Earl Sweatshirt at Fine Line, 10/15/13
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
The Fine Line was packed and swarming with security, who kept the floor crowd stationed behind lines on the floor and drinkers on the balcony. Lil B, Drake, and Action Bronson cycled through the PA as the sold-out crowd eagerly waited for something to happen. In the two hours or so since doors, there were multiple moments when the audience began to cheer because maybe they saw a guy in a bucket hat or maybe the stage lights adjusted, but it wasn't until Taco hit the stage with Crime Mob's classic "Knuck If You Buck" that the show really got started.
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
The spry audience had been waiting for the moment to unleash their pent-up energy. Odd Future's mixture of skate-punk lack of fucks and underground hip-hop grit brings out a unique type of rap-show energy, and Taco cycled through some hard-hitting club joints to a crunk-infused mosh pit of sweaty kids who encouraged shoving while turning up. The balcony was certainly less chaotic but lost quite a bit of the show's vibe. Taco's great moment of DJ fuck-you came when playing the intro to Kendrick Lamar's "m.A.A.d. city" before switching immediately into Kanye's "New Slaves" before the drums even hit. Mostly he spent his short solo moment mouthing lyrics and bouncing near the ecstatic audience, many of whom desperately tried to reach out and touch him.
His latest since returning to music buffed some of the rough edges and moved away from shock tactics in lyrics, but kept much of the wordy flow and the personal undertones. The fans have clearly followed since the beginning, and nearly everyone knew words to tracks no matter which album they came from. They seemed generally familiar with Vince Staples's material as well, which was sprinkled in between Earl's songs at certain points in the set. It was a compact way of putting on both artists and still making the show move quickly.
Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen
The pair played off each other well throughout the night, avoiding the especially controversial "Epar" that began their work together and instead owning the sleeper hit "Hive," which sounded huge. Earl's work is far less violent these days, but he mostly didn't shy away from returning to his raw, unfiltered early material. He hit the highlights of Doris in the center of his set, bringing out older material more toward the bookends. He asked the audience "Knock Knock?" to introduce the thumping bass drums that introduce "Earl," which made his first real impact and essentially ushered in the Odd Future movement.
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