December 21, 2012
This week seems to be Orange County's unofficial "Odd Future
" week. The LA-based hip-hop collective has scheduled two performances here for the week before Christmas, each promising to deliver a buffet of rowdy crowds, four letter words, and clothing featuring donuts and cats. OF cohorts Hodgy Beats
& Left Brain
-- AKA Mellowhype
-- were enlisted to start the pre-Holiday weekend off early with a Thursday show at Chain Reaction
, and just a few days later the entire OFWGKTA
cult will be at The Observatory
for their third annual Christmas extravaganza. Last night was round one, with Mellowhype taking over Chain Reaction as part of their IHeartComix
promoted "Trash Wang West Coast" tour.
For virtually every other act that comes out to chants, they come out to chants of their own name. But, being that this was a crowd that has probably submerged themselves in Odd Future songs and retweets for the past few years, they decided to switch things up a bit with chants of "SLAYER!" and small spouts of "METALLICA!" alongside the more normal, expected yells. It makes sense, actually, considering Mellowhype are part of hip-hop's answer to the headbanging bombast of metal and hardcore. The crowd was ready to give them the same reaction you would find at heavy metal shows too, and it looked as if people had packed themselves tightly in the front just so their fevered spasms would be that much more potent when the beats dropped.
More than just the usual introductory burst of mania some live performers have, the volume-turned-to-eleven start to MellowHype's set was about laying down the groundwork and the blueprint for the night. Numbers opener "Grill" created a mosh-quake up front, and opened the door of opportunity for everyone vying for the title of "Sloppiest Stage Dive." During "50," the repeating of the lyrics "sock a buster in his jaw" might very well have gotten some unlucky kids smacked somewhere along their body. And, the majority of their set consisted of music in the same vein of frenzied, window-shattering hip-hop.
MellowHype's performance centered on high-energy, high-impact music colliding with an emotionally and chemically higher crowd. The primary spitter Hodgy Beats can rap well enough to warrant repeated attention to their work, and his lyrics and flow could mesh with dusty, crate-digging boom bap, but as a part of his duo with Left Brain their rapped mantra of "If you ain't got heart you ain't got shit at all" rings true. Their show last night was a party, and it was one with a lot of passion.
Overheard in the Crowd: The sound of inanimate objects coming alive as they flew by my head. Twice.
Critic's Bias: Hodgy Beats is my personal favorite emcee from the Odd Future crew.
Random Notebook Dump: Why does it feel as though the smaller the venue and the more cramped it appears to get, the less and less the show-goers care about their personal hygiene?
1652 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, CA