Earl Sweatshirt, Electric Brixton; 23/03/14
Meet Stan. Stan was there at the peak of the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All collective’s rise to popularity in 2010, and was pretty obsessed. Walking back from Odd Future’s first ever UK live show at The Drop, Stan happened upon a strange looking Delorean and got in. He took it for a drive around Stoke Newington and suddenly the flux capacitor kicked in and Stan found himself zooming through time to 2014. This was odd, but before Stan has time to digest any of this he sees a poster with that holy slogan “Golf Wang” written on it. Odd Future’s “lost prophet” Earl Sweatshirt was playing that night in London and Stan just had to go!
Kicking up at Brixton, Stan was glad to see that Earl attracted a very youthful crowd, and even though the fashion trends seemed to have changed from 2010, bucket hats are now in apparently, the type of people going to these shows hadn’t. The average age of the crowd was also noted by support act Bishop Nehru who claimed he “could relate” to a crowd for once. Stan thought Nehru might be a time-traveller too, but in retrospect it was more likely he was referencing that he felt at home with the crowd seeing as he is only seventeen himself. Despite his age Nehru is obviously talented, although Stan felt that Nehru seemed a bit too overwhelmed by the crowd chanting his name and made them do it too much, which became a tad repetitive and dull.
Not long after Nehru was done OF member Lucas took the decks, and even as a hardcore OF superfan Stan could tell Lucas was a pretty atrocious DJ. But it didn’t really matter, the crowd was into it and it was all just a warm-up for the main event anyway. After enduring the fortunately short Lucas DJ set, Earl Sweatshirt finally appeared, and Stan was blown away. Earl had often been viewed as the most talented rapper of the group back when in Stan’s era, but he’d hardly been witnessed publicly having been whipped away from the limelight by his mum, and he was surprised by simply how charismatic the twenty year old was in person.
Then came the tunes, mostly off Earl’s most recent album Doris. Stan was surprised that he couldn’t really hear any of the controversial rape jokes that seemed to dominate OF’s earlier work, but these songs were obviously so accomplished Stan didn’t really mind. Also just because these songs no longer referenced eating dead girls out with mustard didn’t mean they were PG by any definition. An example of this being a moment of mass crowd participation during ‘Molasses’ where Earl got everyone to shout: “I’ll fuck the freckles off your face bitch!” along with him.
Not that this crowd needed much encouragement, Stan was overjoyed to see how many of the people here were obviously genuine fans, who seemed like they would have been a better hype-man than the continually inept Lucas. Though the crowd all seemed well versed with the songs off Doris it was clearly Earl’s edgier earlier work which they craved more. The two biggest songs came towards the end of the night with the crowd going wild upon hearing both ‘Earl’ and ‘Drop’. It was here that Stan saw the most obvious links to those crazy early OF shows which he knew so well. The venue might have gotten bigger, but the crowd was behaving as if they were at punk show with mosh pits everywhere Stan looked. It was fantastic.