When we talk about boy bands we all think of the classic groups like Backstreet Boys, Take That and One Direction. BROCKHAMPTON are here to break those boundaries whilst simultaneously living up to them.
The group consists of 14 twenty-something-year-olds who met back in 2015 on an online Kanye West forum. Since then, the group have gone onto create three albums within a year, sign to a major label and create a huge and very committed fan base. Not many events at KOKO can create a snaking queue of hundreds heading through Camden Town. Then again, not many bands can sell out two shows within thirty seconds of release upon their first trip to the UK either.
BROCKHAMPTON kick off their first evening in London as a six-piece operation led onto the stage by Merlyn Wood as he belts the first verse of “1998 TRUMAN”, one of three singles from their upcoming album, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.
In true boy band style the young men, all dressed in matching white outfits were met on stage by girly shrieks as each fan let the boys know who was their personal favourite. Just like all boy bands – we all have our favourite.
The groups’ frontman Kevin Abstract led the show throughout the course of the evening, egging on the crowd to open up pits within the venue during their more energetic tracks such as “GUMMY”, “QUEER” and “SISTER/NATION”. Then encouraging them to sing along with the groups’ more laid back tracks such as “BLEACH” where he conducted a sing-a-long of the chorus.
The set hit all sorts of highs but nothing topped that of the most intimacy with the crowd. Moments after Joba raised the roof showing off his vocal ability during “FACE” Bearface took centre stage with a guitar to perform a stripped back solo of “SUMMER”.
Other members swung on playground styled swings hung from the roof of the stage over an astroturfed floor, a tongue-in-cheek reference to typical boybands taking their seats on stools. Amongst mosh pits, teenage screams and floor shaking jumps, this offered three minutes of utter stillness for fans to sing their lungs out and truly take in the group that stood before them. It was a powerful moment as the group took full command of the sold-out venue.
Unlike most boy bands, the group doesn’t consist of a couple of reasonable vocals backed with a couple of good-looking faces but heaps of raw and unique talent. Each member bringing something special and rare to the group. The hip-hop collective is reimagining and recreating what it is to be a part of a boy band. Covering difficult topics within their music such as racism and homophobia with a spark that’s loved by so many. Anyone and everyone who managed to get a ticket to the sold-out nights bore witness to the start of something big. The best boy band since One Direction? Definitely.