It’s been a hectic few days for Odd Future, even in light of the last few months of promotion: there were riots during an autograph session, Tyler the Creator’s Goblin released, criticisms over homophobic lyrics, Canadian border problems and Earl surfacing in the New Yorker of all places. In a packed Phoenix, the audience wanted chaos and they got it. Things didn’t look good initially, as Tyler grabs the mic, he explains he is violently ill and his voice is gone. Never mind, seconds later he bursts on stage like a pitbull delivering a venomous cocktail of energy and anger as he and Hodgy Beats explode into ‘Sandwitches’. Like a Tasmanian Devil, Tyler spins around the stage before vaulting into the crowd mid song. This was only the beginning.
Tyler is the charismatic centre of the group and in the middle section where he disappeared his absence was felt. When he did venture back on stage, he paused to check on a girl who passed out in the front row and “didn’t want to be an asshole bursting into a hype-ass song”. An engrossing figure, Tyler asks the lighting guy to mask the stage in a red light, giving him a menacing presence as breaks into one of the stand out tunes from Goblin, ‘Yonkers’. Tyler then apologises for “that awkward performance, but when I hear that song I black the fuck out”, before imploring the crowd to get him through the final track ‘Radicals’. Odd Future fans were in awe, screaming “KILL PEOPLE BURN SHIT FUCK SCHOOL” in terrifying unison, resulting in a stage evasion.
Will the hype around this collective last? It is hard to know at this stage if they will burn out or not but Tyler the Creator seems to be on a death wish this evening. As he makes a huge leap from the rafters, there is an awkward silence regarding his state after the fall. However, he re-emerges only to display his disgust at the crowd for stealing his shoes. He claims it was the only pair he brought with him and offers to give the proud new owner of his footwear some band merchandise for their safe return. Whatever you think about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, they put on a thunderous show. A magnetic performance from a polarising group.