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Updated: Dec 14, 2018

By Mel Deorsola

Standing tall and proud, a group of men rap about the pressure of expectations and the struggle of growing up gay in front of audiences all over America. The face of the boyband industry has changed.

On December 1st, hundreds, if not thousands, of fans flooded the San Diego Sports Arena to watch Brockhampton live in concert. If you aren’t already familiar with Brockhampton, they are an all-inclusive hip-hop/alternative musical group hoping to break the stereotypes of what it means to be a “boyband.” Luckily enough, I was able to get tickets.

Early access tickets got you into the venue an hour early, which meant waiting around on the ground floor with nothing to do but talk about how much you were going to sweat in the next two hours. A few minutes before the show, the giant screen on stage lit up with a video of one band member in the arena’s halls. The entire crowd (un)predictably rushed the stage, but the band member was nowhere in sight. The wind was knocked out of me. That’s when I realized how unprepared I was for this show.

Finally, at 9 P.M., Kevin Abstract, the band’s leading member, walked onstage and began rapping the opening of a song from their newest album. The song, “WEIGHT,” starts off solemn and emotional, but quickly turns energetic as the rest of the band races on stage. The six band members bounced across the stage, the audience bouncing along with them. I gave my best effort to keep up with the crowd. I swayed from one side to the next, almost fell over fourteen different times, dodging elbows and mosh pit mischief. I’m only five foot four. You can see my dilemma.

The concert continued on with a couple bangers, like “SWEET,” “NEW ORLEANS,” “GOLD,” and my personal favorite, “ZIPPER.” Each song pushed me closer to the middle of the crowd. And I didn’t have the strength to keep up with those hard core front-stagers. It was hard to see the people onstage, but that didn’t stop me from belting out the lyrics and jumping along with the rest of the fans.

Don’t let the energy of this concert fool you. Brockhampton songs aren’t just for dancing. They address the members’ experiences with mental illness, sexuality, racism, rape culture, and other real life issues that are often underrepresented in hip-hop. Being unapologetically honest in their lyrics is what attracts followers to their music. For me, hearing a relatable message from this group of men makes me feel less alone in my struggles, which is exactly their goal.

Halfway through the concert, the members left the stage and were replaced by a short series of videos on the big screen. They answered questions such as “Who inspires you?” or “Do you believe in love?” and even “Do you believe in a higher power?” Their answers ranged from uplifting to absurd.

Near the end of the show, “SAN MARCOS” came on. Everyone in the stadium raised their hands or their phone, swayed to the music, and recited the chorus at the end of the song: “I want more out of life than this, I want more, I want more.” I wrapped my arm around my friend’s shoulder as we sang with the crowd. There was that strange connection you feel with the rest of the audience at the end of a concert. We didn’t want it to end. Luckily, there was an encore.

The band came back on stage in a rainbow of brightly colored hoodies as they delivered their most aggressively dynamic song to date, “BOOGIE.” It was the best way to end the concert. If large crowds, loud music, and powerful lyrics are your thing, Brockhampton concerts are your go-to.


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