SXSW: Odd Future cuts set short at show sponsored by Billboard (hey, weren’t they just on the cover?)


[I decided to see the currently larger-than-life rap group one more time at SXSW — in a smaller setting this time around. Most thought the Odd Future set at MWTX was epic, but then this happened…]

“Sound guy, this mic is fucked. Fix this shit.”

If those words from Tyler, the Creator didn’t foreshadow the end of Odd Future‘s Billboard showcase at Buffalo Billiards on Saturday night, then there are some people who underestimated the integrity of the rap collective. They do things their way, on their terms, no matter whether they’re doing a show in South Central or performing for a national publication that made their group cover stars.

Still, it was a rock-star move of massive proportions when Odd Future stormed off the stage 10 minutes into their show Saturday night, leaving a capacity crowd stunned – with some onlookers angry to be deprived of their time with the buzz kids and others admiring OFWGKTA’s moxie.

The line for attendees wearing badges was long, and it was an even longer line for those without SXSW credentials who were willing to pay a $20 cover. After hearing rave reviews about Odd Future from earlier performances at the Fader Fort (where Diddy joined them on stage) and Mess With Texas (where Tyler jumped into the crowd from the stage and got about 20 feet of air), many were curious to see if the group would be as incendiary at an industry-fueled event.

Sure, there were the suits there seeing if they could latch onto the buzz surrounding Tyler and his boys, but there were obviously some fans who had planned things out by getting food and drinks earlier in the day just so they would at least have a glimpse during the show. Yet, it wasn’t good enough for Odd Future. In fact, nothing really was at this showcase.

Even though there were people pushing their way to the stage in anticipation, they were upset with the fact that people were hanging back by the bar. Tyler thanked everyone in the front for showing up but reprimanded those who “don’t really want to be here.” Then as soon as they dropped the beat to “Sandwitches,” it was obvious they weren’t going to deal. The crowd wasn’t rowdy enough, the vocals were too soft and the beats weren’t as big as they wanted. Before they started the song over, a displeased Left Brain reacted with, “Yeah, I want to hear my production.”

After a second try at the song, it seemed like Odd Future had calmed down (if one calls climbing the scaffolds and hitting a spotlight fixture so hard it breaks calm), they went into “Yonkers” and had everyone in front jumping up and down so hard the floor felt like it was going to collapse. But then they discovered one of their mics weren’t up to their standards and we saw Syd arguing with the sound guy.

About 10 minutes into the set, Odd Future stopped, grabbed their stuff and Tyler announced, “You know what, fuck this. Fuck, Billboard. I don’t even read that shit. Come see us at Vice,” before storming off the stage.

Whether this was a PR stunt, many fans were left staring at an empty stage trying to process what had just happened in such a short amount of time. Those who waited in line for hours also wondered why their $20 just went down the drain. Odd Future did perform a full set at Vice’s after-hours party – where there were plenty of VIP and industry folk – but those who had prepared for the midnight show by taking the time out of the day and the money out of their pockets may have been discouraged to give them another try so late in the night.

Twitter: @Seraphina_L