Given everything that occurred over the course of the Odd Future Christmas melee at the Roxy last night, I honestly thought Tyler The Creator ending the show with a Mexican Hat Dance on top of the mixing board was part of the show. Seeing him shoved into a cop car with his mom crying and fans doing their best to start a riot on Sunset Boulevard quickly told me it wasn’t.
I’ve been low-key obsessed with the OFWGKTA (“Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All”) crew ever since I caught them destroy a beyond sold-out club Echo last December. Between their surprisingly tight stage show and the amazing crowd of truly new-school kids creating their own culture was a wonder to behold, especially in real time. Coupled with Tyler’s album Bastard being my favorite hip-hop album of last year (it was officially released – for free – on Christmas Day of 2009), I’ve charted the course of Odd Future as the new bad boys of rap rather closely. I find them to be refreshingly (and often shockingly) real, existing somewhere between N.W.A. and Bad Brains, and in more ways than just the obvious.
Something outrageous has happened every time I’ve seen them perform. Tyler broke his foot stage-diving during the first song when I saw them at the House of Blues on Sunset earlier this year. But last night’s Christmas show at the Roxy took their barely controlled chaos to new levels of “WTF just happened?!”
The show opened with a brief DJ set from Syd The Kyd, the sold-out and very young crowd going completely bananas when she dropped Watch The Throne’s “N----- In Paris”, if there was any question that it was the song of the year.
Once Hodgy Beats took the wildly decorated stage via a rather impressive magic trick, the entire main floor erupted into a giant mosh pit. With Left Brain and Tyler racing across the small stage, older songs like “French!” played like calls to action, stage-divers playing tag with increasingly frustrated security guards. The extended OF crew was posted up mob deep at the back of the stage, smoking enough marijuana to impress Cypress Hill.
Ending the show on a manic live version of “Radicals” with the band Trash Talk, the OF crew made like Santa Claus by tossing dozens of Odd Future t-shirts and even hoodies into the crowd. It was during this melee that Tyler began screaming at the soundman to turn his mike back on. When he wouldn’t oblige, Tyler crowd-surfed back to the soundboard to scream in the guy’s face before kicking out parts of the board into the crowd. The sound guy just stood there with a bemused look on his face, hence my belief that the whole thing was staged.
But when I left the venue to see a line of state troopers and city police lining Sunset, it all became depressingly real. Kids started chanting at the cops, and a few bottles were thrown as Tyler was led out in handcuffs and shoved into a police car, with his crying mother in tow.
And with that, the show was over.