A badly prepared house party
Odd Future - Live At The O2 Academy, Brixton

It’s an incredibly rare thing, but some artists walk into a sell-out show and immediately control the room before they even utter a word, sometimes before they even walk onto the actual stage. That’s what American hip hop group Odd Future show tonight at their packed out Brixton Academy show.

OFWGKTA stroll onto the stage in clusters to the crowd howlings of “Wolf Gang!” Accompanying them is album cover boy Lucas Vercetti, who they playfully tease by throwing drinks in his face and forcing him to jump into the crowd.

Not even five minutes into the show and girls are dancing on chairs, guys are pissing on the stairs and everyone is smoking weed, the atmosphere is one of the best Clash has ever seen. But, a gig cannot be completely held on visual aesthetics alone, there has to be some sustainable substance to counteract the overbearing style that oozes from the collective. This basic essential is not met though, most songs just come through as a sixth form attempt at a dance track, only a pounding bass and an ongoing and annoyingly repetitive highhat is heard throughout the show, which is barely carried by some precarious rapping. The creepy simplicity of ‘NY’s (Ned Flander)’ piano riff is drowned out (if it’s even there) by the heaviness of everything else. For over £17 a ticket, you would have expected them to bring some sort of small band setup like they did on their Jimmy Fallon performance of ‘Sandwitches’. Just a DJ does not suffice.

The bare heaviness does benefit some tracks though, especially new song ’50’ where the primal thumping of the bass emphasises the violent subject matter: “Fuck the police, break the law, twist your fingers up, grip your balls.” Odd Future get into the spirit of the lyrics by running around the stage, climbing the speakers, ripping their tops off and front flipping into the crowd. It’s short bursts of energy like this that could make you think that it’s okay to have such a stage presence and no tunes at all. However, if you want to be shouted at and jumped on, you can just walk round Brixton at 3am, some “struggling musician” will gladly do it free of charge.

It’s amazing how anyone can hear anything at all at times, the fans scream every “fuck” and “bitch” back at the stage, nearly overpowering the sound system and drowning out ‘Yonkers’ completely. OF have an extremely dedicated and diverse fanbase that could almost be given a cult like status, the crowd’s wardrobe varies from Ed Hardy tees to studded leather gloves, all of which join together and combine in arm waving harmony. It’s like a horribly dressed and twisted church congregation, and Tyler is their God.

Tonight is more of a badly prepared house party than a gig, and though it’s fun for now, all parties must end sometime. It’s not a case of if, it’s a case of when. Replace Odd with Uncertain and you’ve got a more apt band name.

Words by Jamie Carson

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