Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday Night in Tempe: Odd Future (OFWGKTA) at the Marquee Theatre

We don't know a single other person our age who loves Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, but we adore them so much we were willing to risk our life tonight to see them open their new tour at Tempe's Marquee Theatre.

This was a scary place for someone over 60 to be, but we made it out alive and we're glad to have had the experience seeing a live performance.

From the videos and reviews we've devoured over the past year or so, we knew that the audience gets -- well, "rowdy" would be a great understatement, so we went with trepidation.

We stuck to the far back, although the security people seemed to keep sending the worst miscreants to the back of the theater, which made it scarier. But we managed to avoid getting punched, pushed, stage-dived on, drenched with water (though we were grateful for the H20 we did get), or otherwise molested. Okay, we got pushed a little bit.

The audience was mostly teens and early twentysomethings, which must tell you that we are in a state of terminal immaturity, but from the first time we heard Tyler, the Creator and the rest of the OFWGKTA collective, we were spellbound by their wild anarchic energy.

They ended their fall tour here in November, and this was their starting point on this one. This afternoon they opened a "sweatshop," as they do everywhere, at the Cowtown Skateboards shop on University Drive, where they hung out and did all kinds of things with and to their fans who bought OFWGKTA merchandise.

The audience seemed a little cranky at first, as the show was delayed, and we heard people who went to the November show say that this one had less energy and was a little more low-key, but it seemed to be both high in energy and key to us.

It was a little hard to make out some of their really funny and offensive lyrics due to either the sound or our impaired hearing, but we didn't mind.

And yes, they're pretty offensive. They're misogynistic, homophobic, antisocial, and sometimes creepy -- but there's a sense, to us anyway, that it's all in service to an overwhelmingly bizarre anarchic dynamic that works magic because it's so crazily light-hearted.

There were actually some slower songs at the beginning of the show, including one by non-OFWGKTA Wacka Flocka Flame.

Their fans obviously worship them, and we can see the attraction, especially for kids, because, well, after all, the kid in all of us can relate to "Radical"'s insistent chant of "Kill people burn shit fuck school."

Especially those of us who teach.

They showed a promo for their new Adult Swim show, "Loiter Squad," before they came onstage. Being on Adult Swim seems to indicate that they've gone mainstream but we hope not. It was less interesting than listening to their songs or watching them in person.

The show was incredibly interactive, like all the ones we've seen on YouTube, and even their most obnoxious moments can be addictive.

There is never a moment, though, when we doubt how well-thought-out all this craziness actually is.

Look at the videos of "Yonkers" or "Rella" or "NY (Ned Flander)" and you'll see how painstakingly their intentions are carried out

even if you're not sure what the point of any of it is.

And they clearly don't give a shit anyway, which is exactly why people like them.

Somewhat surprisingly, they stuck to mostly their older stuff tonight.

Everyone was onstage all the time, even when they weren't performing, although I guess that's performing too.

People got craziest during "Yonkers," which taught us that if you just want to appreciate the song, watch the video, but there was also something about seeing that wildness in the streets (okay, theater).

It was kind of like a blissed-out, choreographed riot at various times.

And we didn't want to get hurt, so we pretty much mimicked the people jumping around, though with a lot less energy and more wariness. Hey, we're over 60 and just had foot surgery!

Not that we're congratulating ourselves. Frankly, everyone we know thinks we're stupid for liking Odd Future. When we link to their videos on Facebook, our friends never have responded at all.

Is there a support group for old people who know what Golf Wang is?

Luckily tonight everyone was oblivious to us. And we shouted out "Kill people burn shit fuck school" as best we could.

We're really grateful we got to see tonight's show and even more grateful we survived it without ending up in the hospital. Luckily our heart is stronger than we thought.

From now on, though, we will enjoy Odd Future from the comfort of home. We would advise everyone over forty (thirty?) to at least check them out and see what you're missing. Arizona is filled with mean, cranky old white people who have run things into the ground, and they could use a little Odd Future.

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