Odd Future or Is That Wolf Gang? At Terminal 5, Wednesday, October 19th, 2011, Reviewed
Near the end of Wolf Gang's extremely high energy set at T5 Wednesday night, the Goblin himself Tyler, the Creator, let's his guard down completely for a moment and his weariness, something in check for an occasional deep breathe between acts of wilding on stage hooligans, is evident: like a warning to be aware of what you wish for: "I ain't gonna front, I ain't gonna lit to you. I'm fucking exhausted. I've never seen anything like this touring shit and this is our fourth night in a row." He pauses, not for dramatic effect, but out of a concern that here, in what he and Hoagy had called their favorite place in the world, was bringing it. "But you're having a good time, right?" He asks.
They are. But me? Less so.
Tyler is coming off, but not much plugging, his first album, Goblin and as the white teen early twenty, 75% male, audience prove, his color indifferent howl of indignation at life as a teenager resonates middleclass wise. On stage it is a paradox at the heart of Odd Future – Wolf Gang. The posse call themselves Wolf Gang, on record Tyler at least is Odd Future, on record they hare pretzled out with conflict, on stage , the bad ass rappers, Hoagy, Domo, Mike G, others, are a whirl of aggression and energy: it's like they are a personification of teenage abandon; they never stop moving, they sometimes stop rapping, they engage their audience completely and their audience, in a running battle with security, embrace them right back.
It felt like a generation of young rock fans claiming their own, it reminded me a little of the Sex Pistols in 1977 (and not like, say, the Ramones). And it was thrilling to watch Tyler and Hoagy jump off the second floor balcony into the fans waiting to catch them below. It was like the coolest party and not everybody got an invite.
All well and good but musically it was less like the Pistols and more like 50 cents and his posse when I saw them at Summer Jam when he first came out: when rock is amateur it is loud but fresh, rap is loud and obstreperous. All musical nuance is completely gone. Before starting in on "Yonkers" Tyler, in Odd Future mode, says "You have no idea how sick I am of doing this shit". The version Wolf gang give us a pathetic screamalong. Why not keep to Under The Influence, 12 Songs and Mellowhype: why not prove the horrorcore complaints through dumbing your sound down beyond existence.
"Hatecore racecore", they shout, and that's what the arrogant, delicate, fucked up kids are all about and so is their army.
Tyler should rethink his foreign policy.
He should get Frank Ocean on board as the opening act and plug Goblin. No "Goblin" tonight, no "Bastard" either -that ain't Wolf gang, that's a deeper, greater rapper.