Live Review: BROCKHAMPTON @ The Forum, 25.09.18
LIVE at The Forum
25 / 09 / 18
Words by Matilda Elgood
Travelling around the country with the Listen Out festival, BROCKHAMPTON stopped by Melbourne’s The Forum for a highly anticipated sideshow. A line of punters wrapped around the entire block waiting for doors to open. The super group’s new album iridescence dropped last Friday, before pulling one of the biggest crowds at Listen Out in Catani Gardens over the weekend. To say BROCKHAMPTON have created major buzz around Melbourne in the last few days would be an understatement. Inside the venue, crowds were bursting out the seams. The floor was already full half an hour before the set was due to start. Instead of an opening act for the night, BROCKHAMPTON built anticipation with a picture of a couch projected on stage.
Starting a little late, BROCKHAMPTON finally stormed the stage. Starting off with a sombre number from the new album, ‘WEIGHT’, the US group eased the over-excited crowd into a big night. Kevin Abstract flew through the heavy themes of the song, to an extremely attentive sea of fans. Next played another new song, ‘NEW ORLEANS’, which was complemented by an iridescence inspired graphic. Various statements flashed over the screen including, ‘STOP SITTING AROUND’, ‘ENJOY THESE MOMENTS’, ‘THE SWEETEST FEELING I’VE EVER KNOWN’ AND ‘MADE IN LONDON’. A subtle aesthetic choice, but still very impactful. Jumping back to the Saturation Trilogy of 2017, ‘ZIPPER’ played out.
As ‘TONYA’ started, BROCKHAMPTON made a bold statement, turning their backs on the audience as they sung. The track name allegedly is a reference to the figure skater of the film ‘I, Tonya’, reflecting the departure of founding member, Ameer Vann following abuse allegations. Although at the time I was unaware of the underlying meaning of the song, it was easy to see that the song carried some weight with the group. One could mistake the members for not singing live at all as they stood so motionless. Following Vann’s departure, it was unclear how the group would reconstruct live shows. Tracks such as ‘HEAT’, ‘JUNKY’, ‘STAR’ and ‘GOLD’ feature significant contributions from Vann, leaving audiences wondering if they would experience them live at all. Alas, ‘STAR’ and ‘GOLD’ made it onto the Melbourne set-list. The boy band decided to cut Vann’s verses, which curtailed crowd favourites short. However, the energised stage presence of the group softened the absence of Vann and distracted audiences from the shortened songs.
Sometimes being a shorty at a big show can be tough. If you’re happy to experience only the sound, it’s not too bad. However, at a BROCKHAMPTON show, the impaired vision elicits major F.O.M.O. There is so much happening on stage, people coming on, people going off. You want to see it all. I am personally the type of fan who listens to a lot of BROCKHAMPTON but is ignorant of how each member looks. Seeing the faces that matched the familiar voices for the first time was most exciting – “Wow, I did not expect him to have such a deep voice.” With six performing members, there was a lot of introductions to be made. By the end of the night punters everywhere would be nursing sore calves and strained necks.
With iridescent dropping only a few days before, it would be interesting to know how many times the die-hard fans played the album before seeing it performed live. Regardless, Abstract made it easy to follow both new and old songs by encouraging audiences to sing the chorus or hook a cappella as the songs finished. ‘BLEACH’, ‘SWEET’ and newbie ‘SAN MARCOS’ all included a crowd choir ringing throughout The Forum. A music video for ‘SAN MARCOS’ dropped the very next day, shot in Melbourne, complete with Australian fans singing the closing lines of the song. A moment that was very reminiscent of its live performance the night before. A personal favourite from the new album is ‘BERLIN’, and it did not disappoint on stage. Other crowd favourites included ‘SWEET’ and encores ‘1998 TRUMAN’ and ‘BOOGIE’.
After a Listen Out tour and a limited amount of sideshows, Australia is already eager to see BROCKHAMPTON again. Does the fact that BROCKHAMPTON could’ve sold out multiple Melbourne shows but only did one mean that we can expect a bigger, fuller tour soon? Not sure, but let’s hope so.
Publicity image courtesy of the artists.