Odd Future: Brixton Academy, 29/03/2012
To call what OFWGKTA put on at Brixton Academy a ‘show’ would be an obscene underestimation. It was entertainment, it was carnage, it was the pure unadulterated joy of being with 5,000 other people as wasted and ready to (metaphorically) “kill people, burn shit, fuck school” as each member of the rap collective that chanted from the stage. It was fun.
The Financial Times described it as “electrifying”; Clash decried it as being like a “badly prepared house party”, while Hodgy Beats himself called it “fucking big as fuck” (comparing it to a football stadium). From the outset it seemed clear that this would not be an event of moderation: 5 minutes after doors opened the queue went round the block; by-passers’ ‘what-the-…’ expressions met with tribal chants of “Wolf Gang/Golf Wang”. The atmosphere of anticipation continued to build for the next two and a half hours inside the venue, along with the heat and smoke. Unsurprisingly being predominantly male (I would hazard a guess at an 8:1 ratio), the gig reeked of testosterone, adding to the feeling of the event as a teenage fight club with a strict OF t-shirt/black jeans/Vans dress code.
First member up on stage was Syd tha Kyd, joined by L-Boy, whose face formed the album cover for the OF Tape Vol. 2 and the stage backdrop. Finally escaping Brixton’s infuriating background noises allowed the crowd the opportunity to unleash their full potential. The opening beat of Mellowhype’s 64 kicked off proceedings beautifully, the energy of both the group and the audience building continually throughout. Material from the new album, Rella, Bitches and Lean mixed with old favourites from Tyler, the Creator’s solo album Goblin including Transylvania, Tron Cat, and Sandwitches. As the penultimate track to their set the response to Yonkers was beaten only by Radicals, wrapping up the night with aforementioned mantra “kill people, burn shit, fuck school”.
Whilst the technical aspects of the gig were less-than-perfect; the bass overpowering the vocals significantly at times (not bothering the cult of fans who knew every word) the experience was unforgettable. Any gig where I can swap free sweets from an O2 rep for shots at the bar and shout “YES! ONE DIRECTION!” to an empty stage whilst surrounded by impatient hormone-fuelled male rap fans is one I personally don’t want to forget. In its own special way, OFWGKTA was catharsis through chaos. On the Victoria line home I overheard a boy wearing a brand new black OF t-shirt turn to his friend, hold up the white OF t-shirt he came in covered in blood and say “Why does this always happen when I see them?”.