Pitchfork Music Festival 2011: Odd Future
So, in the end, Odd Future, the most controversial booking in the seven-year history of the Pitchfork Music Festival, turned out to be a thoroughly unexceptional live hip-hop act, no better or worse than a hundred other mediocre ones you’ve seen before, albeit even more than usually foul-mouthed.
Yes, they indulged in a bit of stage-diving—including crew leader Tyler the Creator, who did it with the cast still on his broken foot. Big deal; so what? It was nothing we haven’t seen Courtney Love do. Or Justin Bieber.
The bottom line: Music’s current antichrists are true showbiz professionals, and that might be the most disturbing thing about them. Here is the current new low in lyrical homophobia and misogyny, brought to you by the Chicago-based Windish booking agency, Life or Death PR (corrected), Sony Music and XL Recordings (also home to Beck, Radiohead, and Vampire Weekend), and, of course, the Pitchfork Webzine and festival.
What are you getting so excited about? It’s just entertainment!
And to underscore that, shortly before performing under the blazing sun in Union Park, the crew visited the booth where Rape Victim Advocates and Between Friends and LGBTQ groups and others were handing out their hand fans and literature and… the rappers dropped off a bunch of cupcakes. “They didn’t say anything, they just smiled,” said Colleen Norton, Between Friends’ Prevention and Education manager, though others overhead the musicians saying, “We love you.”
They were accompanied by their publicist, Heathcliff Berru, of course—he later could be seen taking a running dive off the stage into the crowd, the better to be part of the fun—and Tyler, needless to say, Tweeted about it: “Went And Gave The People Who Don’t Like Us Some Cupcakes.” He even posted a photo on yfrog.
A short time later, the gang took the stage. After blasting Bob Marley’s “One Love,” they proceeded to intersperse a 45-minute sampling of the tracks fans have come to love via their prolific mixtapes in between alternating shouts of “World peace!” and “F*ckin’ bitches!” (with many more of the latter than the former) and "Kill people, burn sh*t, f*ck school."
“F*ckyour contradiction/Here’s my composition,” they rapped to kick things off. Truth in advertising, sure enough.
Oh, and then, shortly before closing the set, Tyler addressed the fact that some in the Chicago music community question what it means to be entertained by the lyrics he intentionally crafted to be as foul, vile, shocking, hateful, and enraging as possible.
“I dedicate this beautiful song to everyone who doesn’t like me… every protestor… every organization… everyone who’s gonna write a faggot-ass review.”
He started to get a bit more specific—“This one’s for the fat guy”—but reconsidered, cutting himself off, and finishing the show.
He is, as noted, a true professional.
Rating for Odd Future: Why bother? It’s just entertainment.