California-based boy band Brockhampton took the Armory by storm on October 30th, promoting their new album ‘iridescence’ with their North America ‘I’ll Be There Tour’. The self-proclaimed “greatest boyband in the world”, Brockhampton’s 14-member conglomerate is young, and the same goes for a lot of their fanbase. I pulled up to the Armory at 7:30, when doors opened. The line stretched around the corner and down the block, and it looked to be mostly young people. Once I got into the venue, I noticed the sheer amount of people with X’s on their hands, indicating they were underage. Brockhampton has successfully tapped into a very lucrative market: High school students who have the ability to pay for concert tickets, merch, and music. Or rather, their parents.
The Armory, recently reopened as a concert venue, was impressive. Full service bars stretched along the perimeter of the main level, the staff were kind and helpful, and at its fullest, the pit could still have held twice as many people. We ended up in the dead center of the pit as the show started, at just past 9:30. As soon as the lights dimmed, the crowd seemed to compress, until it was body-to-body and my feet weren’t even on the ground. The first song started, and the crowd moved like an ocean, the tide pushing bodies to and fro. After two songs of this, I needed a break, and slipped through the crowd to where it thinned out, near the sound booth (see picture).
Brockhampton’s six vocalists wore matching, blue jumpsuits, while the other members stood on the side of the stage, doing live production, video, or just enjoying the show. The lights and camerawork at the venue were impressive, with green and blue lasers, copious amounts of fog, and live, thermal-imaging videography, mimicking the album art for ‘iridescence’. While frontman Kevin Abstract brought a ton of energy, members Matt Champion, Joba and Merlyn Wood reminded the crowd that Brockhampton has several hard hitting MC’s, and you never know who is going to hop on the mic next. Merlyn constantly implored to the crowd, “Open the pit! Open the pit! Open the pit!”, and a sizable mosh pit would open for a short while before closing up again. It was clear that Brockhampton really cared about creating an atmosphere of togetherness, as they weren’t shy to have the crowd sing choruses a capella, or lead them in cheers. The entire first halves of GOLD and BLEACH, two of their hits, were sung a capella by the audience.
It’s sometimes hard to have faith in the future, and the future generations. But then there are moments that you realize how far we’ve come as a society, how there are still battles to fight but it’s the little victories that help sustain us along the way. I had a moment like that, in the middle of this concert surrounded by a crowd of screaming teenagers: Kevin Abstract, a black, openly gay rapper lead the whole crowd in the following cheer:
“Say IIIIIII’M GAAAAAAAYYYY”