Published May 16, 2011It's a rock trope for a band to be a "live act," a group whose stage show trumps their recorded material, but Odd Future fit the title perfectly. The ragtag group of teenagers and young twenty-somethings' show is an interactive, spontaneous affair, all cathartic youthful id and insanity.
The all-ages crowd had marinated in the damp night air and each other's sweat for the better part of an hour before Wolf Gang numero uno Tyler, the Creator and compadre Hodgy Beats took the stage to the ominous opening tones of fan favourite "Sandwitches." Insanity ensued; the crowd bobbed and churned like a sea around whichever group member was diving from the stage at the moment, and the number of arms in the air was matched only by the volume of the crowd as they screamed "Wolf Gang!" along to the song's thundering shuffle.
The show's middle section lagged somewhat, as Tyler, the group's undeniable ringleader, left the stage for a large portion of the concert; his contagious onstage exuberance, which energized Mike G, Domo Genesis and Left Brain, was sorely missed. Of course, that only made his return more triumphant, with the audience springing back to life as the group razed the venue with Odd Future catalogue favourites "French!," "Yonkers," "AssMilk," "Splatter" and "64," all in a row.
As one might expect, the group's penchant for stage diving, crowd surfing and generally being rambunctious -- Hodgy Beats spent the entirety of "Yonkers" riding the sphinx statue above the venue's doorway -- often gets in the way of their musical performance, but the group, and the audience, were too engrossed in the proceedings to give a damn. So absorbed did Tyler get in the show that he had to ask "When the fuck did I get wet?" after being soaked by someone's water bottle during "Splatter."
Though the concert went on for a few songs afterwards, it was Goblin highlight "Radicals" that put the cap on Odd Future's psychotic spectacle, with Tyler clambering up the stage right VIP balcony to audible gasps from audience members. As he launched himself into the arms (and, I'm sure, heads) of eager fans below, it was clear that whatever you think about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, and whether you like it or not, they're doing at least one thing right: they're galvanizing a generation of young music fans. And for one hour, within the confines of the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, that was all that mattered.
More OFWGKTA photos from the Phoenix show here.