Live Shots: Odd Future at the Warfield, 9/30/11


Hello, and welcome to the worst concert photography post ever! Let me explain. Odd Future's sold-out show at the Warfield on Friday was not a hip-hop show. Or it was – the group's wordplay and Shaolin-esque mythological persona is pretty unimpeachable – but it was mainly a grimy, sweaty, hopped-up-on-youth punk show.

Odd Future presents the conscientious music conundrum: can one like a band whose lyrics are reprehensible? The crew from Compton is way more attractive than the Insane Clown Posse, but the milieu that they've conjured, complete with darkly nonsensical terminology and sheer, bounding disregard for niceties, strike similar notes.

The stage's backdrop was a massive image the Golf Wang tour's kitty mascot, introduced by the group as Sharkcat. 

“Look at Sharkcat's eyes! Aren't you scared?” The audience roared back, completely not scared by whatever the group had to offer. 

Odd Future's songs focus on the going insane, violence, and getting head. The meat of the masses was young men dressed in the same sneaker, tee, and cutoffs look of the men onstage, but a large portion of the crowd at the Warfield was in fact, young women. They screamed along to every lyric and when Tyler the Creator, the group's brave young leader, surged to their side of the stage, they rushed forward with elbows just as pointed as the ones their masculine counterparts were flinging side-to-side and backwards in the frenzied mosh pit that would usually resolve with a security guard roughly shoving a key instigator out the theater to sure doom and no-reentry on the twinkling mid-Market strip. 

“We really cater to the ladies,” Tyler snarked at one point, thanking the XX-chromosoned for braving the rough-and-tumble front rows. Or maybe he was serious – his washboard abs, unveiled midway through the show, winked knowingly at this being the case. 

And because of that, I'm real sorry that my photos suck. Consider them rather a homage to the general feeling of the show rather than literal documentation. They're worth a look though, because the set kicked ass. Odd Future is real, real good. The group's appeal to the skaters, the hip-hop kids, and the yelping R&B babies is the kind of connection that didn't need that Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show performance to cement itself -- the artists are really artists, they're deranged-sexy, and they're bringing through a kind of hip-hop that has little to do with the consumerist posturing we see most of the time.

“I am not a fucking role role model!” one of the group members bellowed. Well, yeah. We didn't think you were.

By the time the show ended (at 11 p.m.?! One wonders if the Warfield got nervous about the would-be stage climber the band flung the 15 feet back down into the crowd, spine first, just as he had ascended to the level of his beloved rap crew) one of Odd Future's emcees was leading the crowd in their customary chant: “KILL PEOPLE BURN SHIT FUCK SCHOOL.” It's all real ignorant, but looking at the kids around me I couldn't help but be glad that they were here and not at an ICP show. 

And that conundrum? Consider it tabled for the moment. I think I was singing along.