Concert review: Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All at The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City

click to enlarge Tyler the Creator - Andrew Silverstein
Andrew Silverstein
Tyler the Creator

Tyler the Creator and his troupe of rap provocateurs otherwise known as Odd Future Golf Wang Kill Them All graced The Ritz last Wednesday. They talked, farted around, and worked a pretty solid set for the hour and a half or so they were on stage. The crowd went pretty fucking crazy, moshing and leaping around; one even jumped on the stage to a hilariously unenthusiastic reaction from the ringleader. It had all the workings of a pretty gnarly show, on paper.

But something about it all fell short and ultimately failed to live up to expectation, which is kind of a bitch in itself.

It's a classic case of the high hopes. I drank the Odd Future Kool-Aid enthusiastically between their 'breakout' earlier this year and the show. Rap revolutionaries? Totally, man. I saw them, well, Tyler mostly, as the figurative wrench in the spokes of the rap game; an artist so fiery and enigmatic he'd forever change what it meant to be an American rap star.

Overhyped dick-jockery? In hindsight, yeah. They're just kids. Kids hyped on skateboarding, weed, cartoons, and Satan who became solid friends and happen to spit great lines on the aforementioned topics.

Wednesday night's show seemed to humanize them. That sounds kinda NPR interest piece-ish, but whatever. Tyler, Hodgy Beats, Syd tha Kid, Domo Genesis, Mike G, Taco, Jasper Dolphin and Left Brain all rotated around the stage trading off songs, tossing verses back and forth, and railing through their already huge catalog with a pretty reckless abandon.

Good luck if you weren't familiar with these songs. Discerning an entire bar could've easily turned into a pretty solid drinking game, but this is a swipe at low-hanging fruit. You wouldn't really knock Ian Mackaye (I hope) for not being able to 'decipher' his lyrical content at some early Minor Threat show.

OF's lone female, Syd tha Kid, slayed with some choice mix selections to warm us up before OF came out and then maintained the energy behind the boards for the entire show. It's easy to see why they list her as a member and not some one-off accessory to OF.

Mike G killed with an a capella freestyle after "Go Mike G" that had everyone, OF members included, pretty damn stunned by its absurdity and cleverness.

Speaking of a capella, the backing track of "Bitch Suck Dick" (one of Tyler's more eloquently titled efforts) cut out like, halfway through the song. Without skipping a beat, Tyler and company went on for a pretty amazing a capella rendition of the track rife with beat-boxing and a word-for-word backing track courtesy of the crowd.

"Did we just do an a capella 'Bitches Suck Dick?'" Tyler asked, just as nonplussed as we were.

"Have you actually sat down and read the lyrics to that song?" he asked, laughing. "That happens to be not only the single-handedly dumbest shit, but also the most awesomest shit, I ever wrote in my life." And then he pondered its Nobel Peace Prize worthiness. Pretty amazing, and far and beyond, the highlight of the show.

"Tron Cat," "Yonkers," "Radical" and "Sandwitches" were all barked out with awesome intensity. All, their most reputable songs, and all credited to Tyler. See a trend here?

By no fault of his own, really, Tyler is the most magnetizing character in Odd Future. Honestly, most of the tracks just felt like filler every time he was off the stage. All members have obvious talent. None of them shouldn't have been there, but lined up next to the de facto ringleader, even the best of Hodgy Beat and Mike G just kind of pales in comparison when it comes to sheer entertainment.

Even with the occasional high moments, the show just felt like a one-off for OF. The overwhelming majority of songs came in the form of lazed-out rhymes accentuated by posse barking that got monotonous, like, way too quick. Colossal expectation is a bitch, really, but hey, it's good they came here.

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