The fans saying goodbye to Brockhampton
As America's greatest boyband announce their indefinite hiatus, we took pictures of the avid crowd at their swan song London shows.
The lights drop in Brixton Academy and you’re conscious that it’ll be, for Brockhampton, one of the last times they do this. After five years -- though they’ve been making music under different monikers for 12 -- America’s greatest boyband are bringing their time together to a close; an “indefinite hiatus”, a looming, One Direction-sounding statement put it.
It feels both premature and perfectly timed: these men, in their early-to-mid-20s, felt like they were approaching the peak of their powers in the last couple of years. They found a middle-ground between Billboard-topping rap artists and popular kids on the internet; adored by everybody from industry legends like Danny Brown and A$AP Rocky to the scene’s new blood. But by bowing out at this stage, they keep that legacy sweet. There never was a time when they weren’t met with rapture and excitement. Tonight, it’s no different: just ask the fans queuing outside the venue for the band’s swan song gigs.
The official final Brockhampton show will take place at Coachella in April, but this is a crowd composed entirely of die-hards. Kevin Abstract, the band’s de-facto frontman, previously told fans on social media that one of his favourite shows the group have ever done was a famous two-night stint at London’s Koko, where crowds scrambled on top of each other and fans swung, half-bodies over balconies, as the group marked their formal arrival in the city. It felt like a moment of history being made. Now, with these shows, a shorter chapter of similar significance opens and closes in quick succession. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it end of Brockhampton.
To mark this moment, photographer Joseph McDermott headed down to Brixton to meet the fans, preparing to say farewell to their favourite boyband. When -- or if -- these boys make a comeback, these people will be there, stomachs crushed against the front row barrier, craving more.
What do you do? I’m a musician. Why are you here tonight? To see Brockhampton, duh. What have Brockhampton meant to you over the years? Young men doing their thing… it makes me believe. All-time favourite track? “Sweet”.
What do you do? Just graduated! What have Brockhampton meant to you over the years? They got me through the pandemic and uni days. All-time favourite track? “Swamp”.
What do you do? I’m an artist. What have Brockhampton meant to you over the years? Sick plans! All-time favourite track? All of them.
What do you do? I make art. What have Brockhampton meant to you over the years? Inspiration; lifeline. All-time favourite track? “Sweet”.
What do you do? I’m an artist. What have Brockhampton meant to you over the years? Growth and unity between like-minded geniuses. All-time favourite track? “No Halo”.
What do you do? Student. Why are you here tonight? To listen to some sounds… it’s a bit of history too, innit? What have Brockhampton meant to you over the years? Escaping, feeling, made me want to do what I want to do. All-time favourite track? “No Halo”.
What do you do? Actor and barista. What have Brockhampton meant to you over the years? So much it’s hard to explain. Feel like they define a certain time in my life. All-time favourite track? “1997 DIANA” or “Swamp”.
Photography Joseph McDermott