely together in standing room only wasn’t hot enough, the temperature jumped another 20 degrees when the audience collectively freaked out for "French.” Seemingly, everyone in the room had been saving up a lifetime of tension until this moment to release it.
The guys and gal gleefully led the audience in chants of “Swag,” “Wolf Gang,” “Fuck School,” “Smoke Weed” and basically whatever else came to mind. In keeping with the group's friendship theme, the band also frequently chanted “Free Earl”--a campaign that started after Odd Future’s youngest member, Earl Sweatshirt, went missing in action in 2010.
Soon after, the psychotic beat to the VMA-winning “Yonkers” began, and the crowd went appropriately insane. There was not a soul in the house that didn't know every single line. It was almost frightening to hear 1,500 people simultaneously shout “I’m a fucking walking paradox / No, I’m not,” at the top of their lungs, but it was also very cool.
Just when it seemed like the crowd couldn’t push any harder, Odd Future bust out “Sandwitches,” a song they played earlier this year on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and it’s all anyone can do to stay standing. The wooden floor literally starts to buckle with the weight of the most excited group of kids in the Midwest.
The penultimate song was “Radicals,” which features the memorable refrain “Kill people / Burn shit / Fuck school.”
This seems like a good time to emphasize that Odd Future really are just a bunch of kids. Most of them were teenagers up until this year, and they’re still filled to the brim with piss and vinegar.
Fitting with Odd Future touring tradition, the last song of the night was "Earl,” which Syd played over the loudspeakers while Tyler and company conducted the crowd. Of course, everyone knew the words to that one, too. Once or twice the crew accentuated some of the lines by rapping over them, but for the most part they left the track untouched and just let the crowd go nuts.
It would’ve been easy for Tyler to upstage his friends, headline the show himself and play his own songs all night. It really speaks to Odd Future's spirit that they insist on splitting the duties, even if the crowd really just wants to hear “Yonkers” one more time. This group is a movement bigger than themselves, and it seems that everyone--on stage and off--understands how important it is to sing loud, stick together and never turn your back on a brother, no matter what anyone else says.
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