Tyler the Creator and his “Wolf Gang” were in Birmingham at the HMV institute, a small but cosy setting for such an aspiring group, armed with bananas and towels. Despite the small setting in Digbeth, Tyler and his broken foot made it all the way from Los Angeles to please his masses of fans with his homophobic and graphic detail on sex and drugs “Odd Future Wolf Gang definitely killed them all.”
After a two hour wait Syd “The Kid” Bennett (the groups beat maker) came out and performed a 30 minute set which was a great way to start the gig with a set list of pop and R&B songs from La Roux to Soulja Boy. After the great opening “Hodgy beats” took to the stage and performed his new single “Mellow Hype” which was, to say the least, disappointing. I couldn’t hear a word he was saying! Midway through the song other members of the gang emerged and all I could hear was muffled shouting. This continued until well known “Yonkers” started. I could finally hear what they were saying and this song really got the audience in the mood.
Forced to sit for the first part of the gig due to injuries sustained in Scotland, Tyler the creator still managed to engage the audience with his immature gimmicks and stage presence. Tyler’s broken foot wasn’t going to stop him stage diving and throughout the gig Odd Future continually leapt into the crowd (right on top of me.)
Odd Future performed a good gig but in comparison to groups such as the Wu Tang Clan who performed only a month ago on the same stage, only amateurs. Odd Future are lacking in rhyme and are way too repetitive. They may be the new “odd gang” with their shocking lyrics “stab Bruno Mars in his god damn oesophagus” from America but they have a long way to go before achieving the legendary status the Wu Tang Clan holds. Odd Future don’t have the variation in their songs, it seems if they like the beat they will go with it (which is a good approach to have as they are not controlled by the public.) Too much of the same depressing style makes me want to listen to something else such as, surprisingly, the Wu Tang Clan.
Odd Future interacted with the fans throughout the gig with various methods such as “the wall of death” (people running into each other), mocking members of the crowd and throwing bananas at people. Even sitting on a chair Tyler still had the audience at his feet, he played the crowd well asking for the first half of the show if he should “jump or not.”
Tyler the creator and Hodgy Beats had a good relationship together on stage and their rapping styles seem to coincide well. Tyler with his low voice and talking style and Hodgy Beats with his lyrical flow and change of rhythms.
Odd Future are a phenomenon in their own right with their gory graphic depictions of rape and violence leading the way and are rapidly changing the hip-hop scene. Unlike hip hop artists today the words mean something. I look forward to charismatic Tyler and his peculiar gang in the near future.
Review – John Kirby
Photos – Jordan Hughes