Tyler, The Creator + Earl Sweatshirt Fox Theater 5/22/13
Tyler, The Creator shows are known to get a little too rowdy and out of hand, but last night in Pomona Tyler let loose and got silly instead of psycho. Sharing the stage with his Odd Future brother, Earl Sweatshirt, the California bred rapper took selfies with his fans cell phones and sipped Capri Suns instead of starting riots. Supported by OF "pseudo" rappers Taco and Jasper, the Wolf Gang started its set guns ablaze. Without any introduction, they leapt on stage and started spittin' rhymes. Tyler performed songs off this year's Wolf and 2011's Goblin. He marched in place during "Radicals," and covered Nas and Frank Ocean's parts during "48."
Earl Sweatshirt rapped with Tyler, and Tyler contributed to his colleague's songs too. The crowd got exceptionally into the up-and-comers tracks, he's gearing up to release his sophomore album, Doris, and played a lot of new material--the standouts being "20 Wave Caps," which he performed with Domo Genesis, and "Whoa," the first single off his upcoming debut. As he rapped, Tyler rode around on his bike, waving to his fans. During the hook, as Earl rapped "G-O-L-F," and the crowd finished with "Dub-A-N-G," Tyler put his signing skills to good use and translated the letters into sign language.
With Domo Genesis and Hodgy Beats both in attendance, the group was able to accurately portray not only Tyler and Earl's solo tracks, but a handful of OF songs as well. As a group, they played "Rella" and "Cool," with Tyler dancing and contorting his face while it wasn't his turn to rap. During "Trashwang," they invited Lee Spielman and Lucas Vercetti onstage. "I don't even know what to do after that," Tyler exclaimed. "That was SO TIGHT!" But he managed to keep the momentum going until the end of the set.
"I want everyone to take a few steps back in different directions," he instructed his fans as they began to form a deep mosh pit. After a brief distraction from a girl flashing her ta-ta's, Tyler explained the rules: "Rule number one, if my hand is up like this," he holds his arm up, "stop moving. Rule number two, if I make this motion," he makes circles with his fingers, "I want you all to circle kick. And rule number three, if someone falls, fucking pick them up!" The crowd obliged and Hodgy Beats joined the Wolf Gang once again to perform "Sandwitches."
Though hip-hop shows can be somewhat anti-climactic and premature (what's with so many rappers playing 30 minute sets?) Tyler knows how to entertain. He played for almost two hours straight, which is a feat in itself, and his charisma kept the crowd's attention and energy up. He even decorated the stage with a campy scene of fake grass, rocks, tree stumps, and a painted backdrop of a forest and mountains. It was refreshing to see a rapper who didn't take himself too seriously and just have fun onstage.
Critical Bias: Tyler, The Creator is one of the more charismatic rapper and this shines through in his live performance. This was definitely one of the better hip-hop shows I've been to recently.
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The Crowd: It's normally taboo to wear a band shirt to a show, but Odd Future fans are a different breed. The majority of the crowd was decked out it OFWGKTA, Tyler, The Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt swag.
Overheard In The Crowd: Fans chanting "Wolf Gang! Wolf Gang!" at the top of their lungs before the curtain even dropped. Hell, one guy even started crowd surfing before the set!
Random Notebook Dump: While waiting in line to get in, I witnessed Tyler chuck a toaster in the street outside his tour bus, and I knew I was in for an interesting night.