I could begin to tell as soon as I pulled up to the venue: The kids lined up down the streets outside had been camped out for hours, employing blankets and alcohol for warmth. As I entered the high-ceilinged performance space, the merch line stretched almost all the way through the standing-room-only crowd, and by the time I got to the front, nearly everything was completely sold out. Then the group took the stage just a few minutes after 9:30 PM and I quickly saw no other option: Brockhampton is about to be one of the biggest names in the world.
At first, just a sole figure took the stage in a white t-shirt and jeans, with a painter’s mask over his face. He loomed over the crowd as they screamed in adoration — though I’m not sure they knew entirely who it was behind the mask. From an on-stage couch, the figure pulled the signature orange jumpsuit and slowly stepped into it. He zipped it up then pulled off his mask, revealing a massive smile from Ameer Vann as the beat dropped for Saturation III‘s lead single and opening track “Boogie,” and the rest of the band leaped out onto the stage.
After witnessing it first-hand, I’m not sure there is a song better suited to opening a live set. Both the performer and the audience were sucked into an absolute mayhem that did not subside for the entirety of the nearly two-hour set, and it was perfect and it was beautiful. It’s clear that these performers, the number of whom you can never really get a good count (I think there were seven or eight jumping across the space at any given time?), are just having an unbelievable amount of fun on stage, and that feeling rubs off on everyone in the room.
“Everybody boo us,” Vann said sternly into the mic about three songs in. The crowd complied willingly. “Now everybody say f*ck Pitchfork,” Kevin Abstract chimed in. Perhaps even louder than before, crowd complied. With three full-length Saturation records released in the last year, there was a wealth of material to choose from over the course of two hours.
The main set closed out with vocalist Bearface — who had spent a majority of the show lounging on a couch toward the rear — taking center stage with an electric guitar for a solo performance of “Summer” and “Team.” These are tracks that seem to fall into the periphery when listening to the records, but they took on a whole new life during the live performance, making for some of the most entrancing moments of the entire set.
Finally, the group returned for an encore that consisted of six songs — though four of them were just “Star.” For the final round of “Star,” Vann invited anyone in the crowd that had come to the show in costume to hop up onstage and dance with them. Suddenly eight performers turned to ten members, ten turned to fifteen. The stage was overcrowded and no one had much room to really dance, but no one seemed to mind.
At the first of two nights at Detroit’s Majestic Theater — likely one of the smallest venues Brockhampton have played or will play on this tour — the self-proclaimed “America’s favorite boyband” proved they were just that.