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Endless Anger, Nothing To Be Angry About

I got a tap on the shoulder: “Hey man, can you slide over a bit? I’m gonna jump off the balcony.”

By Arts & Culture, Uncategorized

Hodgy Beats of Odd Future

Photo by Kris Lenz

When the lights finally went down there was a predictable yet dangerous surge toward the stage. At the first beats dropped by Odd Future’s DJ Syd the Kid (also the group’s only female member), the audience went crazy and the crowd-surfing began in earnest — it was only the opening song.

When the Odd Future emcees finally took the stage, the audience erupted. This night’s performance included Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis, Jasper Dolphin and Mike G. As their set progressed, they transitioned naturally between songs, with each contributor chipping in on each members’ individually penned tracks, shouting choruses and hyping the crowd. Even if you’re critical of Odd Future’s content or shock-value, you simply cannot deny they put on an amazing show. Half of their skill is in managing, manipulating and delighting the seething throng of teens. Just barely adults themselves, Odd Future’s raw anger and enthusiasm is addictive — it’s easy to get caught up in their bang-up beats and relentless energy. In their live show, content is an afterthought as most lyrics are shouted, and even if you could make out the enunciation, it’s lost in the pulsing cacophony of the crowd, chanting and shouting along.

The show’s standout highlight was Tyler, the Creator’s single “Yonkers.” For this song, the lights dimmed to a single, dark red glow and Tyler sat on a stool, growling and menacing his way through the track. The crowd nearly drowned him out, rapping along to every word.

The attitude of Odd Future and their live show can only be compared to that of a punk or hardcore band. The crowd-surfing was non-stop and several members of Odd Future joined the chaos, but the show’s most dramatic moment came later — and I was an unwilling participant.

Earlier, as I navigated the show floor I passed a tall, lean teen in a red knit cap and a “ I [  ] SAIC” hoodie. I gave him a quick nod, recognizing our connection, but thought little of the encounter. Midway through the set I got a tap on the shoulder and heard, “Hey man, can you slide over a bit? I’m gonna jump off the balcony.” I turned to look back and saw it was the same guy in the SAIC hoodie. Before I could articulate my disapproval (I’m old) by saying,  “Umm, I really don’t think that’s a good idea,” he slipped past and dove the 25-30 feet down into the crowd. I stood in shock as the guy next to me screamed, “That’s fucking punk as fuck!” Genuinely concerned — not for the guy necessarily, but for the crowd below — I watched the aftermath closely. Amazingly, no one was hurt and soon the guy’s tell-tale red knit cap popped up out of the roiling throng. After the next song, Tyler, the Creator stopped the show and asked, “Who was that crazy motherfucker who jumped off the balcony?” After our proud student raised his hand with a shout, Tyler replied, “Goddamn, me and Hodgy used to do that shit back in the day, but we always knew people would catch us,” With a shake of his head, he added, “You just jumped … crazy motherfucker.” So it is with some semblance of pride that I report that the “craziest motherfucker” at an Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All concert was an SAIC student. Feel free to quote me in the school’s promotional materials.

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