WRITTEN BY: Christian Kaess
Who is the best boyband to ever play in Philadelphia? It is not The Backstreet Boys, nor is it NSYNC, and it certainly isn’t One Direction. As of January 30, 2018, the best boyband to ever perform in the City of Brotherly Love is, without a doubt in my mind, BROCKHAMPTON. “America’s Favorite Boyband” never fails to put on an incredible show, and Tuesday night’s sold-out show at the Theater of Living Arts was definitely not an exception to this.
Doors opened around 8:00pm, and despite the fact that it was below 20 degrees and snowing throughout the entirety of the day, it did not deter fans from lining up as early as 3:00pm. I arrived around 8:30pm, and hundreds of fans were still swarming into the venue as I was entering. A multitude of fans, myself included, were spotted copying BROCKHAMPTON’s iconic look of blue face paint and orange jumpsuits. The energy was unreal the second I walked into the venue, but no words can describe the feeling that swept over the floor as the group took the stage.
The minute the lights dimmed, fans became deranged. It seemed as if every soul in attendance stormed towards the front row in a frenzy that can only be compared to a herd of stampeding elephants. When the band finally came out, and the beginning horns and sirens of “BOOGIE” began wailing through the air, fans went absolutely insane. Immediately bodies started jumping higher and higher, with fans passionately belting out each lyric, giving Joba’s verse specifically an extremely robust and energetic response. This energy transpired throughout the entire night and never ceased to let up at any point. The band proceeded to play three classic bangers, “QUEER,” “STAR,” and “GUMMY” respectively, with fans singing each song in a momentous crescendo. “STAR” in particular, featured an outrageous mosh pit coupled with a sea of bouncing heads and flailing arms.
One personal highlight during the band’s main set included a surprise performance of “FACE,” which is easily one of the group’s most melodic and somber songs, and is one of my personal favorites. It caught me off guard as I had checked the setlist before the show and it was not one of the songs included however, I was pleasantly shocked. Other highlights included hearing “SISTER” live for the first time, an experience that left me speechless as it was the most ludicrously wild I have ever seen the band get, as well as the back and forth rollercoaster of emotions that swirled during “BUMP.” The band closed the main set with “BLEACH,” a song that is quickly becoming one of BROCKHAMPTON’s most critically and commercially acclaimed hits. Front man Kevin Abstract was so impressed with the crowd that he cut the ending of the song and insisted that the crowd finish the remainder of the song. It was a heartfelt moment that was met with outstanding applause from both the fans and the band themselves. After “BLEACH,” fans were treated to a brief but beautiful solo set from BROCKHAMPTON’s own Bearface. Hearing his glorious and relaxing voice and sensational guitar shredding was a welcome break for fans as it allowed them to take a breath and recover from the utter madness they had just encountered.
After his set the lights yet again dimmed and stayed this way for a relatively long time. This did not prevent the audience in Philadelphia from keeping the energy alive. The crowd broke into the Eagles’ fight song multiple times ending each chant with a fiery “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!” After nearly five minutes of die-hard Eagles chanting, the group returned to play two final songs. The first was “HOTTIE,” an interesting and quirky track from SATURATION III as it sounds more like an unconventional pop song as opposed to anything BROCKHAMPTON has ever recorded before. The group ended the night with a savage performance of “HEAT,” one of SATURATION I’s hardest hitting tracks. Before the song started, Kevin Abstract demanded the crowd to form a huge pit and gave very specific instructions to the audience regarding Anthony, the sole audience member left in the middle of the pit. Kevin’s specific words were, “When the beat drops I want each and every one of you to close the pit on Anthony and beat the sh*t out of him. F*ck you Anthony.” Needless to say, Anthony did not make it out of that song unscathed. After five minutes of unrelenting madness, the song finally ended, and the band said their goodbyes.
BROCKHAMPTON is hands down one of the greatest groups I have ever seen live, and their performance at The TLA solidified their position on my list. They have an unprecedented chemistry between the band and the audience, and they consistently improve with each move they make. I am beyond excited for BROCKHAMPTON’S next album Team Effort as it not only means that my ears will be blessed with more incredible music, but it also implies that they will be going on another tour, and this writer would be more than ecstatic to see BROCKHAMPTON for a third time. Here’s to hoping they return to Philly soon.
BEARFACE SOLO SET: