Every generation in the prime of their youth fears that the good times will end with them becoming just another brick in the wall. The dread of one’s fate after their youth has passed them by has driven millions of young people over the years to find an idol that convinces them that there’s a way out. Youth and anarchy have been synonymous since the 60′s and this phenomenon has propelled many artists to icon status. Odd Future are the icons of Generation Z and nothing was more of a testament to this than the thousands of teenagers and twenty-somethings who showed up to their concert at Toronto’s Sound Academy last night.
With lyrics like “Victim, Victim, honey you’re my fifth one,” and “Kill people! Burn sh-t! F-ck school!” Odd Future is every mother’s worst nightmare whilst simultaneously the saving grace to every kid that wants to rebel. Whether or not their lyrics are satire or a genuine violent, misogynistic mentality, is a debate that can go on and on with no conclusion ever coming into fruition. All I know is that you really have to experience one of their shows and see them perform their lyrics. It’s with such passion and zeal that you almost become hypnotized by the spectacle.
Odd Future has a long history of evading the media and disapproving of photographers. They have stated before that they would rather fill the media pit with fans as opposed to photographers so I covered the event for Bad Perm without my camera. I’ll have to rely on my words this time to paint the most vivid picture I can.
Before the show started, Hodgy Beats teased the crowd by popping his head from out behind the curtain every so often. They played a short film, maybe 10 minutes long that was full of blood, humour involving bodily fluids, wigs, exaggerated accents and pop culture references that seemed to have gone way over people’s heads. I wish I could give you a deeper analysis seeing as how I’m a film lover but unfortunately I couldn’t see half the screen from where I was standing. There is something to be said however about their visual aesthetic and choice of concept, which has remained fairly consistent throughout all their music videos.
When the guys finally came out on stage, both Tyler the Creator and Left Brain were sporting arm casts, oh dear. Tyler’s was shorter in length (and neon pink) so I’m assuming he broke his wrist and maybe a few fingers. Left Brain’s on the other hand was all the way up to his elbow. I don’t know what they could have possibly done to acquire these injuries, but here’s hoping they recover soon. Left Brain was also seen sporting a vintage Vince Carter #15 Raptors jersey which I thought was a nice homage to Toronto. Tyler and Left Brain were also joined on stage with Hodgy, Domo Genesis, Mike G and Taco. Fans who were hoping to see Earl Sweatshirt make an appearance were surely left a little disappointed. They were heard chanting “Sweatshirt! F-ck School!” In reference to his mother’s decision to send him off to boarding school outside of the U.S.
Domo Genesis performed Rolling Papers before Tyler took over with Tron Cat. Everything That’s Yours calmed the crowd down a bit before Tyler subsequently performed Cookie Coma. B-tch Suck D-ck ignited the crowd into a violent mosh pit that spanned wall to wall. Thus, the mosh pit became a mosh room. 64 from the MellowHype collective had every word of the lyrics chanted by the audience while their newest single, Rella further induced moshing. Among various other songs peformed, the audience got to hear Tyler’s Sandwitches, MellowHype’s Loaded, and Check My French, also by Tyler. At one point, Tyler fearlessly dove into the crowd as eager hands reached out to literally uphold him in everyone’s highest regard. If I’m not mistaken, Tyler returned on stage without shoes, so either fans got their hands on his kicks, or he strategically and discreetly took them off before jumping. Who knows, I mean, his hat was still on his head.
It is absolutely undeniable that these dudes have heart when it comes to their music. They delivered their bars with such vigor that I saw neck veins popping out. They were jumping and dancing so furiously across the stage that by the third song in, they were dripping with sweat. At one point Tyler even lay down on the stage floor mouthing the words “I’m tired,” before getting right back up. Their beats were so heavily infused with bass, that I felt my organs vibrating. Last night, the members of Odd Future went to work and nothing is more evident of this than the reaction that they got from their fans. For two hours, I saw arms that stayed in the air without fail mimicking the flow of the beat. I saw hundreds of shirts drench in sweat as those brave enough to mosh recklessly bounced to and fro against other bodies. Whenever Tyler, Hodgy, Domo, Left Brain, Mike G or Taco would stand at the edge of the stage, the crowd would scream in a seemingly endless fit of fervor. Hands would reach across as far as they could in hopes of touching one of the members. Its incredible the way that Tyler can induce both female and male fans into a complete state of giddiness and hysteria.
Almost every song had the crowd colliding into itself in such a frenzy that one point I saw members of the audience rise above the crowd into an involuntary crowd surf. As I watched the biggest mosh pit I’ve ever seen from the sidelines, it occurred to me that this was a very tribal thing. Amidst the chaos and destructive mentality, everyone was blending together in a wave of youthful revolt, with anarchy being the common thread that held everyone together. It seems like every 30 seconds, security was pulling some disheveled individual out of the sea of people. The faces of people being pulled started to become more and more familiar but there was one particular guy who I counted as being pulled from the crowd a record of seven times. I have no clue how he managed to repeatedly push his way through the densely packed crowd so many times but that type of aggression and stamina should count for something.
The show ended with a disclaimer from Tyler stating that the outro song might cause him to urinate himself. “If I piss my pants, I want you to put it up on YouTube”. I guess he was just as excited as the crowd who was hyped to hear Earl’s smash hit Pigeons. As they started to perform their last song, two guys tried to rush the stage but were immediately apprehended by security. Left Brain leaned off stage and started shaking his head and taunting them. No one steals the show from Odd Future. As Pigeons was coming to a close, Left Brain brought a Canadian flag out on stage with the words Wolf Gang written across it and an inverted crucifix scribbled on the maple leaf. He held the flag behind him like a cape and proceeded to do a victory lap on stage. The last thing I remember hearing was “Kill people! Burn sh-t! f-ck school!” Yes, smells like teen spirit indeed.