If you told us a year ago that we’d be writing this article, we probably would have looked at each other and laughed at you. Tyler’s return to England has been a long time coming, amidst political chaos, his banishment from our shores epitomises the current hypocrisy of our government. Theresa May’s prehistoric approach to politics frustrated millennials, and if you are a Tyler Okonma fan, you had every reason to hate the Ex-Priminister.
3 years on, and the LA rapper has gone from a goofy music fanatic, to global superstar, reinventing himself twice to cement his stardom and become one of the best musicians of the decade. With ‘IGOR’ out in the open, fans experienced a completely different show last night to those who caught him at the Roundhouse all those years ago. It’s importance was arguably exemplified through appearances from Kendall Jenner and Luka Sabbat, who watched Tyler from the balcony. Like the rapper, Jenner sported a blonde disguise, but it wasn’t long before her identity unravelled, sending the crowd into a pre-show frenzy.
Until just hours before, we thought Goldlink and Blood Orange were supporting the 3 night run of Brixton shows, but we were left slightly disappointed when confirmation arose of Taco being the only set before Okonma. His DJing really got the crowd going though, as he chopped between Brooklyn bangers, like ‘Welcome To The Party’ and token, English club classics in the Calibre of ‘KMT’. By this point, the anticipation was rife in the air for Tyler’s inevitable entrance onto the stage, which was glistening with spectacular reflective tassels, and a pristine white piano.
As the lights went down, and Wolf Haley waltzed onto stage, a tremendous roar bellowed from the 5000 people in Brixton Academy. The scuzzy intro to ‘IGOR’s THEME’ commenced, and from that moment on, carnage ascended onto the audience, with moshpits frantically widening, and sweaty bodies losing their shit to the unpredictably anthemic tune. Proceeding the opening was ‘I THINK’, arguably one of Tyler’s most vulnerable songs. You could tell it touched the hearts of many fans; the chorus instigated a right singalong, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few tears were shed when Solange’s vocals began.
(nicknamed) Tyler, The Masturbator only mentioned the ban a few times, he didn’t let the grey area interfere with the show’s narrative. He did say though: “I don’t take back nothing I said. I’ll never apologise. They can suck my dick… I’m really happy I’m back.” near the end of the performance; you can tell it was a situation that affected him dearly. It only took one song before the inevitable chanting of “Fuck Theresas” began.
Whereas the start was mellow, there was an intersection of Tyler’s more visceral tunes that made the crowd go stir crazy. Kicking off with ‘Yonkers’, The Californian raged around the stage in a menacing manor, sussing out the audience with a deftly glare, and provoking them to scream “stab Bruno Mars in his goddamn oesophagus” - which they did passionately, without hesitation. Transitioning into ‘She’, an undisputed fans favourite, Tyler barely let the audience breathe. His dynamic choreography never stopped either, whether the ex Odd-Future leader was having an episode to Okra, or coordinating with the ‘IGOR’ statues behind him, the meticulous nature of his performance was best summed up as he collapsed to his knees, exhausted at the end of ‘ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?’, which concluded the night.
In 2019, it’s hard to believe that Tyler would have ever been accused of abusive lyrical content. The neo-soul hooks on ‘IGOR’ and ‘Flower Boy’ were arguably welcomed more than the slightly more elicit numbers, which would have instigated his signature, riotous atmosphere all those years ago. The submissive lyrics of “EARFQUAKE’, “don’t leave, it’s my fault”, caused a choir of loving teens to almost have a break down, and we weren’t even halfway through the set. As the lights fell, and Tyler recoiled to the white Piano at the corner of the stage, he performed a two minute solo, which had left everyone in awe of him.
His blithe star quality shone on Monday night, and from what we’ve heard, this carried right through the three dates. Hopefully he’ll be at a few festivals over the summer.