[Review] Odd Future Play Village Underground, London 04/29/11

Last month when Odd Future announced 2 warm up dates prior to their Camden Crawl set in London tickets flew off of the shelves. Tyler and co then cancelled the evening show set for the Relentless Garage. Luckily I'd bought myself a pair of Village Underground tickets and on Friday morning made the 5 hour trip down south to London. With the Royal Wedding being on the same day I was expecting chaos on the roads and in the city. I was mistaken, the only chaos I was to see on this glorious Friday afternoon took place at London's Village Underground. This was the location at which Tyler The Creator, Mellowhype AKA Hodgy Beats and Left Brain along with Syd Tha Kyd played their second ever UK show to a crowd of open mouthed ticket holders. It was crazy.

The stage was back dropped with Union Jack flags and a Royal Wedding Flag donning the faces of Prince William and Kate Middleton. And as with when we saw OF in Texas, Tyler started getting the crowd hyped from backstage with chants of "Golf Wang", naturally. Moments later the crowd erupts as a green mask wearing Tyler storms onto the stage shortly followed by Left Brain and Hodgy Beats. Shit just got real! The atmosphere of the venue was electric and with it being only being the groups second ever UK show, they had a lot to prove. With just 4 out of the 11 strong crew on stage I was doubting if the guys could keep up the intensity that they're known for, and i wondered if lack of sleep would have taken its toll on the 4 of them. Thankfully, I was mistaken.

Opening the set with "Sandwitches", Tyler and Hodgy immediately marked their territory by launching themselves headfirst into the crowd. They meant business, and they came to show the UK what we'd been missing. Tyler quickly removed his mask as the temperature rose, but quickly replaced it with a Queen Elizabeth cardboard cut out. Obviously, the natural choice for such a day of Royal holy matrimony. While donning the Queens face, Hodgy and Left Brain laid down a great rendition of Mellowhype's "64" while Tyler marched on the spot saluting the crowd in time to the beat. Hodgy's stage presence is like that of a possessed demon, it's kind of scary and intimidating. Left Brain shortly after this, gets hit in the face with a can of beer resulting in blood, and a very angry look of "whoever did that ima kill you". This angry persona stayed with LB for the rest of the set. He rocked the look well though!

The crowd seemed to be a little taken a back as Tyler and the gang call Kate Middleton a "bitch" and Prince William a "faggot" but what the hell did you expect when you come to watch Odd Future. They don't beat around the bush, and they are known for their shock value. "Kate’s a bitch and Will’s a fag" chants aside, it didn't seem to effect the atmosphere too much as bodies continued to fly. "French" drops and yet again Tyler spits his vox whilst riding on top of a sea of bouncing heads, before Left Brain literally runs over the crowd like a man with a hidden agenda. Although the set is growing in intensity as it progresses something seems to be missing. Whether it's the rest of the crew, or just jet lag, something is amiss. "Yonkers" quickly puts aside my doubts, as the crowd screams the lyrics of Tyler's lead single from Goblin. With UK radio just picking up the track, all be it a heavily edited version, it's clear to see the crowd have done at least a little homework. Bodies crowd surf towards the stage as shoes and socks seems to be missing on more and more people, including Tyler.

As they drop "Radicals" Tyler climbs atop the speaker stack and launches himself 10 feet into the pit and the crowd continues to scream "KILL PEOPLE, BURN SHIT, FUCK SCHOOL" along with Hodgy and Left Brain all while Syd keeps the beats coming. Before the track, Tyler tells us that this is his favourite track to play live, and with the way he put his body on the line launching himself that high, and that far, I think he was telling the truth, a rarity it must be said. "Fuck The Police" is usually the last track from Odd Future when they play live and as the crowd holds up hundreds of middle fingers directed towards the stage, the set is almost at a close. The hundreds of people in this high roofed venue, have just witnessed the second ever OFWGKTA show in the UK. 

Tyler seemed humbled by the reception he's received and climbs the speaker stack once more, this time however it's to thank the crowd for what he says is in "the top 3 wildest shows" they've ever done. Whether or not this is Tyler just going through the motions of being a good performer who knows, all I know is the show was insane. Tyler even injured himself and said he needed to go to the hospital for a ankle injury. The only downside to the show, someone stole his cap given to him by none other than, you guessed it, Earl Sweatshirt.

As the show comes to a close they drop "Earl" and rap along for a bit before exiting the stage and I think that I've just witnessed the hype being met yet again for the second time in as many months. As I leave the venue, I over hear many a conversation proclaiming how tight, and intense the show was. I have a feeling I wasn't the only one who left the show feeling more than a little impressed. Props to OF for putting on a great show with only 4/11 (if you include Earl) being on stage. My body is still aching from the show, and I'm sleep deprived still but it was more than worth it. (Pictures via Kitty Says & DJ Semtex).

(via The Hip Hop Chronicle)

Tyler, The Creator's highly anticipated sophomore album Goblin is set to drop on May 9th here in the UK and a day later on the 10th in the States. Something tells me that we're going to be seeing a lot more of Tyler & the Odd Future gang in the coming year. Roll on Leeds Festival I say.