As a collective, this is the first tour the ‘world’s best boy band’ have experienced oversees. The KOKO seems a fitting venue for the group; their vulnerability matches the club’s isolated stance. The venue lies between pubs and restaurants, but it’s old Royal Albert Hall aesthetic makes it feel noticeably out of place, a beautiful outsider amidst the chaos of Camden. This is much like how Brockhampton‘s career has been thus far, their timid personalities are well respected and loved, but completely contrasting to the hyper masculine stereotype of most rappers.
This gig was advertised as ‘Brockhampton + Special Guests’, but it didn’t take long for fans to realise that the ‘special guests’ were actually just more of the Texan collective. This was a bold move from a band who are far from established in Europe, but truthfully, there has been so much anticipation for this performance that the decision was smart and justifiable.
With a stage of six swings, you could have been fooled into thinking this gig was going to be one of intimacy. However, from the first siting of Romil (the DJ) running across the stage, it was evident this wouldn’t be the case. Kicking off the show with ‘1998 TRUMAN’, my personal favourite off of their fourth coming LP, the ruthless mosh pits possessed the crowd of screaming fans and incited a riotous energy in the KOKO. The rowdy revellers kept the atmosphere up throughout the show, constantly collapsing the circle pits in time to the thumping bass of tracks like ‘Sweet’ and ‘Star’.
Before the gig, I was wondering if the new tunes would be as well received as their songs from the Saturation Trilogy; the absence of Ameer could have felt problematic for an audience who never got to see him perform in England. Although he was one of my favourite members, before the accusations, his presence wasn’t necessary, and it allowed new tracks like ‘1997 Diana’ (the encore) to flourish. The beat on this is one of the most contagious I’ve heard all year, the chorus of screaming kids is unusually provocative and made fans properly jive their way to the end of the gig.
With sweat dripping off every ounce of my body, at the end of the show, I looked around in awe of the venue, the performance and the passion of the fans. Brockhampton, to my generation, are a symbol of unity and individual expression; every show they play breaks down barriers and allows potential ‘outsiders’ to truly express themselves.
To put the success of this gig into scale, Brockhampton played their new single ‘1997 Diana’ twice, and no one even blinked. They could have sat on those swings for an hour, not sung a word, and the show would have still been a major achievement.
Anyone who is debating on whether to see them at Reading this year needs to get their brain checked. It will be one of the sets of the weekend, and a treat to see them again in such a short space of time. Make sure to check out our Reading preview as well for more details on their set.