Photo via @selina.andersen
Vancouver, BC - There was something magical in the air at BROCKHAMPTON’s show this past Monday night, and it wasn’t the marijuana smoke that clouded the air at PNE Forum. The boys of the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest boyband” are innovating a new sound and style. TheirI’ll Be There Tour celebrates their fourth studio album, iridescence, which marks a new era of BROCKHAMPTON as it's their first album outside of the Saturation trilogy.
Re-inventing themselves with a new sound, feel, and look, BROCKHAMPTON’s musical members took the stage in matching navy blue jumpsuits - a contrast to the orange jumpsuits they wore throughout their previous Saturation III Tour. The night kicked off with “WEIGHT” from iridescence that lyrically deals with inner-demons, with topics like self-harm, pressure, and drugs. The song alone is raw and highly emotional. BROCKHAMPTON’s performance of “WEIGHT” was powerful and beautifully agonizing, and locked a bond between them and audience as soon as the show began.
Stand-out performances included songs from iridescence while similar topics to “WEIGHT”, such as “TONYA” and “SAN MARCOS”. The BROCKHAMPTON boys were so soulfully indulged in the songs, making for a breathtaking experience. For “SAN MARCOS”, they boiled it down to just the music, and members laid on the stage floor with a live camera projecting an overhead shot of them onto a big screen. As an audience member, belting lyrics about depression amidst a huge crowd belting the same lyrics was cathartic. For example, Joba’s line in “DISTRICT” -- “Praise God! Hallelujah! I’m still depressed”. Whether one relates to the lyrics or not, the connection in the room was undeniable. Between the BROCKHAMPTON boys to the strangers pushed up against each other, when reciting those lyrics, it felt like the room was one. It was hard to feel alone; literally (being packed against people), and mentally, within one’s own hardships and personal struggles.
BROCKHAMPTON slowed-down the beat for a special rendition of their hit song “BLEACH”. The absence of former member Ameer Vann fissures a silence for one of the verses in “BLEACH”, as well as many of BROCKHAMPTON’s older songs. The group rejuvenated those empty breaks in songs with ad-libs while the beat played on.
Of course, a BROCKHAMPTON show is not a BROCKHAMPTON show without moments where the crowd is bouncing off the walls. Songs such as “QUEER”, “GUMMY”, and “BOOGIE” took the energy to a new high.
Adding to the magic of the night, intermissions played pre-recorded videos of BROCKHAMPTON members individually answering deep questions like “do you believe in a higher power?” Live video of the audience was projected periodically throughout the show. The visuals were all tied in together at the end.
After BROCKHAMPTON walked off stage, the screen rolled credits with the names of each member like a movie. The group is notorious for their high energy songs with catchy hooks from their Saturation albums. But it’s not just their experimental beats and hooks that makes their music great. BROCKHAMPTON’s lyrics have always touched on serious personal issues, like dealing with homophobia, substance abuse, and depression. With iridescence, they have put this side of BROCKHAMPTON into high gear offering a deeper understanding of each member. They are real people with real issues.
With the I’ll Be There Tour the group was explicit in championing who they are in their lyrics, and in their performances. BROCKHAMPTON put on a show that went far beyond the music. The show was about grappling and confronting personal issues, emotions, and identity, alongside BROCKHAMPTON.