Tyler the Creator/ Vince Staples Feb. 8, 2018, The Bomb Factory Dallas, TX

If the Democrats are serious about winning the upcoming elections, they’ll hire Tyler the Creator and Vince Staples to instigate a youth-driven frenzy, just as they did on Thursday night at The Bomb Factory. Fans lined up outside the venue hours before doors opened, and by 7pm, the line zig-zagged around several buildings in Deep Ellum, forcing Bomb Factory employees to monitor street crossings in several areas. Once inside, fans anxiously sought out the merch tables, where they happily dropped $200 on one of Tyler’s signature hoodies or $30 on a pair of socks donning his “GOLF” logo. The merch was so popular, in fact, that it drew just as many fans as Tyler himself, with hundreds of people foregoing the show to wait in an hour long line to buy something-anything- made by Tyler. Those who chose to see the show were treated with a set from Vince Staples, whose expertly crafted multi-screen backdrop was a perfect accompaniment to his understated all-black aesthetic. Vince began his set with “BagBak” and “Rain Come Down,” with little pause in between the fourteen songs that followed. His typical all-business stage persona kept the crowd continuously jumping and moshing to the music (even to the slower songs). When he was finished, I was sure the crowd would be, too. But about 30 minutes later, when the curtain opened for Tyler the Creator, fans once again rose to the occasion. Standing with his back to the crowd, atop a life-sized fallen tree, Tyler seemed to be soaking up the moment, silently reveling in the adoration. As the music to “Where This Flower Blooms,” began to play, fans lurched toward the stage all at once, causing a wave of bodies to close in on each other as the anticipation built. Tyler followed his grand entrance with an even mix of old and new songs like “Yonkers,” “She,” and “November.” He walked along a fallen tree prop showcasing his uneven, contorted dance moves and lazily sat on a large rock during one of his slower songs, “Garden Shed.” Throughout the show, his honesty and at times awkward, introspective personality was on full display. Early on, Tyler asked someone backstage to order him some soul food, complete with a turkey leg on the side, and later, offered his musings on human behavior by asking why people scream when they’re excited. His verdict: “Humans are weird as fuck.” This stream of consciousness stage banter is exactly why Tyler’s fans love him so much…just like his music, it’s novel and most importantly, authentic. In a world where young talent is often manufactured and managed down to a predictable, packaged product, Tyler is different. That’s why his fans immediately obliged when, towards the end of the show, Tyler strongly encouraged them to put their phones away. “Have one God damn authentic experience in your fucking life.” And they did. For two glorious songs, “Sometimes,” and “See You Again,” not a phone was to be seen amongst the mass of bodies jumping up and down together, hands in the air, living in the moment, for once in their fucking lives.