MIA CARNEVALE/THE VARSITY

In 2019, hip hop collective and self-identified boyband BROCKHAMPTON returned with studio album GINGER, along with their Heaven Belongs To You tour. Despite founding member Ameer Vann leaving the group due to sexual misconduct allegations, BROCKHAMPTON have greatly progressed since they emerged as stars in 2017.

Tellingly, GINGER was introspective and touched on sensitive topics, which provided fans with insight into the lives of the band. Sonically, the project was vastly different from their other studio albums, innovating upon BROCKHAMPTON’s traditional sound. It focuses less on hard-hitting songs and catchy hooks, and more on ballads and melodies.

The accompanying tour was also innovative, with BROCKHAMPTON redefining how they perform. Their tour stopped at Toronto’s Coca Cola Coliseum, a fitting venue for the band. There were two openers: the first being 100 gecs, a duo that makes music even more experimental than BROCKHAMPTON. Their intriguing style of music mixes the autotune-heavy nature of today’s hip-hop with the strong guitar chords and drums of metal music. Despite being unknown to a vast proportion of the audience, there was definitely genuine fascination and appreciation.

The other opening act was rapper, slowthai. slowthai has recently evolved from  a UK buzz to a global sensation. Most of the crowd was well aware of his stage persona, echoed his ad libs and matched his energy.

Shortly afterward, BROCKHAMPTON took to the stage. The crowd watched in awe and harmonized along as the band delivered enchanting melodies with articulate rhymes. The most interesting aspect of the show was how many focal points there were on stage. Of course, the attention was placed on the members who were singing and rapping their parts. However, it was obvious that there was so much talent on the stage.

The audience was just as excited seeing Kevin Abstract’s verses as they were seeing one of the best qualities of the band: the guitar solos of Ciarán McDonald, better known as bearface. Despite having around six regularly performing members, each of them have their own significance in the group and its sound. It never felt like there was too much or too little emphasis on a single member.

This tour also saw BROCKHAMPTON innovate their stage antics through a reimagined set design. The entire stage was lit beautifully. There were strobing crosses surrounding the group, colour coded areas, and a raked floor with LED strip lights going down it. Fans were there to listen to the group, but BROCKHAMPTON’s beautiful use of their stage made this show an amazing visual experience as well.

The atmosphere of the night was incredible and added to the performance that much more. BROCKHAMPTON’s entire brand has been based off including ‘outsiders’ in their fanbase. The band members are Black, white, and Asian. They have different sexual orientations and they are all very open about their sexualities. Their fans also come from different ethnic and personal backgrounds. It was beautiful to see so many different people coming together and united in their appreciation for this band.

The Heaven Belongs to You tour was ultimately a great experience and showed fans that the group still has plenty of talent to share with the world. Constantly innovating and constantly redefining themselves, it will be interesting to see what 2020 brings for BROCKHAMPTON.

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