Rap music has a protracted, proud historical past of super-sized teams that shouldn’t work however do. Clearly, there’s Wu-Tang, who’ve lengthy been the benchmark for such collectives, however there have additionally been such teams as Native Tongues, Odd Future, Raider Klan, Beast Coast, the earliest incarnation of NWA, and hyper-local teams like LA Symphony and Justus League. Brockhampton holds an uncommon place even amongst this uncommon group of acts, each for his or her distinctive configuration and their group dynamic, which is chaotic even by the requirements set by their friends and predecessors.
And now, like so very a lot of these supergroups earlier than them, Brockhampton has reached the top of the highway, giving us trigger to take inventory of their legacy and impression within the wake of their final two albums and a rowdy however unusually muted farewell show at The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles Saturday evening (November 19).
I don’t imply “muted” within the sense that the vibe was low or that the band’s vitality was down, though anybody who’s ever seen Brockhampton carry out a set at a competition is aware of there are moments the place the emo takes over. However anybody who has seen these performances has come to count on sure requirements of presentation – assume the orange jumpsuits they wore together with blue face paint at Camp Flog Gnaw in 2018.
Whereas the gang was definitely peppered with attendees carrying this getup and others from the band’s prolonged stage historical past of rocking outlandish costumes, this evening noticed them dressing down. They seemed much less just like the funhouse mirror model of the boy bands they half-parodied-half-homaged all through their profession and extra like a bunch of fellows hanging out with their mates for one final evening earlier than going off to varsity.
Even on this was quintessentially Brockhampton, although. They’ve made a profession of teasing and trolling followers, hinting at grand plans whereas seemingly making it up as they went alongside. This tendency was even seen within the launch of what they’d promoted as their remaining album, The Family, which turned out to be extra of a solo album from the band’s de facto frontman Kevin Summary. Hours after dropping the undertaking, they introduced yet one more: the odds-and-ends compilation TM, which felt like extra of a correct Brockhampton album regardless of the unfinished nature of the songs on it.
From the beginning, the ultimate Brockhampton present captured that mischievous proclivity, as Kevin Summary got here out on stage himself to carry out songs from The Household. Simply after I’d satisfied myself that this was one final troll from the boys, he was joined on stage by Bearface, Dom, Jabari, Joba, Matt, and Merlyn, ripping by means of uproarious takes on fan favorites from their three Saturation initiatives, Iridescence, and Ginger as the gang broke into mosh pit mayhem.
Weirdly sufficient, although, it by no means actually felt like “the final” Brockhampton present. Simply “a” Brockhampton present – a hangout with mates. The closest it felt to a farewell was once they pulled a fan named Brendan, who was carrying the orange jumpsuit (after all), onto the stage and requested him what he cherished about Brockhampton. His reply, “as a result of they really feel like acceptance,” appeared to clarify the phenomenon behind the group’s recognition as a lot as something. Then they carried out some extra, with Brendan on the stage like he was a part of the group.
That’s the factor that appeared to outline them greater than something. It defined the extreme loyalty and fervor of their fanbase, which delivered them to the top of the Billboard charts in 2018 with Iridescence and provided a few of the most raucous performances on the festivals they took over within the years since. It was that feeling that, with all these members on stage, there may be room for only one extra. And yet one more after that, and possibly one or two extra after that. Brockhampton referred to as themselves a boy band, however they have been extra like household – and if you have been a Brockhampton fan, so have been you.