Brockhampton is the rare group that has hype and substance in equal measure.
Despite being built on a foundation of contradictions, Brockhampton has somehow remained intact since its inception four years ago. The group is a rap collective but refers to itself as a boy band. Its members make brazen pop music, but their songs still land as bombastic hip-hop. Their lyrics are hyperaware and socially conscious but don't forfeit the right to be irreverent.
The burgeoning group's Tuesday-night performance at the Fillmore Miami Beach proved Brockhampton hasn’t missed a beat since vocalist Ameer Vann departed from the collective amid sexual assault allegations last year. It helps that the records released in the wake of Vann's exit — Iridescence and Ginger — have been well-received followups to the beloved Saturation trilogy, empowering the group to continue gaining popularity at a staggering pace.
The hype train didn't show any signs of slowing at last night's show. This writer has never seen the Fillmore fill so quickly, and certainly not on a Tuesday night. Around 8:15 p.m., the general admission pits were already at capacity and attendees were being diverted back to the seated area. If the show wasn’t sold out, it seemed damn near close.
A large black curtain kept most of the stage obscured during opening sets from 100 gecs and Slowthai, both of whom proved to be fitting openers for Brockhampton through their successful translation of online hype into lively concert performances.
When Brockhampton took the stage at 9:30, the curtain dropped to reveal an impressive stage setup for the group, which clearly values theatricality: The stage was blanketed with mirrors and smoke cannons, all while three LED crosses were suspended from the ceiling and hung above the bandmates' heads.
Opening the show with Ginger standout “St. Percy,” Kevin Abstract strutted out in a University of Miami jacket over the orange prison overalls the entire group sported throughout the set. The six vocalists — Abstract, Joba, Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, Dom McLennon, and Bearface — shared the spotlight in equal measure, and the group oozed the sort of confidence displayed by hip-hop veterans.
Several songs varied from Brockhampton's recorded versions, the most prominent example being the fan favorite “Bleach,” which boasted a reworked beat for a short time, incorporated Kevin Abstract’s verse from “Star,” and wrapped up with a nod to Snoop Dogg in the form of a “Gin and Juice” tag. The song was one of the night’s most affecting moments, with one of the decade’s sing-along climaxes inducing the kind of widespread chill live for which music fans can only hope.
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The most entertaining moment of the night came — as it often does — in the form of a surprise, when the bandmates called for a specific fan to join them onstage: “Where’s the guy who snuck into our greenroom earlier with the pizza? Can we bring him to the stage?” They gave him a mike and let him tell his story to the crowd (unfortunately, he wasn’t the most articulate of pizza-carrying greenroom crashers) and were even nice enough to let him take a seat on their prop couch during a performance of “Queer.”
The crowd was young, enthusiastic, and extremely active from the moment Brockhampton's set began. There’s no way to maintain a consistent degree of high-energy hype over a 90-odd minute set, and eventually something had to give. Although the energy of the artists and the fans in the crowd seemed to wane later in the set, it didn’t detract from the overall experience of the show. By the time the group performed closer “No Halo,” the end of the show felt less like a gone-too-soon finale and more like a logical conclusion.
Brockhampton's stars have already shone extraordinarily bright. Its members have achieved more in their first five years as a recording and touring act than many artists do in an entire career. If the boys of Brockhampton can keep from burning out, they may find even greater heights to reach.