Overhyped showponies, loose-lipped teens or rap's second coming - whatever you think of Odd Future, one thing is for certain: They know how to throw a hell of a party.

The Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective - also known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or OFWGKTA - were banned from the Big Day Out after allegations of homophobia in their lyrics.

So they came and played their own show, giving Auckland's packed Powerstation crowd one of the most thrilling hip-hop shows the venue has seen.

Anticipation was so high, moshpits and chants for "Wolf Gang" broke out even before they took the stage.


But from the moment DJ Syd the Kid showed up with six of the band's 13-odd MCs just before 10pm, Odd Future proved there was plenty of substance behind their shock tactics, overblown bluster and youthful exuberance.

Tracks like the futuristic synth blast of Tron Cat were delivered with members stalking around the stage, with key lyrics punctuated with air punches, scissor kicks and regular stage dives.

Yes, the band's beats are sparse and minimalist - but they're simply a delivery tool for electric rhymes that bristle with energy and tonnes of passion. Members of the group could often be seen doubled over and gasping for air.

And in Tyler, the Creator they have both a ringleader and a front man who can calm and hype the crowd at will - and deliver plenty of laughs to go with it.

The brief moments he left the stage for his sidekicks to take over were the only lulls in the 90-minute show - but mostly it was must-see stuff from go to woah.

Things threatened to boil over when Tyler played his solo hits Yonkers and Sandwitches, with the Powerstation crowd chanting the lyrics so loudly he didn't even have to bother with his verses.

And you knew when they rapped "kill people, burn shit, f**k school" on set closer Radical, Odd Future were just providing bait for their critics - kind of like an in-joke between the band and their fans.

It sure is fun screaming those words from a manic crowd who afterwards stayed on pleading for an encore.

It's a shame we won't be getting one at the Big Day Out today. It's one of the reasons the festival will soon be no more: It desperately needed a shot of confidence, excitement and a little danger - things Odd Future have in spades.

What: Odd Future
Where: The Powerstation, Auckland
When: Thursday, January 19, 2012

- Herald online