*Disclaimer* I’m pretty damn late with this, but I still wanted to share a bit of my experience from last month :
On March 20th, Odd Future came to NYC. I decided to make a day of it and really wanted to immerse myself in the whole experience. So, I checked out the pop-up shop they opened on Orchard Street (a one day merch store set up in each city on the group’s tour where fans can meet the guys and buy overpriced t-shirts and other assorted apparel) and then headed over to the concert later in the night. I’ve been following OF’s rise to fame for the last 2 years or so but this was my first time witnessing the pandemonium they bring with them.
I woke Tuesday morning to find an interview from Hot 97‘s Peter Rosenberg featuring Tyler the Creator and…for the first time ever, the long lost OF member EARL SWEATSHIRT. The interview solidified the rumors that Earl was in New York and started the buzz about the possibility of Earl joining the rest of Odd Future for the show that night. Needless to say, I was stoked about this possibility and watching the interview only added to my excitement.
The New York popup shop was supposed to open around 12pm, but when I arrived closer to 1:00, I came to find out that it had yet to open and there was an incrementally growing line growing creeping down the block. Generally I know things like this tend to NOT run all that smoothly, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that after about 3 hours standing in line, basically all the members of Odd Future had left the shop to get ready for the show that night. Although, I did get to grab the album from the store before heading back home to recharge for the night AND I did see Domo Genesis and Taco who were still floating around the store for a bit.
As I got to the show and entered the Hammerstein Ballroom to OF’s Syd Tha Kyd DJing, I immediately felt the excitement in the air. I also immediately noticed about 50% of the crowd was probably still in high school and 60% definitely under 21. But I’m not dissing the kids, I mean I was a dumb hippie kid in high school who went to moe and Keller Williams shows all the time (so I am in no position to say anything). The crowd got more and more hyped through Syd’s DJ set, especially when she dropped the Kanye West/ Jay-Z banger “Niggas in Paris.” But then, all of a sudden, Syd cued up the familiar sounds of Hodgy Beats and Left Brain’s MellowHype track “64.”
This first song set the tone for the show and after that, it was more or less complete madness. I hadn’t been to a show, not to mentioned a RAP show, in quite a while but I must say I was floored. These kids were insane, so much fucking energy! I somehow found myself near the front of the crowd, about 40 or 50 feet from the stage, in a sea of sweaty dudes pushing and shoving and yet I still had a blast.
BUT then, about half way through the set, the true moment everyone was waiting for. The keys to the song “Orange Juice” hit and after a few seconds, Tyler and the rest of Odd Future introduce their long lost brother, EARL SWEATSHIRT.
The entire room, including OF themselves completely lost it. At this moment, the event no longer became just a concert. For Earl, it was a return home and I would consider, a defining moment as his first live performance with the group. There will never be another “Earl’s first show” and I am so happy I was able to witness it first hand. On stage you could see the camaraderie, joy, and excitement from the entire OF family. A group of friends, fucking around with one another, doing what they love. This can be summed up by the last few moments of the concert; as the group performed the final track of the night (which is also the last track of their new album) “Oldie,” a sprawling 10+ minute throwback feeling track featuring a verse from every collective OF member. One by one, each member recited their respective verse and by the time it came to Earl’s verse (the second to last and by far the longest of the song) nearly the entire stage was full of OF family, backing their newly returned brother.
This might sound a bit lame, but it was a special day for me, and I am extremely happy still, as it is now nearly a month ago that I was a part of this whole event.
Check out a lil video I shot:
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