Most Surprising Show Of The Year? Brockhampton Teaches This Old Writer A Thing Or Two


There were no expectations as I walked into The Armory last night. Although I’ve heard the name Brockhampton before, I had never heard his music before (yes, that’s now naive I was– I thought Brockhampton was a single artist– more on that later). All I knew was that I instantly felt my age as I jumped in the line that wrapped around the giant venue. From conversations about that one girl in class to the age-old question before friends of “So, do you want to mosh tonight?”, I was clearly in for something that I wasn’t quite ready for but, whatever it was, I was intrigued to experience it.

I got through security and inside just in time for 100 Gecs to start. I was instantly in love. This duo’s set was chaotic and ridiculously nostalgic. Think Millionaires meets Sleigh Bells meets every emo-screamo band from back in the early 2000’s with a hint of EDM goodness and you kind of get close to what 100 Gecs is. Dylan Brady and Laura Les didn’t seem phased by the fact that they were the odd ones out on this tour package musically and gave the audience everything they had with the short time they had on stage. I couldn’t tell if the crowd was loving it or hating it at first but when their set came to the end and the audience seemed to still be jumping to the infectious beats that were left hanging in the air, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one who thoroughly enjoyed 100 Gecs’ performance. I instantly took to social media preaching the word of 100 Gecs and although I know they won’t be for everyone, if you are a nostalgia seeker like I am with an addiction to chaotic and random music, I highly suggest giving these guys a listen. They definitely earned a spot in my top ten biggest surprises of the year when it comes to opening acts.

I was still in shock from how much I enjoyed 100 Gecs’ set when slowthai took the stage. slowthai (born Tyron Kaymone Frampton) is a rapper from Northampton, England. He took the stage and instantly had the audience in the palm of his hand with his heavy accent and raw and rugged raps. slowthai’s music was definitely different from that of 100 Gecs but it kept the night moving with a nice and quick-paced flow. His raps were intense and gritty at times but it made sense with his almost aggressive demeanor on the stage. Sure, you could call this kid just another angry rapper but there was something more to him that had me intrigued and watching his every move. Although the audience wasn’t just standing around during 100 Gec’s opening set, they seemed to really amp up the energy for slowthai which made the moment when slowthai jumped from the stage and into the sweaty audience that much more of an exclamation point on an already great and impressive set.

Closing out the already amazing Tuesday night concert that had clearly caught me off guard was Brockhampton. As mentioned, I was naive and honestly though that I was about to see a rapper named Brock Hampton which made sense as the house lights went down and a lone rapper took the stage and instantly jumped into an energetic string of words. What didn’t make sense to me was how after every string of words, another rapper would take the stage. Come to find out– there is no Mr. Hampton and Brockhampton is actually a rap collective from Texas. Although it took me a little bit to get the idea of a single rapper performing, it didn’t take me long to fall head over heels in love with this group.

I won’t get into the specifics as to who was on stage because I honestly couldn’t tell you but I can tell you that every single member of this collective that graced the stage clearly brought their own influence to the atmosphere and the sound. From a rough and aggressive style that paired nicely with the vibe laid out by Slowthai, to a more playful and fun energy- Brockhampton’s set was all over the place and therefor brought something to the table for everyone. Regardless of what vibe was being produced through the vocal styling of the man holding the microphone at any given time, the atmosphere throughout the giant venue was straight up fun. There was always a beat to bounce around to which kept a constant smile on my face and the faces of those around me. Even the people who had been spit out by the “mosh pit” (only using quotations because, although there was lots of movement on the floor, I struggle to call it a mosh pit) approached the bar sweaty and out of breath for a bottle of water but also with a smile on their faces.

Although I had never heard of this group, it’s clear that they are a thing with the youths. The production value of their live show was definitely something that was surprising but also a great addition to an already great show. From plumes of smoke that shot up from the front of the stage to the giant three lit up crosses that were hanging over the stage, there was a lot to take in but also a lot to keep you interested during pauses between the tracks. Their twenty song set moved too quickly and I felt like there was still so much more to notice and experience by the time the house lights were coming back on and the young crowd was flooding into the streets of downtown to find their parents’ mini-van (yes, I went there and I don’t regret it). I could have watching Brockhampton perform for at least another twenty songs and not gotten bored with it and I think it’s safe to assume the rest of the crowd would share that sentiment.

Last night’s concert wasn’t supposed to be that good. It was supposed to be just another show to get me one tick closer to hitting my goal of 300 shows this year (which won’t happen but I’m still going to get as high as I can). Because of the talent, passion, and the atmosphere, the show became so much more and may even be in the running for one of my favorites of the year.