Contrary to the sleepy nature of the debut album Doris, Earl Sweatshirt’s show at The Metro was lively. Throughout he engaged with the audience directly, which enabled the audience to be more like peers rather than fans. Granted, it is Earl’s nature to be goofy and engaging. He was also joined by Vince Staples and Taco of Odd Future, the L.A. collective to which they all belong. Taco was DJing Earl’s set, while Vince Staples was rapping with Earl Sweatshirt. Even though Earl Sweatshirt was the headliner, they were performing together, and Vince Staples had more solo moments than Earl, displaying his spitting skills several times, often continuing to rap even though the beat ended.
Earl performed many of his tracks off his newly released album Doris and tracks from his mixtape Earl released in 2010. A new nameless track was also debuted from Vince Staples.
After opening with tracks from Earl, he moved into Doris. He got his biggest cheers for that.
All three of the performers on stage were on point, especially Vince Staples lyricism. People in the audience rapped along to Earl’s perfect spitting. Most of his tracks feature Vince Staples, so they were performed fully, but those that featured other rappers were often cut short after Earl finished his verses. Most notably when a fan shouted at Earl to perform “Sunday” from Doris, which he had already done, but was so brief it could have easily been missed. After giving the fan some joking flack for it, he moved on.
For die hard Earl Sweatshirt fans it may have been disappointing that tracks were constantly cut short, yet he performed old Earl tracks which made up for it. He closed with “Drop” from an Odd Future compilation mixtape, which was one of the highlights. He “only has 20 fucking songs” and breezed through them with ease.
Even though the Earl mixtape is older and from before he really blew up, it was great that he performed so much from it.
Several crowd surfers got escorted out and a large hole in the crowd was full of moshers. On “Molasses” from Doris the audience chimed in full force on the line “I’ll fuck the freckles off your face, bitch” after being provoked by Earl to do so.
Odd Future has a huge following known for getting reckless at shows. After nearly every track Earl paused to acknowledge the numerous things thrown up on stage, most of which were single shoes. He kept cracking jokes about how people were throwing “nasty” shoes up on stage and threw them back. He did keep a Merrill sneaker and made fun of the kid who was now going to go home with one shoe.
He joked a lot. The kidding is what knocked over any pedestal that he was up on and broke all the walls. It felt like he was on stage because people like his music, so he will perform, and it all is just a fun privilege. Earl is easily a more chill performer than some of his Odd Future cohorts. Taco jumped of the stage flipping into the crowd a few times at the end of the show and crowd surfed.
The stage was decorated with a huge inflatable cartoon of Earl Sweatshirt’s head and a banner at the back that said DORIS in what looks like finger paint, all exemplary of Odd Future quirkiness.
Overall, Earl was himself on stage. It didn’t feel like a performance in the way most concerts do, but people were equally as enthused if not more. He is a normal kid with great rap skills; the show felt as though we were seeing genuinely Earl Sweatshirt.