Five thoughts on Tyler, the Creator at Hard Rock Live

The Odd Future leader attacked at Hard Rock Live on the Strip on December 5.
Photo: Spencer Burton
Chris Bitonti

1. Calling Friday night’s Tyler, the Creator show at Hard Rock Live sold-out feels like an understatement, considering the venue is so slammed, security corrals us outside the adjacent Denny’s for an hour.

2. This marks Tyler’s first non-club performance in Vegas, and it’s filled with sweaty teens, showing up to catch the 23-year-old hip-hop (and Adult Swim) phenom. As Tyler puts it, “There’s like six ni**as in the crowd that can legally drink tonight.”

3. Tyler’s known for his rabid fanbase—some of whom are already stagediving while opening DJ Taco plays—and for being arrested for inciting a riot at this year’s South by Southwest festival. But once the headliner takes the stage, the crowd turns surprisingly polite. A few drinks—and a couple of shoes—are thrown, but nothing alarming transpires.

4. The Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All crew’s spits soar beyond the realm of offensive, landing somewhere past ridiculous. I just have to shake my head and laugh at lyrics like “Kill people, burn sh*t, f*ck school.” His hour-long set is full of crowd favorites like “Yonkers” and “Tamale,” plus new jam “Divert,” but “Domo 23” is the real highlight, the point in the set when the guys really start to heat up. They maintain that level from there.

5. Tyler’s music can be dark, but it’s also hilarious and goofy, so I anticipated a pretty lighthearted presence to accompany the absurd lyrics. But ultimately, Friday’s show feels far more serious than I expected, and not in a bad way.

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