The mood of the (heavily male and entirely young) queue snaking down Swanston Street is 'stoked!' Few acts have been more hyped with less commercially available material as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Already legendarily divisive, if head honcho Tyler, The Creator had a dollar for every irate blog post, expletive laden defensive YouTube comment and carefully considered opinion piece, he could buy Apple. But as tonight’s show proves, they're not the North Korea of bands they’re made out to be (attention seeking outsiders who regularly hint at serious danger but rarely deliver). They’re crowd-hyping party guys who use every inch of the stage and know how to put on a show.
With no support act, pre-show entertainment comes in the form of several hundred people occasionally cheering and squealing as one of the OFWGKTA collective walk across the stage. Members wander through crowd and stand around, just chillin’ though looking as though they have somewhere to be. As showtime approaches, cheers are replaced by chants of ‘WOLF. GANG. WOLF. GANG’ and fears of a small turnout (hinted at by the show’s move from the Palace and the $70 tickets) are dispelled by a sold out crowd who can’t wait to lose their shit.
The lights drop, and DJ/producer Syd tha Kid detonates her metallic beats, as various members begin shouting from offstage; messing with the rising tension. Suddenly Domo Genesis, Mike G and LeftBrain storm the stage with haka-style moves and blistering raps, barely discernable due to the force of their speech. Soon chaos reigns as the whole crew arrives and begins blasting their way through Transylvania, Forest Green and Tron Cat, each more manic than the last. “Melbourne, I fucked with Fitzroy skate park today,” says Tyler. “I fucking love that place. And motherfucking Pancake Parlour”. “How many people here smoke weed?” asks LeftBrain. “Please, share with us if you have some,” Soon enough several members line the side of the edge of the stage smoking while others exhort us to 'do it like yr retarded!’ and refer to us (affectionately) as niggers, as the beats to French kicks in driving the crowd even crazier than the next high points of the set, Tyler’s Orange Juice, and Mike G’s time to shine, King.
They grab their crotch, pop their eyes, throw water on us and treat the stage like a rumpus room. Their delivery is so physical that songs flirt with musical theatre. Unsurprisingly, Tyler can barely begin their best-known song Yonkers due to the volume of the audience’s participation; even he seems surprised. Hodgy Beats takes the lead on the mighty Sandwitches, before the inane Radical and its screamed outro: ‘kill people / burn shit / fuck school’ that we holler back at ear bursting levels.
Yes there is ceaseless misogyny and glorification of extreme sexualized violence every time OFWGKTA open their mouths, but when the energy is this positive, the crowd this amped and the beast and songs this clever…that’s entertainment. Whether you think it should be or not, you can bet OFWGKTA don’t give a fuck.