“Can I tell y’all a secret?” Kevin Abstract said to the sold-out crowd at the Vogue Theatre last night and was met, as he was every time he or any other member slowed it down for a moment between songs, with thunderous shouts and applause. Abstract almost screams back, “BROCKHAMPTON is the best motherf*cking boyband in the world!” and the crowd erupts even further as he looks out over the sweating, heaving mass from centre stage with a trademark mock smile. This seemed to be the mode for the evening, both the crowd and the group constantly rising to meet each others energy throughout the entirety of the set spanning an hour and forty minutes.
However it was as though the “Love Your Parents Tour: A Live Experience by BROCKHAMPTON” started long before the doors to the venue opened that night as fans decked in orange jumpsuits and blue face paint flocked to the venue from far and wide as early as 8:00 a.m., with the line reaching all the way around the block sounding off every few minutes with popular ‘BROCKHAMPTON stan’ chants and disjointed renditions of favourite verses. Members like Ashlan Grey and Kevin Doan walked the line interviewing fans and signing memorabilia and others such as Nick Lenzini simply came out to say hi and get the occasional selfie with a fan. Further amping attendees for the quickly approaching show.
Upon entering the showspace fans were greeted by a stage set up to look like a sort of sparsely decorated, dystopian living room. Couches, stools, an old television, and traffic lights ringed the stage and offered much needed reprieve for the members as the show continued late into the evening. Their matching orange jumpsuits dripping with sweat after all the intense dancing, screaming, singing, and jumping. Their sheer numbers meant there was always something truly unique to the personality of the individual performer going on onstage at any given moment. While the members of BROCKHAMPTON functioned beautifully on their own on stage many key moments in songs that fans had come to love since their first record release in June of last year were marked with well-rehearsed choreography, chants, or middle fingers raised by every member of the audience in unison with the group.
Opening with the lead track off their album Saturation III, ‘BOOGIE’ Ameer Vann took to the stage dressed as a light tech to uncover the set and turn on the aforementioned traffic lights only to slowly strip off the black hoodie and pants to don his jumpsuit to start the evening off at the breakneck pace. While the highlights were high and full of energy, BROCKHAMPTON didn’t shy away from taking it all the way down from time to time playing ballad cuts like ‘FACE’ and ‘BLEACH,’ bringing a heartfelt twinge to their delivery. Delivery being a keyword as theirs has developed so much since their past visit to Vancouver with the addition of auto-tuned mics for a good deal of the hooks and choruses further bridging the gap between their live performances and the sound of their records. That being said the boys knew when to strip it back for effect, cutting beats out entirely so the only sound in the room was a mix of raw vocals and the crowd shouting along. Kevin at one point asked the crowd to sing the chorus to ‘BLEACH’ acapella several times after the performance of the song, smiling and saying that it sounded “f*cking beautiful.”
As much as the band worked incredibly hard to deliver the best possible show to possibly the smallest venue on their entire tour what truly elevated it from a great show to an amazing one was the crowd. It seemed as though everyone in attendance was a superfan in their own right. Singing hooks, verses, and ad libs alike both the floor and the balcony operated in unison as the rhythmic stomping of those abstaining from the hecticism of the floor could be heard throughout the venue as it echoed out from under them. No one could blame them from taking a step back from the action as the mayhem of mosh pits forming over and over again (sometimes multiple times during a single song), both by order of the band and by the accord of the group mentality carried by the crowd that evening made for a constant wave of unbridled energy from front to back.
That being said, BROCKHAMPTON still brought their A-game. Instructing the crowd, laughing, and smiling as they are having what is possibly the time of their lives. Many people knowing that in the years to come they very well could be the new faces of hip-hop as they are the new faces of the word boyband. Abstract even having a mock ‘popstar freakout’ storming offstage saying “the shows over,” when the crowd refused to be totally silent while he was trying to think of a joke. Even going as far as to send the tour manager, Jon Nunes, out on stage to ask what happened and to feign fear that the show would not go on. Creating what can be called a unique introduction to the first of two encores that night. Calling Bearface onto stage to perform two of his vocal/guitar driven tracks to get the crowd nice and soft for the next few bangers to close out the show. What all this song and dance amounts to is that these young men are truly in love with the position they are in now, playing music for people they know appreciate it and with their first batch of European dates on the way the internationality of their sound is about to be proven on a world stage.
A Live Review By Maguire Stevens