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Live Review: Brockhampton

by Minh Anh Nguyen

Taking off soon after the release of their debut studio album SATURATION in 2017, Brockhampton has made their name known in the music industry as the self-proclaimed “best boy band since One Direction.”

The band found each other on a Kanye West fan forum and pursued their musical dreams by dropping everything and moving into a house together in Texas, where they devoted their time to making music. Brockhampton, with their diverse backgrounds, has since redefined what it means to be an “All-American Boy Band” and the range of voices and messages that get to be heard in the mainstream.

Diverging from the traditional sense of the term “boy band” and its association to pop music, Brockhampton’s music is genre-bending and innovative.

Although none of their music can be categorized, one could consider it hip-hop, rap, alternative, rock, and everything in between. Brockhampton has rightfully earned the title of the “hardest working boy band in show business,” as one of the members, Kevin Abstract, said in a tweet, by consistently producing original and groundbreaking content, one year after another, despite any setbacks.

Their most recent album, GINGER, released in August of 2019, sparked their fourth North American tour, titled Heaven Belongs to You, which included Boston as their sixteenth stop on November 24th.

“Heaven Belongs to You” is the title of a song on GINGER that features solely the vocals of British rapper Slowthai. On the track, Slowthai speaks on his mental health, relationship with his religion and overall self-fulfillment, all overarching themes of the album and the tour.

Slowthai, along with an experimental musical duo 100 gecs, are the opening acts for the Heaven Belongs to You tour. Similar to Brockhmapton, these artists are known to defy music genres. Exuding chaotic and lively energy, the opening acts got the crowd up and excited — setting the stage up perfectly for the main act.

The audience is first met with the entrance of Kevin Abstract, one of the members, rapping the first verse of “St. Percy” as he stands alone in the spotlight. Each member enters as their verses proceed. They perform three songs before taking a break to stand across the stage, close to the audience, and formally introduce themselves.

While the band consists of countless members, there are six main performers: Kevin Abstract, Dom McLennon, Merlyn Woods, Joba, Bearface, and Matt Champion.

Religious overtones wove through each performance, as evident through the set-up of their stage. Reflective mirrors were stretched across the stage, creating an expanding illusion.

Three crosses hang above the heads of the performers and were consistently referenced throughout.

During the song, “J’OUVERT,” one member, Bearface, stands at the top, closest to the crosses, while the other members face him, kneeling, with their arms raised – alluding to the act of praying.

Half-way through the show, an orange couch was brought out which all the members sat on to take a moment to connect with the audience — and even brought out a random member of the crowd on stage., and even brought one random member of the audience on stage.

It’s speaks the band’s characters with the way they are so easily to engage with their audience and treat them as their friends rather than fans.

Brockhampton moved in unison and with ease throughout the entire show — it’s as if the boys have been doing this all their lives.

The audience moved in unison and had a connected energy from the music — a testament to the band’s ability to seamlessly transition from slow, moving songs that ignited flashlights and lights to unhinged mosh pits that broke out across the arena.

What makes the experience of a Brockhampton concert special is not just the unprecedented level of energy that the group holds, but also the enthusiasm among the audience.

Brockhampton is slowly but surely becoming the voice of our generation by quickly rising to popularity but still maintaining a level of genuineness and passion for what they do – which is made very clear to anyone who gets the opportunity to see them perform.

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