Brockhampton, the self-proclaimed “best boy band since One Direction,” performed at The Rave in Milwaukee Friday night in front of the biggest crowd of their tour. The crowd brought incredible energy, and the group fed off it, arguably delivering one of the best and most unique live performances of 2018 so far.
There was no opener for Brockhampton, which was a little surprising, but once the group took the stage it was clear they didn’t need one. The crowd immediately formed into a mosh pit as soon as the beat dropped for their first song, “BOOGIE.” If anyone in the crowd was even the slightest bit claustrophobic, they found out in a hurry to take refuge in balconies of the venue.
I was at the show with four of my friends, but about three songs in, I had lost three of them. Soon after I was completely separated from my friends, with the only hope of finding them again lying in the hands of the mosh pit. Eventually, I pushed my way up and enjoyed the rest of the concert from right in front of the stage.
While The Rave may be a grimy venue, it fit the show perfectly. Brockhampton clearly has a huge fan base in Milwaukee and Madison. There would have been plenty of space if people weren’t so intent on pushing, shoving and moshing.
Aside from the claustrophobic nature of the crowd, the music performed on stage was both sonically booming and breathtakingly beautiful. The group transitioned from aggressive hip-hop bangers like “BOOGIE” and “JUNKY,” to more chill, mellow tracks like “FACE,” to a couple of emotional guitar ballads, “SUMMER” and “TEAM.”
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The group’s dexterity is apparent throughout their trilogy of albums, with multiple people adding unique styles and sounds, but it is hard to fully appreciate how multifaceted Brockhampton’s music is until you see them live.
Of course, there is the group’s leader, Kevin Abstract, with his smooth flows and catchy hooks, engaging in a dialogue with the crowd and making them feel a part of the group. Then there is Merlyn Wood, the hype man of Brockhamton, jumping around the stage, busting crazy dance moves and getting the crowd riled up with his hard-hitting verses.
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Ameer Vann brings a cool energy to the stage, and his deep voice resonates his verses to the back of the concert hall. Dom McLennon is the lyrical athlete of the group. His fast-rapping style and pop-culture references are especially present in the song “STAR,” which the group performed as an encore six times. Somehow, Joba managed to keep his angelic falsetto intact throughout the tour and gave a riveting performance of “FACE.”
Matt Champion, like Vann, maintained a calm demeanor on stage, yet didn’t lack passion delivering verses. Bearface, who gave the only solo performance of the show, fostered an appreciation for guitar ballads I never thought I would have.
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I have not listened to a single Brockhampton song since the show. Their music is so far stuck in my head there is simply no need to. I know when I revisit their music, it won’t live up to the experience I had in seeing them live in concert. Brockhampton is way better live and if you have the chance to see them in concert I would highly recommend getting tickets, but be prepared for a mosh pit.