You're already guaranteed an exciting, visually inventive show when the self-proclaimed boy band and hip-hop ensemble Brockhampton hits the Fillmore Miami Beach this week. But two of 2019's most exciting new names in music will accompany Kevin Abstract and company. This is a dream lineup for music fans, so here's a primer on what's going on with all three acts.
They only decided to work on their album over email after playing a virtual music festival that took place in Minecraft, but somehow Laura Les and Dylan Brady — the duo behind 100 gecs — have figured out how to smash together every single trend in electronic music from the past decade and make it sound good. Well, maybe not good in the traditional sense, but their album 1000 gecs is an extraordinary synthesis of new styles — EDM, PC music, trap, vaporwave, witch house, deconstructed club, that weird undefinable shit that comes out on Orange Milk Records, and there's one track that cribs from Oneohtrix Point Never's R Plus Seven — plus some older ones, like nightcore, happy hardcore, drum 'n' bass, and even the kind of stuff that'll give you flashbacks to your awful high-school years (ska, emo, whatever 3OH!3 was). In other words, 1000 gecs is a lot like that run-on sentence you just read: It's music for nerds, and it's a mess, but it's a hot, fun mess. It's the most fun you'll have listening to anything this year, and if you're on the fence, it's only 23 minutes long and contains the ridiculously brilliant lyric "Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche." You gec it?
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Tyron Frampton has two sides: (1) sweetest kid you've ever met and (2) psycho fucking badman. One moment, he's giving glowing, insightful interviews to the Guardian about how he loves his mum and hometown of Northampton and wants everything in the world for them and all the disenfranchised people of England. The next, he's at the Mercury Prize award show holding aloft a fake severed head of un-elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson (which, apparently, is something you can do in the United Kingdom without being publicly shamed).
Slowthai, as he calls himself, is the hottest new thing in U.K. rap, and he's hot for a reason. He's not exactly grime, and he's not exactly as skilled an MC as someone like Skepta or Stormzy, but his lyrics, drawn straight from his troubled working-class upbringing in the East Midlands, cut right to the core. On his debut album, Nothing Great About Britain, he asks copious ethical questions about his politically fractured country, which is still negotiating its possible exit from the European Union plus a litany of other issues (as of this writing, the country is headed for a national election). The album's production — mostly done by Kwes Darko and JD. Reid — is also topnotch, full of dystopian synths, off-beat drums, and dramatic orchestral samples straight out of a Hitchcock thriller. And on top of all that, his latest track is a collab with Miami's Denzel Curry.
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Now we come to the main event. Much as a single, large issue that needn't be named has seemingly defined U.S. political culture over the past few years, a single event has defined the career of Brockhampton. Early last year, shortly after the band signed to RCA Records — a controversial move, because until then, the group had promoted itself as self-made and fully independent — two former girlfriends accused bandmate Ameer Vann of sexual abuse. We might never know the full details, but whether he quit or was ousted, Vann left the group.
Fans have been split on the decision. Some believe the band betrayed Vann (the fact he was dropped so close to the RCA deal made it seem so); others think the group's sound will never be the same without his edge on records such as the Saturation trilogy, especially after the middling reception of their 2018 album, Iridescence. But they continued. Their latest record, Ginger, sees the dawn of a newly confident Brockhampton ready to give the final word on its troubled recent past. On "Dearly Departed," the band boldly airs out all the drama: "I got all my thoughts out on records y'all won't ever hear," Dom McLennon raps. Adds Kevin Abstract: "RCA‚ that note wasn't 'bout y'all/No lies‚ it was about how me and my brothers been traumatized." Hard to argue with that.
Brockhampton: Heaven Belongs to You Tour. With 100 gecs and Slowthai. 8 p.m. Tuesday, November 19, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com. Tickets are $42.50 to $75 via livenation.com.