Hello, Dear Reader. If you can cast your mind back a few months, you may remember the time we stood in a tightly packed crowd of people for 2 or 3 hours waiting for a Tyler, The Creator show that never happened. Well this time we waited in an orderly queue for 10 minutes, and the show actually did happen, which is a definite step in the right direction as far as both comfort and payoff are concerned.
Since his Theresa May-mandated ban from the UK expired, Tyler has been playing around with the freedom to visit London again – first with the previously mentioned failed Peckham show, then with a merch giveaway in Shoreditch – but September’s three sold out dates at Brixton were the real announcement of his triumphant return. Fans begin to queue at 7am for a spot at the barrier, and 12 hours later when the doors open, the line stretches all the way around the block and then a bit further. If Tyler was worried that a few years away from the country had dulled the appetite for his music, it looks like he can breathe a sigh of relief.
Down the road, recently returned culture bible The Face are holding a pop-up shop where he’s invited fans to ‘grab a magazine / see a shoe’. Inside, there are mags for sale, and a single pair of shoes to see, so we guess it’s an accurate description (with double the advertised amount of shoes). There’s also talks on filmmaking, music writing and a radio workshop, but as the show looms ever closer the room empties out and the few remaining people are left with a free pineapple soda each and some time alone with the shoes (they’re his new collaboration with Converse and no, they aren’t for sale, they’re encased in plastic and just for admiring.)
Inside the venue, things are a bit busier – the merch table is swamped with people eager to drop all of their money on t-shirts, jackets, socks and even wigs. Luckily for them, this stuff is actually for sale, not locked behind Perspex.
Mosh pits are already forming to former Odd Future DJ Taco, over an hour before Tyler’s due on stage. When he does appear, dressed in a blonde wig and yellow suit, the response is ridiculous. You’d think he’d been gone for 40 years, not four. New album material and old classics are rattled through, with the crowd singing along to every word and Tyler doing some very questionable dance moves, more ragdoll than human.
Throughout the show he tells his fans he loves them, calls them ‘pieces of shit’, makes jokes at Theresa May’s expense and just generally has fun with it all. Pyrotechnics, psychedelic visuals and a hydraulic platform keep energy levels high, but even if it had just been Tyler without any theatrics, you get the feeling that the reception would have been the same. As he ends the show dripping in sweat and still somehow wearing his wig, it seems laughable that this man was ever labelled a risk to national security. Maybe Theresa was just jealous of his beautiful blonde bob all along.
Words: Jake Hawkes