BROCKHAMPTON shows exponential growth at the Vogue

BROCKHAMPTON at the Vogue Theatre, 02/26/18

Brockhampton made a quantum leap from selling out the Biltmore in November 2017 to selling out the Vogue Theatre last night (February 26). With the freedom to run all over the big stage in matching outfits, Brockhampton’s crew of seven rappers and one DJ moved and looked like the boy band they always refer to themselves as.

Fans had no trouble entertaining themselves during the hour and a half between doors opening and showtime. The sold-out crowd sang along to the house music; chanted “BROOOCK-hamp-ton,” “Lionel Richie,” and “Harry Styles”; shouted to their mates down on the floor and up in the balcony; and even took photos with security.

Shortly after fans spotted DJ Romil Hemnani in Brockhampton’s signature orange jumpsuit though, the lights went out. In the dark, Ameer Vann got into his jumpsuit. The rest of the band, already dressed accordingly, flew out to the chaotic banger “BOOGIE”.

Brockhampton brought the energy all night with hits like the confrontational “GOLD” and the straight-up aggressive (or as the band called it, “angry”) “HEAT” on which Joba vomited the threat, “FUCK – YOU!! I’ll break your neck so you can watch your back!” Instead of ending the show with “STAR” four times in a row as Brockhampton are known to do, the celebrity name-dropping song only appeared in the set list once, and it came early, three songs in. Brockhampton instructed the crowd to open up a mosh pit during the heart-racing “SISTER/NATION,” the beat of which could fit right into a sci-fi chase scene.

Brockhampton were more unified in their boy band vision. Along with matching outfits, there were props: traffic lights, a TV, a couch, and swivel chairs. And like any boy band, the members traded verses, giving each other his personal moment to shine. Kevin Abstract owned “JUNKY” as he rapped about his experience as a young, gay, black man in the face of homophobia. Joba lit up “SWAMP” more than anyone else on the track. And before the encores (“HOTTIE” and “HEAT”), Bearface, alone onstage, strummed out R&B swayers “SUMMER” and “WASTE” on guitar.

As wild as Brockhampton were at the Biltmore, they were penned in by the venue’s capacity – and literally by the cage siding that was in danger of being blown off by their frothing energy. At the Vogue though, they seemed at home, on a fitting platform for so many bodies, so many ideas, so much energy, and so much ambition. A song like “BLEACH” proved it was made for 1000-plus people singing along as Brockhampton paused the music and let fans take over.

Brockhampton are fiercely, unapologetically honest about their personal demons. Sometimes, Brockhampton are sentimental about them. Other times, Brockhampton flaunt their struggles in your face with toothy swagger. Brockhampton are prolific – last year, they released three albums, each better than the previous – and they’re a total group effort with 360° control of their music videos, graphic design, and of course, music. Brockhampton’s growth as artists, a concept, and, they wouldn’t be ashamed to say, a brand has been exponential, and their drawing power is growing in tandem.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu