SXSW 2011: Odd Future makes a quick exit
Heading into South by Southwest, the buzz about Los Angeles hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All was already deafening. Before the five-day event in Austin, Texas, the act had scored a placement on late-night television and had graced the cover of Billboard magazine.
Odd Future had appeared at numerous parties and events through the week, many of them drawing rave reviews. Yet when it come time for Odd Future's official SXSW showcase, the act had two words for attendees, and one cannot be repeated here. All fine and dandy, except Odd Future's Saturday night midnight performance was filled with just as many fans as industry and media types, as the venue had sold admission to the public for $20.
Odd Future, however, made it through part of one song before berating the audience and mocking SXSW, noting that they had already made the Billboard cover and were above such a gathering. Events like the MTVu Woodie Awards and a late-night party thrown by Vice, among many other corporate-sponsored concerts, appeared to be more to the act's liking, as three songs in the act they threw down their microphones and paraded offstage.
Prior to the walk-off the crowd had cheered at every Odd Future putdown, enjoying the high-energy homespun beats and the offensive sense of humor. No doubt the act's appeal partly rests in its macabre lyrics and meltdown potential. Yet no one was laughing after Odd Future cut short its set; many fans had stood in line for hours to see the gig.
As for what makes Odd Future the darlings of the Los Angeles hip-hop community, it remained a mystery after the act's brief set Saturday night. Odd Future fans who weren't in Austin may applaud the act for telling off an industry conference and essentially refusing to perform, although hours later the group appeared at Vice's after-hours party, where it gave a full set. The latter event was littered with industry folk and VIPs, all of whom received better treatment than Odd Future's paying fans.
-- Todd Martens