I’ve only been to a handful of punk or hardcore shows in my life and I have never seen energy like that from a performer … or a crowd, for that matter. There are different kinds of energy — a lot of jam bands exude positivity and many hardcore bands invoke the desire to destroy. Odd Future struck an odd balance between the two, hyping the crowd into a fury, but never pressing them past the point of control. Kudos must go out to the Metro employees who handled the situation with grace and no small amount of humor. They pulled smashed kids out of the front row and tossed crowd surfers back into the melee without a hint of anger. They’d seen wild kids come through before, and Odd Future’s crew were far from the first or the worst.
Before even entering the show I witnessed a conversation that, only in hindsight, put the whole evening into context. Walking past nearby bar Rockit, I watched a middle-aged guy engage a teen headed to the show: “Who are you guys seeing?” he asked. “Odd Future,” they replied. “They’re a hip-hop group.” “Do you think I’d like them?” the older guy asked. “No, they’re pretty hardcore.” The guy thought for a moment and said, “You know, back in my day, the Sex Pistols were hardcore.” At this the teen laughed and walked off. Even now I can’t be sure the teen knew who the Sex Pistols were, nor that he realized that one day he would be the goofy old guy having a smoke and prattling on about what how hardcore his favorite band was, long ago.