Electric boy band Brockhampton goes out with a bang in energetic farewell gig

A special kind of electricity filled Brixton Academy last week (7 Feb) on the first of two farewell gigs from hip-hop collective and self-proclaimed boyband Brockhampton.

Packed tightly into the standing stalls, an eclectic mix of die-hard fans waited for their boys to take to the stage for what was due to be one of their final performances ever.

The band announced their “indefinite hiatus” last month, cutting their aggressive five-year climb to stardom at its peak – the 2021 album Roadrunner.

A few false starts with lighting showed just how ready the crowd was to get moving as they waited with bated breath for any sign of energy on stage.

And when Kevin Abstract manically bounded into view to the opening reverberation of ‘BUZZCUT’, the boxed firework of a crowd’s lid blew right off.

There wasn't a second for the eruption of energy to let up as Kevin, Joba, Merlyn, Dom, Matt and Bearface began to shatter, slide and strike their way through hard-hitting tracks from the 2017 Saturation trilogy.

A sense of finality was clear in the setlist, which played out more like a celebratory victory lap than a run-of-the-mill album tour.

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Each one of the group’s six projects lends itself to a wild live performance – and the decision to take a chronological trip from their first to latest showed their growth in musical complexity.

The beautiful simplicity of the group’s first big hit, crowd-favourite and tightly-rapped ‘GOLD’, compared to the densely layered 2021’s ‘SHOOT UP THE PARTY’ was a sight to behold in itself.

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The only slow down in energy was when the band brought Slowthai onto the stage – leaving a decent amount of breathing time for the performers as the crowd lost their mind.

But the lull on stage was short-lived as the Mercury Prize nominated rapper burst into his bass-heavy Brockhampton collaboration ‘HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU’ and straight into his fan-favourite ‘Doorman’.

From there the victory lap raced on with no breaks, jumping jarringly from bouncing raphouses like ‘BOY BYE’ and ‘SWEET’ to sing-along-grab-the-person-next-to-you-swayers like ‘SUGAR’ and ‘WHAT’S THE OCCASION’.

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The show ended with a rare centre-staged Bearface performing his melancholy epic ‘SUMMER’ as the rest of the group sat and watched from behind.

It was a fitting farewell from a band that has always lived to build each other up – and as Bearface stood alone in front of a deafening mix of applause and screams, it was a fitting farewell from their audience too.

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