This midweek gig sure does feel like a school night – if you couldn’t find a ticket for the sold-out show on toutless.ie, you could’ve just haggled with all the under-age Odd Future fans who couldn’t make it past the Academy bouncers. The LA hip-hop collective (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) are in Ireland for their first headline show, after a taster at Oxegen in July, and there’s a scramble to make the front row, with chants of “WOLF GANG, WOLF GANG” as DJ Syd tha Kid lures the gang out with that Skrillex remix of La Roux’s ‘In for the Kill’.
The public enemy No. 1 shtick evaporates when Left Brain opens with ‘64’, bounding on stage in full pantomime mode, high-fiving the front row, joking, “where’s my fuckin Guinness at?” Odd Future’s Primavera show in May was a clutter of missed cues, boozing and middle fingers to the hipsters, but they’ve warmed to this ‘home’ crowd. After all, their motto is: “They are them… we are us.” Left Brain gets the first stage-dive in after five minutes and the others arrive, with their leader Tyler, the Creator hopping on – he’s in a cast after breaking his foot diving off a speaker in LA a few months ago. Six of the crew are here, but half a gang’s still a Wolf Gang – they stoke the moshpit in no time with ‘Turnt Down’, ‘Splatter’ and ‘Sandwitches’, as Hodgy Beats and Left Brain use the balcony railings as a climbing frame and Tyler headbangs like it’s the last Slayer show on Earth. Tyler’s foot “hurts like a motherfucker” so he sits for his YouTube-conquering single ‘Yonkers’, but it doesn’t stop him stagediving during the call-to-arms ‘Radicals’, with his huge cast threatening to take out a few fans.
Fair play to the bouncers too – they must’ve been briefed about Odd Future bringing the ruckus – they barely flinch as the band spend most of the gig rolling around on top of the first six rows and stragglers from the crowd do laps of the stage. One young fan has some cracker Facebook photos after the band grab his camera phone for a self-pic, and I also heard that a pair of jeans got flung on the stage at one point too, so some dude went home with no pants on, doing a Porky Pig. There’s also a burst of pandemonium when Odd Future make a rare concession to hero-worship – dropping GZA’s ‘4th Chamber’, completing the circle.
A pressure cooker gig like this isn’t going to be perfect – Hodgy Beats complains about the PA, saying, “This shit sounds like a muthafuckin ringtone, nigga,” as the five voices occasionally get swallowed up by Syd’s distorted beats. Then again, no one’s here for production clarity or picking out those horror movie synth lines or 808 cowbells – they signed up for an all-too-rare whiff of punk spirit, a few bruises and a chance to lose the plot for 90 minutes. They won’t be demanding their money back.
Photo: Alan Moore – see the full gallery here.