Last night Odd Future played the Electric Factory in Philadelphia and I went along to afford Ronnie’s pics some commentary. And before you think I’m going to give these kids any lyric/music critique, just know that I couldn’t understand a word they said, because A) it’s a hip hop show (indie hip hop to be correct) and B) I knew nothing about Odd Future except for a few enticing sub-designed posters plastered on the side of an abandoned bodega accompanying those “John Doe, put a chip in your kid so they aren’t murdered without you being able to find their corpse ads”.
I am just going to report back on the energy, vibe and comments from the 55-year-old clinical psychologist I happened to be standing beside. I will also enlighten the world with the drunken brilliance of a wheelchair bound self coined “Eddie Murphy”.
Odd Future is a collective of kids (17-22?) from LA, skater punks (according to old guy), some are lyricists, some musicians, some aren’t musicians at all, but together they make up (OFWGKTA – Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) and you can look up their names and sub groups and become addicted, if you aren’t already, on your own time. I just know their fans are young, mostly white and love these guys with the kind of intensity and passion their parents would sell their nuts to see.
Two of the performers flung themselves around stage with broken arms (one was “ring leader” Tyler) while the rest hopped and danced and pumped and stage dived (circa 1995). The crowd throbbed somewhat rhythmically with the music, while mini sea swirls and channels emerged as one body bounced off another into another until the small movement became a cataclysm, shifting the kids back and forth, under the smaller watchful eye of the older, legally drunk, 2nd floor. At the front Sarahs, Beverlys, Shannons and Hillarys made certain their hair was perfect and that they managed sexy glances upwards in between winces as their rib cages crushed in upon themselves from the sheer ecstasy of the mob at their backs.
The performers churned the energy in a captivating upward spiral. Not that I matter, but I was impressed, didn’t understand a word of the “misogynic lyrics” (Psychiatrist words, not mine) but I loved the way they performed, without anger, without hate, like a yard full of sugar-high elementary school kids at recess. OF expertly exploits the dormant energy of a generation held back only by laziness and irreverence; a generation born mostly to flaccid parents incapable of real guidance, having received very little themselves.
Additionally, I was fascinated at the lack of extraneous production. Behind the performers hung a backdrop photo of, what I assume is one of their members, white kid with bleach blonde hair, and that was all. At some point a laser was pointed at the crowd, the kind I use to make my dog act like an epileptic. The old guy said it had something to do with a laser shooting from a penis (a reference to one of their videos). I didn’t find that one, but this little gem, although not an original theme, think Plastic Little in “Dopeness”, is done brilliantly:
They are digital-refuse generation kids so everything they do is captured, videoblogged, photo’d and commented on… there’s a world of stalking at http://oddfuture.com for any fan interested in getting to know these artists and groupies better, including the psychiatrist who told me his reason for becoming a fan, once introduced to them by his son, was their clever wordplay and their atheism. He also told me, and I haven’t confirmed it, but one of the kid’s fathers is a poet laureate from South Africa, so they have “pedigree”.
And there it is, Odd Future successfully storms the Electric Factory with a teen tornado and I would have ended this post right here if some bone head didn’t lock my brake line into his lock when he tied up next to me. So while one wasted fat boy taunted security drones with unfortunately exposed man boobs and juicy boogers, a self-proclaimed drunk in a wheel chair tells us his breath will burn our faces off. The harmless chair-bound fellow would then laugh at himself, repeat several times how drunk he was, how much damage his breath could do all while trying to get a rise out of Ronnie B. And just when it was becoming a bit of a drag he started rolling backwards towards the street. I worried in that way you worry about old ladies falling down, kittens in abandoned boxes and down syndrome adults lost in grocery stores, but just before he toppled off the curb, he caught himself with one suddenly animated hand, shook his head as if to clear it, smiled broadly and said “I’m kissing puppies”…… “I’m kissing puppies”. And that summed up the show, the vibe, the crowd, the generation, the collaborative madness and the pulse of the night.
I’m kissing Puppies = Odd Future = rapture in the unexplained and seemingly meaningless void