“Migos is bigger than the Beatles.” What started as a satirical comparison has become a near serious debate. Sparked by the inescapable single “Bad and Boujee,” which topped the Billboard charts for three weeks, Migos’ new stardom has caused many to reconsider this old joke and wonder if it may not be a joke at all. At this year’s Golden Globe Awards, Donald Glover — often known by his stage name, Childish Gambino — thrust the argument into the spotlight when he crowned Migos the “Beatles of our generation.” Soon after, dozens of think pieces spiraled out from every music publication evaluating Glover’s “blasphemous” claim. At the peak of all this controversy, Migos’ sophomore record “C U L T U R E” was released, earning the group its first number one album and universal critical acclaim.
Two months later, the buzz generated by the band has not died down. Migos is in the midst of its “C U L T U R E” tour and is on the path to establishing itself as a permanent superstar, with charismatic appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” The spotlight reveals that the three performers complement each other both musically and beyond. Their force is collective; when watching their television performances, it is impossible to ignore parallels to the Beatles’ inaugural performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Although many question whether or not the members of Migos are superstars, the group’s 12:30 a.m. arrival for a 9 p.m. performance at Echostage reveals that it clearly has no doubts about its status. When DJ Khaled’s booming voice finally announced Migos, the trio started the show performing the titular track from “C U L T U R E.” Due to a combination of the long wait and the three deep album cuts that opened the concert, it was not until the fourth song that the crowd got into the show. The thematic strings on “Deadz” morphed tentative head nodding into full-on jumping and arm waving as everyone in the audience powerfully shouted the chorus to the song. The infectious energy of the group had finally reached the crowd.
The next four songs were two old singles, “Hannah Montana” and “Fight Night,” paired with two older album tracks, “What the Price” and “Brown Paper Bag.” Although the atmosphere remained energetic, it was clear that the effectiveness of the group’s songs was decided by the strength of the hook. The backtrack was louder than the live vocals, so many of the verses sounded drowned out, and the crowd’s excitement tapered off significantly while waiting for the chorus to come back. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that Echostage is a venue designed for electronic music, making the balance set for the instrumental higher. Group members Takeoff and Offset’s lack of skills on the mic did not help the situation. They repeatedly mumbled in low tones, which made their lyrics almost inaudible.
This was not an insignificant issue, and unfortunately detracted from the quality of the show, proving that the members of Migos lack the stage presence of superstars. The chemistry in the music does not make it to the stage. Quavo was the only band member who appeared to feel natural on stage. He was constantly dancing around and speaking to the crowd, while Takeoff and Offset stood around and failed to interact with the crowd. In fact, their tour DJ, DJ Durel, played the role of Quavo’s partner in crime, as the two had conversations before each song to hype up the crowd and set the tone.
It was one of these conversations that set up the best moment of the concert. DJ Durel asked Quavo, “What did your momma tell you?” Quavo deflected the question to the crowd, which resoundingly answered, “Not to sell work!” These chanted lyrics kicked off the band’s single “T-Shirt,” easily the most spirited song of the show. All three members of Migos gave their best performances, with Offset’s final a capella verse being the highlight. The trio fed off the crowd’s peaking energy as Quavo went into an improvised freestyle praising the reception D.C. was giving them.
The momentum from “T-Shirt” was carried into the final song as Migos ended the show with its defining hit “Bad and Boujee.” Accompanied by striking lasers and on-screen fire animations, the band capitalized on the anticipation built by saving the song the crowd wanted most for last. These final two performances were the group’s very best and left the audience in a frenzy. Migos ultimately put on a polarized, but at the very least, entertaining show. There were stretches where the group lost the crowd due to mumbling vocals and poor stage presence, but these moments were outweighed by mighty choruses and the final two performances. Migos may not have proved to be on the same level as the Beatles, but it did show enough superstar potential to prove that, one day, it might not be totally out of the question.