Last night in London
You can feel the anticipation in the air at Tyler, the Creator’s first UK show in four years – it feels like the heat of nearly five thousand humans in one room. iPhone lights scatter the audience. The silver lamé on stage shrinks into neat squares, vertical Snapchat rectangles. Double denim is mandatory. The crowd at O2 Academy Brixton – the first of three sold-out nights – skews so young that at 22 I constantly feel like I’m about to be led out back and put down like an elderly dog in a Western.
At 9pm screams rise from the standing section and the entire circle balcony jumps up, as though in a summoning ritual. If the ritual works, it’s slow to have its intended effect. It’s twenty minutes later when the man himself, in full IGOR regalia, actually emerges. The already iconic mushroom wig and yellow suit silence the crowd. Even the spotlight tracing him across the stage shakes, as if it’s also been blindsided by the fact that oh my God, he’s actually here.
The ‘IGOR’S THEME’ instrumental plays while the crowd yells along and chants “Fuck Theresa May”. Tyler stands with the mic by his side, drinking it in, before ripping through half of IGOR. He notoriously hates his own voice, but tonight he sings beautifully without effects. His voice is raw and quakes at moments, but that only underlines the honesty in his lyrics. It’s why his music has spoken to a generation of teenagers.