Truth be told, I left this set about a half-hour in, feeling like Odd Future showed me all they could in the first five minutes after taking the stage. I had come to this performance hoping for that punk-rock swag that the group had shown at the Glass House in Pomona a couple of weeks ago. But what was supposed to be the coming out performance of hip-hop's next big thing was, at best, a run-of-the-mill rap show. Why? Three reasons.
1. Big-stage rap is for legends only. Given the sonic realities of rap music in a festival setting, nobody really hears what the emcee spits UNLESS of course, the audience is already highly familiar with the material. This puts a young buzz group like OFWGKTA at a natural disadvantage; the crowd wasn't able to grasp the sick, twisted shit they were probably spitting because it hasn't been engrained into its brain the way, say, Snoop Dogg, Kanye or Jay-Z's material might be.
2. Live by the swag, die by the swag. People love Odd Future because everything they put out has that intangible swagger – even their YouTube interviews are fun to watch because they're able to make every setting their own. So when you see these guys rapping the way everybody else raps, the absence of swag is glaring.
3. Wu-Tang comparisons are a blessing and a curse. There's a lot that's great about having a crew that rolls a dozen thick in that you get a lot of creative output. The down side is trying to pull it off in a live setting – Wu Tang still has yet to figure it out some 20 years into the game. When there are ten or more live mics on stage at any one time, things tend toward chaos. And not the good kind of chaos.