A month ago, Tyler the Creator and his Odd Future buddies were banned from the entire country of New Zealand because the local government there believed they posed a threat to the public order. Saturday, Tyler was arrested at a SXSW performance in Austin, Texas, for inciting a riot.
As the leader of the youngest and most thrash-worthy hip-hop collective in America, Tyler has struck a serious nerve, but not really so much with the obvious crowd of street-wise urbanites most commercial rappers target. Tyler and the rest of OFWGKTA prove that punk rock is still kicking. Last night, they damn-near brought the crowd at America's Backyard (aka Revolution) to the point of actual revolt -- and it was fabulous.
It was an early show for the kids, and the crowd was mostly made up of actual children. The bars of America's Backyard, where the concert took place, looked practically deserted by the hoard of under-agers, and we wouldn't be surprised if half them weren't yet 18. The line to get in wrapped around the block, and most fans sported OF's brightly-colored donut shirts and member tees, or at least a beanie with an upside-down cross of Tyler's creation.
Inside, the energy was frenetic. As the minutes ticked by, the crowd swelled and became restless waiting for Tyler. From upstairs, you could see the bodies rocking back and forth like a wave. If we were still 16, we'd probably think it was as awesome as they did.
Finally, at 9:04 p.m., the youngest OF member, Taco, took the stage to an uproar of applause. Behind the decks, he started the music off right, opening with local rapper Denzel Curry's hit "Threatz." In just that first song, at least three people started crowd surfing. Taco ran around on stage, throwing his water everywhere, acting as the perfect hypeman where absolutely no hype was needed.
After a few more tracks by Future, Rick Ross, and others, Tyler came running out to greet his screaming fans with a musical slap in the face called "Jamba." The crowd responded with an immediate moshpit and enough rowdy behavior to drive security up the wall.
They were joined on stage by OF's Jasper and some other friends we didn't recognize. They seemed rather taken with the venue.
"That fuckin' bar in the middle is really dope," Tyler said. "This shit is going to be different." Right after that, as "Tron Cat" blared, a wild punk ran across that very bar and jumped into the front of the crowd. Two songs into the show and security had been rendered obsolete.
With both Jasper and Taco in attendance, "Bitch Suck Dick" went over perfectly.
"This is the dumbest song," Jasper laughed. "Why do you guys like this song?" The most ignorant song in the OF catalogue remains a crowd favorite.
But Tyler isn't a one-trick pony, and he played songs to represent all kinds of emotions; love, hate, sex, remorse, rage, nonsensical enthusiasm, all the stuff young kids get off on. He asked everyone to "get fuckin' depressed right quick" for "Cowboy," and turned the crowd up for "IFHY." He got all dim-the-lights on the place with "VHS" and put the lean on with "48." Of course, "Yonkers" was greeted with all the noise of a devoted hoard.
"Can I get a Dr. Dre?" Tyler yelled. "Dr. Dre," the crowd screamed.
"Can I get a stinky dick?" Tyler called. "Stinky dick," the crowd answered. Putty in his hands.
After a few more songs, including a touching moment when the crowd sang along to Jasper's acapella'd verse from "Oldie," Tyler tore the shit up to "Tamale" and dipped. It was a surprisingly-early end, but then again, it was a school night.
Had the Revolution complex seen one of the craziest performances in its existence? Probably. It's not every day kids lose their shit like that, but really, what's the harm? Every kid needs to smash themselves against another now and again, especially when you grow up in suburban Fort Lauderdale. So what gives, New Zealand? Chill the fuck out, Austin. Punk rock is not a crime, and though Tyler is practically a cult leader, he's the kind of cult leader you can trust (as long as you're cool with kids saying "stinky dick").
"Sam (Is Dead)"
"Bitch Suck Dick"
"Check My French"