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Slasher-flick intensity … Odd Future at SXSW earlier this month. Photograph: Roger Kisby/Getty Images
Did he win a competition? Was he just plucked from the crowd? Whatever the answer, some guy called Ben Thomas has been made to stand behind the decks while the nine-headed maelstrom Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All fling themselves around the stage, leaping off speaker stacks, fighting and barking out dank doom raps. Whenever he tries to leave, tired of them pushing him around, he's called a "bitch", promised "no pussy tonight" and forced to return. They call him an "Odd Future apprentice", but he looks like their latest victim.
- Odd Future …
- Manchester Academy
- 31 March
- Box office:
- Tour details
Music has always thrived on rebellion and danger, the possibility that you might not leave a gig alive. LA rap collective Odd Future are the latest purveyors of this sense of threat. They've abused photographers; they rap about rape, celebrity murder and cannibalism; they exhort their fans to "kill people, burn shit". So the Academy is pumped for chaos, and Odd Future deliver, a melee of stage-diving, gang-chanting anarchy that makes up for the muddying of the individual talents that have made them the most intriguing and prolific hip-hop cabal since the Wu-Tang Clan – only Mike G's piston rap skills and Tyler, The Creator's lupine growl are distinct above the discordant thug choir.
They exude, by turns, a Beastie Boys energy (on Rella), Public Enemy vitriol (50) and Cypress Hill chill (Rolling Papers, by the weed-obsessed Domo Genesis), but are most compelling when the minimalist experiments of their official debut album The OF Tape Vol 2 are cranked up to a slasher-flick intensity, the beats hammering like a Saw trap and a sibilant background voice making the decks sound possessed. Object to their yowls of "punch a bitch!" all you like, it's hard to escape the cultish military draw of closer Radicals, salutes and all.