Eric Nam Talks “Honestly…” & Aspirations in fanmeet in Singapore

By Anna Cheang

Back in Singapore for the second time on an official visit since his concert in July, Korean-American singer Eric Nam returned as a guest to grace the first anniversary celebrations of dal.komm COFFEE, a music cafe chain from Seoul. While he did not have a full concert this time, Eric held a mini-showcase for his fans where he sang his hit tracks such as “Good For You,” “Can’t Help Myself,” “Beautiful (Eng. Ver.),” as well as his title track “Honestly…” from his latest album of the same name.

By Anna Cheang

With his latest album, which he took over two years to create, Eric shed his “guy next door” image and opted for a more realistic, if flawed, persona. From tackling issues like growing tired of a partner but not knowing how to break things off amicably to dealing with difficult breakups, Honestly… is raw but highly relatable, and tells an unconventional story about the process of a breakup, rather than the sadness of heartbreak or the concept of being in love that most songs dwell on. At the media conference prior to the fan event, Eric explained that this album is “a piece of art that really shows a different side of my music and personality, and stories that are a little different from what I have been telling so far.”


Also on Kultscene: Eric Nam’s ‘Interview’ Album Review

His inspirations for this album came from everyday life, from his personal experiences and those of his friends. “We all go through the same things in life. We go through different versions of it but the points and the main stories of it are very similar.” It might have been too real and uncomfortably familiar for some, however, as he explained that he faced a lot of opposition in the creation of this album due to its subject matter. “They kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to go in this direction.” Despite the demanding and fighting he had to go through, Eric persisted because he wanted to break free of the box his one-dimensional nice image had confined him in. “As an artist you have to stay true to what stories you want to tell and show some creative development as you go on in your career. I didn’t want to feel stuck and stalled at one point in my life.”

 

By Anna Cheang

The highly pop-like and experimental nature of the album is also a break away from the gentle ballads or R&B style songs that Eric has often been associated with — a very big step that he felt was necessary for him to take. Listing popular hip-hop musicians in Korea such as Dean, Zico, and Crush, he explained that while many musicians ventured into the previously unfamiliar path of hip-hop and eventually made it their own, not many artists in Korea have done that for pop. “I wanted to make that lane mine,” he confessed, especially since he is a huge fan of pop music. For instance, Eric’s favourite track of the album, “This Is Not A Love Song,” which he performed acapella briefly during the event, is a laid back but pop-infused and catchy song. Many of the songs on this album, in fact, are this way; they have fun melodies “that make you wanna dance” but have lyrics which are at times aggressive or filled with pain and regret. This dichotomy was intended to cause listeners to think and reflect on their own feelings, and was one that Eric and his team enjoyed exploiting as they created the album.

By Anna Cheang

While Eric has already collaborated with many artists such as Gallant, Tablo, KOLAJ, and Arty, among others, he revealed that future collaborations are in the works. Following the release of Honestly…, which was a turning point in his career, many artists, songwriters, and producers have also been approaching him for future projects. Of these, he has been talking to his friend of two years, American singer songwriter Khalid, for a while now, and he hopes that something would come out of it soon. In the meantime, he is also talking to Latin artists about doing a Spanish version of one of the songs in this album, which would further expand the diversity and versatility of his current music style.


Also on Kultscene: Weekly K-pop Faves: April 9-15

When asked about a beverage that describes himself, Eric aptly chose a shot of espresso because it is a main ingredient that can be used to create so many types of drinks. On expressing his desire to go out of his comfort zone and beyond his original identity, he said, “I like to think of myself as an artist that could fit into many different genres and parts of the world.”

A self-proclaimed bold individual, Eric hopes to be able to continue down this path of pop music, despite the many obstacles he will face along the way. While international fans have responded positively to his new music style, he acknowledged that he has to keep putting out this sound for Korean fans to get used to and accept it. Making music is and continues to be a difficult job, but Eric has his family and friends to thank for helping him to stay grounded through it all.

Up next for Eric is his Honestly North American tour, which begins on the 5th of June in Los Angeles. Here’s to a successful tour and more great music ahead!

Were you at dal.komm COFFEE’s 1st Anniversary Event? What did you think of Honestly…? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

SF9 gives Dallas a fantasy to remember

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell

by Kristen Powell

This past summer, FNC Entertainment’s boy group SF9 had many people falling head over heels for the nine-member boy group at KCON LA and NY. And for stateside fans, it was only a matter of time until they would be back in the U.S. yet again, this time for their very first American fan-meet tour. During this trip,the boys would be coming to three major cities, Seattle, Boston, and Dallas, with the latter stop kicking off the tour on Nov. 15.

When doors opened at 6:30 p.m., it did not take long for each seat in the Bomb Factory to fill up immediately. Although there was an hour wait for the show to start, it went by fairly quickly because of the many Fantasies (SF9’s fandom name) dancing, singing, and even shouting out the boys’ names way before the show even started.

Once the lights dimmed, a sweet introduction video shot through fans’ hearts, showing the boys dressed up in flashy suits while holding red roses. Shortly after, nine familiar shadows appeared on the stage and screams began to grow. The first song to get the crowd warmed up was their debut song “Fanfare” from 2016. Next was “Roar,” the title track from their first mini album, Burning Sensation. For this performance, Rowoon attacked audience members with his seductive line, “Hey, little mama…” These two songs alone had the crowd going wild. And it was pretty evident that the boys themselves started out big, pouring their heart and soul into these two songs. However, things were only just getting started.

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell


Also on KultScene: Astro ‘Dream Pt. 02’ Album Review

After the first part of their performances were over, the well-known translator and MC Danny Lim then came out and had each member introduce themselves. Once that was done, Danny then moved onto some questions submitted by Fantasies, opening up a talk session that had the boys showing off their talents, including rapping, sweet-talking, playing the chicken fight game, and doing aegyo (cuteness) by dancing to Twice’s “TT.”

SF9’s members were only being silly and flaunting their charms, but that alone had all the Fantasies’ hearts just swooning for more. But of course the band had to step off stage for a few minutes to share a playful video (known commonly among K-pop fans as “VCR”). SF9’s VCR had just about everyone’s eyes gleaming and in complete awe as the boys appeared on the screen, getting ready for a “special date with Fantasies.” Each member had his own different date scenario, and even offered up cute messages for fans. Even my heart skipped a beat, because it really was one of the most endearing moments of the night.

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell

After the VCR ended, it was pitch black and the screams, yet again, erupted. The stage then lit up with red and orange lights and the silhouettes were seen, formed into the iconic wheel dance from their choreography for their 2016 single “K.O.” Then, all hell broke loose; it seemed like the music became even louder and the bass boomed throughout the venue, plus the crowd was beyond energetic. They then performed “Jungle Game” and a cover of Austin Mahone’s “Dirty Work.”

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell

The next special segment had the members draw raffle tickets that were given to Fantasies right before the doors opened for a chance to play games with the members on stage. These were, in fact, relay games, so they’d be doing a variety of different things, which made it even more amusing. Two lucky Fantasies were chosen separately to help members complete their tasks. It was quite hilarious because you could tell the boys were getting a kick out of the fans’ reactions.

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell

Unfortunately, only one fan was able to help the boys complete their task, and for her prize, they took out their latest album and had each member sign it on the spot. There was one task in particular where Dawon had to blow up balloons, and he and Youngbin had to pop it by pressing against each other. However, Dawon took it upon himself to cheat and, after he blew up multiple balloons, he sweetly wrote his signature on them and began throwing them into the crowd instead of popping them. Lots of lovey-dovey-ness, but it didn’t stop there.

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell

Next up came yet another VCR, this one featuring the boys dressed in animal onesies playing random play dance. The boys seemed to really put much thought into creating such an exuberant show; there were so many screams, so many “aw’s,” and a lot of giggles from the crowd as they watched this second VCR alone.

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell


Also on KultScene: Red Velvet’s ‘Peek-A-Boo’ song & music video review

Thereafter they performed “Let’s Hang Out” and “Easy Love,” which were the last two songs of the night. Nevertheless, Fantasies weren’t letting that happen until they all sang happy birthday to the leader, Youngbin. It then became very emotional for everyone, especially Youngbin because he wasn’t expecting it at all. He tried hard to fight back tears and thank Fantasies for the wonderful surprise. Soon after, every member began to show their gratitude, and then they hit us with the encore song, their latest single “O Sole Mio.”

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell

Overall, SF9 truly showed up and showed out, proving that their skills are something serious. The vocal line had such solid vocals, while the rap line delivered that edgy, rough voice. What made their stage performances so grand was the style, though.

sf9 dallas concert show review

by Kristen Powell

Let us know what your favorite SF9 song is in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

6 Highlights from BewhY’s ‘The Blind Star’ Los Angeles stop

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

After blowing up thanks to his win on the Korean rap competition show Show Me the Money and a couple of appearances in Los Angeles since then, the rapper BewhY embarked on an ambitious six stop tour earlier this month. Titled after his recent album, “The Blind Star” tour kicked off in LA on Nov. 1 at the Belasco Theatre to a jam-packed crowd.

Both expectations and trepidation were high with this BewhY tour — could he pull it off? Not even Illionaire fills up venues, and AOMG had to bring out their entire artist roster to sell tickets. However, the rapper went big on his first American tour, showing US audiences in person exactly why he’s the hottest rap act in Korea. Here are some of the highlights.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

1. Club Turned Up On A Wednesday

Though a weird choice to start a tour on, BewhY kicked off “The Blind Star” tour on a Wednesday. Not to mention on a night when LA’s baseball team, the Dodgers, were playing a World Series game, which he later thanked fans for coming out despite. And while it took up until the few minutes before the rapper finally came on stage to fill up, The Belasco was, what it seemed like, up to full capacity by the time we heard the first bars from “Curtain Call.”

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

Regardless of the show being held on a weekday and amid the locally-affected World Series, the crowd sang along, cheered, and chanted for BewhY. Most notably, fans sang the chorus most ardently to “Forever,” and got rowdy with “9ucci Bank.”


Also on KultScene: Hyukoh brings a piece of Hongdae to New York City

2. Rapped Verses In Acapella

During “Red Carpet,” BewhY cut the music and put his index finger to his lips, instructing people to quiet down. He then proceeded to deliver one of the verses acapella, which showcased and highlighted his lyricism and the prowess with which he delivers it. For “Bichael Yackson,” BewhY also cut the beat and dropped some heavy bars.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

3. He Was Real

Unless rappers speak fluent English, it’s uncommon for them to take the time on their setlist to chat with the audience. But judging for the predominantly Korean audience in attendance, BewhY took the time to address a few topics in between songs.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

To prelude “Hewgeso,” BewhY got really deep with the audience. He recounted a story of how he got lost while going to a university show and drove around in circles, which allowed him to look back at what was happening in his life in that moment. The “Shalom” rapper shared that after winning Show Me The Money he was very materialistic and lost his way. He realized that driving in circles was the perfect analogy to what he was going through, which made it all click for him.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

On a more cheesy note, before delving into “My Star,” the rapper told the audience “You are my star.” Also, with his Christianity being a key theme in his music and overall self, BewhY started borderline preaching to the crowd about his religious beliefs.

4. Performed His Notable Songs Twice For The Encore

BewhY covered all the basics during the show, performing all the Show Me The Money favorites like “XamBaqJa” and “Who You?,” The Blind Star b-sides like “Temptation,” and other one-offs like “The Time Goes On” and “Namaste.” And given his discography isn’t as big as other Korean rappers who go on tour in the States, BewhY resorted to performing his hit songs again — and saving the most known for last.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

The rapper revisited “Bichael Yackson,” “Who You?,” and his collaboration song with C Jamm “puzzle.” He, of course, closed with “Day Day.”

5. “9ucci Bank” For The Encore Decked In The Music Video’s Gucci Ensemble

As aforementioned, the rapper performed some of the same songs he had already done for the encore. So after wrapping up the first and second portion of the show and an interlude with singer Justin Park, BewhY returned to the stage for the encore decked out in all Gucci gear — fanny pack across the chest included— to parody himself and every other Korean rapper at the moment who are always decked out on the luxury brand. For this performance, the rapper went into the crowd and engaged a lot more. He channeled the same vibe from the song’s music video, with an added tinge of comedy of the ridiculousness of it all.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim


Also on KultScene: Actor Spotlight: Park Seo Joon

6. He Is, Indeed, The Best Korean Rapper

With only a few years into his career, BewhY managed to hold an entire tour Stateside — an accomplishment that not even some of the biggest names in K-pop have reached. (And charging as if he were, mind you).

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

Being an independent Korean rapper, it’s unheard of that an act would be able to do this so early on into his career. This makes sense though when considering that BewhY really is all that.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

While being the best a term that’s thrown around a lot and is a sensitive topic to some when considering just how much Korean rap draws from American hip-hop as a genre and culture, “The Blind Star” stop in Los Angeles further cemented why BewhY is the best Korean lyricist and rapper. Not only did he carry out an entire show on his own, but he also rapped all the features on his songs, and dropped some freestyle on the spot, all while showing innate humbleness despite all the praise and success. He even asked the audience for a picture at the end to commemorate what was surely also a milestone in his career.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

What’s your favorite BewhY song? Do you agree that he’s the best Korean rapper in the game right now? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

NYC Goes ‘Wild’ Over K.A.R.D in Part 2 of Their First American Tour

It seems like it was not so long ago that K.A.R.D was only just wrapping up the final leg of their Wild K.A.R.D Tour – the group’s first fanmeet tour in America – and now they are already back with a part two. This time, the global quartet is scheduled to hit five major cities, including New York City where we were able to catch them at their show on September 20th at the Playstation Theater.

Between the expected start time of 8:00PM to when the lights finally dimmed half an hour later, fans eagerly awaited inside the venue to welcome the members who were (mostly) visiting the Big Apple for the first time. An introductory video was followed by momentary, awkward suspense that evoked laughter from audience members when the co-ed group was nowhere to be seen. When the group figured they had teased everyone long enough, however, their familiar silhouettes entered on stage from the side and stood, poised and ready for the English version of “Don’t Recall.” During this “hidden version” of the trop-house single, lead rapper BM proved that there was no such thing as too early to get excited on stage when he ardently went off in his raps. The same could also be said about the ladies of K.A.R.D, Jiwoo and Somin, who mastered the twerk on the subsequent dancehall track “Oh Nana” to much fanfare. Wild(in’) K.A.R.D Tour was right.

by Katherine Villalon

Before K.A.R.D could go on with the rest of their setlist, the official MC and translator for the tour Danny Lim took the time to go through a round of fan-submitted questions and answers with the members. BM professed how he would like to be Superman since the hero is married to Wonder Woman (we will give him that one even though they’re not) while another question prompted Jiwoo to admit how she would like to have main rapper J.Seph’s sense of dark humor.


Also on Kultscene: The ‘Wild K.A.R.D. Tour’ in São Paulo was as wild & hot as expected

But aside from simply acquiring pieces of edifying trivia, this segment also enabled the members to show fans a #relatable side to themselves that would have otherwise have been absent at a traditional concert. J.Seph expressed that dark humor that Jiwoo so admired in his self-deprecatory remarks about how the others excluded him from eating Halal Guys together the day before. Then the innovator BM saved a dying trend and taught the crowd how to “mini-dab.” Even the MC had to acknowledge how the intimate arrangement of the venue allowed for the meaningful interactions between the idols and fans. According to him, it was one that rivaled that of any other fanmeet that the group has done thus far on the tour, which surely pleased the New York crowd.

by Katherine Villalon

Once the Q&A was over, K.A.R.D took the stage yet again, this time to reveal a range of covers and unit stages. Of course, considering how the act was touring with only a mini album under their belt, this was expected. Starting from their rendition of Rihanna and Eminem’s “Monster,” where Somin’s impeccable vocals and Jiwoo’s swag really propelled the song, to Jay Z and Alicia Keys’s classic East Coast anthem “Empire State of Mind,” the group obviously selected songs that would best fit the kinds of vocal colors that a co-ed group demands. Another charm of being co-ed is that they also have more opportunities to play up performances, as was the case when J.Seph and BM tag-teamed for an original, hip-hop styled number “Right Now” or when Jiwoo and Somin united in Bruno Mars’s baby-making slow jam “Versace on the Floor.” And with their dub-stepped reimagination of “I Can’t Stop,” a song originally released by DSP Entertainment’s early 90’s co-ed group ZAM, and a rendering of Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side,” the group performed an impressive six songs back to back. With a much needed rest, the group gathered for the highlight of every fanmeet – game time.

by Katherine Villalon

Four preselected fans were called onto the stage to participate in a corner called “Roll Your Wish,” a giant dice game with a simple objective. For every number that these fans rolled, the genie-like members would grant the request corresponding to it. There was nothing competitive about it, and in fact if anyone had thought that this “game” was only implemented as an excuse to conjure finger-curling fanservice, they would not be wrong. One of the fans voiced how it was her birthday, and after everyone in attendance sang her “Happy Birthday,” her fave J.Seph had the final honor in serenading her with a heart-fluttering verse from Crush’s “Crush on You.” As for the others who all happened to roll the number they wanted (thanks to the MC’s divine intervention), they too were spoiled with prizes that included Polaroid photos, selfies, and personalized wake-up calls. The revelry eventually came to a close though, with a hilarious photo session that had Jiwoo play contortionist in a variety of high fashion model poses and BM bringing back his “mini-dab.”

As the fanmeet neared its inevitable end, K.A.R.D thanked fans for coming and made sure to give their final words of appreciation before moving on to the last couple of songs left. Jiwoo pointed out how her brother was also present that evening, cueing the spotlight to cast its beam on her family hanging out in the reserved seating. After, the foursome rounded out the show with the reggaeton-influenced “Rumor” and their official debut single “Hola Hola.” It’s amazing how the entirety of summer can be sonically reified in a few tropical house beats, and it was with these good vibes that the group decided to conclude their set with.


Also on Kultscene: K.A.R.D’s ‘Hola Hola’ song & music video review

At this point, the members trivially went through the motions of departing the stage only to be reinvited by the love calls of the fans chanting encore. No surprise there. K.A.R.D would return with the Korean version of “Don’t Recall” and their special “thanks to” track “Living Good,” especially since the two were the only remaining songs left on their debut extended play. Dressed in casual tees, the members appeared the most comfortable they had been that night, delivering organic performances even if it meant performing without an in-ear (cough, J.seph, cough). The atmosphere felt magnetic, percolating with a kind of unrestrained youthful energy that you would only find at a karaoke party on a Wednesday night in with friends.

by Katherine Villalon

Ultimately, the music did wind down, and the members had to bid farewell to the many earnest faces that they just spent the past hour and a half with. Although the setlist was not much different from the first part of the tour, the dynamic between the members and fans did more than make up for it. Not many rookie groups who had just made their debut can boast of an international tour and dedicated overseas fanbase, but K.A.R.D has just that. Hopefully in a few albums time the group will be able to come back with a full concert experience, blessing New York City once again with big stages and even bigger talents.

Did you go to or will you be going to WILD K.A.R.D 2017 The First Tour in America Pt.2? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Hyukoh brings a piece of Hongdae to New York City

hyukoh new york city nyc show concert korean indie k-indie k

by Dasom Han

Irving Plaza in New York City is no stranger to international acts gracing their stage. Just within the past two month, two different Korean acts were able to sell out the 1,000 capacity venue; not an easy feat even for accomplished domestic artists. This month, South Korean indie band Hyukoh played a sold out show at the New York venue on Sep. 11. Irving Plaza was packed, so much that people were spilling out of the doors and into the hallway due to the lack of space on the venue floor.

After a short wait, the band entered onto the stage and began to warm up their instruments to start the show. Drum beats were played and the familiar guitar chords from “Tokyo Inn” started to play. People instantly began bobbing along to the catchy woos of the song. “Comes and Goes” was up next, continuing on with the jazzy laid back feel of the previous song followed by the upbeat swing song “Leather Jacket.” Despite the venue being packed, people made due with what little room they had to dance along.


Also on KultScene: David Anthony on songwriting & succeeding in the K-pop market [interview]

For the first MC of the night, vocalist Oh Hyuk introduced the band and thanked everyone for coming to their first show in New York. The shy personality of the band’s front-man then came front and center as the rest of the talk consisted of short mumbles and awkward silence until the next song started up. The set continued with a few more upbeat songs one of them being “Wonderful Barn,” a song first heard on popular Korean variety show Infinity Challenge’s summer music festival special back in 2015. The country inspired song was full of dramatic pauses and tempo changes built up suspense and kept the audience engaged.

The show continued on as red lights flooded the stage and the band played the mysterious sounding “Wanli.” The intensity picked up with “MASITNONSOUL,” and then immediately died down with “Jesus Lives in a Motel Room” and “Die Alone.” The somber mood continued with “Mer” and “Gondry.” The quiet and simple notes of the songs emphasized Oh Hyuk’s unique vocals, showing off the softness, strength, and sincerity in his voice.

The next song was “TOMBOY,” the title track off of their latest album 23. The crowd got really into the sweet and sentimental rock ballad, singing along to the lyrics about overcoming young adulthood and belting out the ohs along with Oh Hyuk. After a few more songs, the band announced that the next track would be their last song and began to play “Paul.” As the song played, the audience raised their cellphone lights and slowly waved them back and forth, creating a sea of shimmering lights. The song ended on a quiet note and the audience erupted into cheers as the band left the stage.


Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 LA’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 1 Concert Recap

Cheers for an encore immediately began, and soon after, the band came back onto the stage and played “Hooka.” Next up was arguably the most popular song of the night was “Wi Ing Wi Ing.” No matter if you were a casual or dedicated fan, everyone knew this song and sang along passionately as Oh Hyuk turned his mic towards the audience so they could sing a verse. The last song of the night was the funky “Surf Boy,” which ended the concert on a light and happy note.

Hyukoh definitely brought a taste of Hongdae to New York with their unique sound and quirky charms. The band has an indie vibe but exudes more confidence and certainty in their sound and identity than most other bands. With this show, Hyukoh showed their versatility in the amount of different music genres their songs encompass all while still maintaining a sound that is uniquely their own. Hyukoh is definitely a band you should keep a close eye on to see what new and excite music they will come up with next.

Did you go to the show? What’s your favorite Hyukoh show? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KCON 2017 LA’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 1 Concert Recap

seventeen kcon la los angeles kpop k-pop

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Like every year since it started, KCON 2017 LA presented by Toyota outdid themselves with their biggest show yet. In previous years, the event has tried to diversify and stretch the concept of “K-pop,” bringing R&B singers, rappers, and even bands, but this time around it was strictly idols on the first concert night. Headlined by top and up-and-coming Hallyu acts SEVENTEEN, VIXX, Super Junior D&E, Girl’s Day, Cosmic Girls, and SF9, fans filled the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Aug. 19 almost to capacity, ecstatic to see their favorite idols perform.

vixx girls day girl's day minah kpop kcon los angeles la 2017

Courtesy of CJ E&M

KCON 2017 LA kicked off with an announcement on the Jumbotron telling the audience to light up their phones. Once the Staples turned into sea of bright lights, VIXX’s Leo came up from the platform along with a grand piano. Moments later, Girl’s Day’s Minah joined him for a very appropriate special stage of “City of Stars,” a song from the film La La Land. As the audience learned later, this year’s concept was “KCON Land.”

Chaos soon erupted when SEVENTEEN members Vernon, Joshua, and S. Coups appeared as the night’s MCs, with the first two leading the way in English, followed by the latter in Korean. They introduced the night’s first official performance, the rookie group SF9 who left a lasting impression at KCON 2017 NY just two months ago.

scoups s.coups s coups vernon joshua seventeen kcon los angeles la 2017 17 kpop

Courtesy of CJ E&M


Also on KultScene: The ‘Wild K.A.R.D. Tour’ in São Paulo was as wild & hot as expected

High-fiving the crowd, SF9 came out from one of the entrances into the arena, which lead into their first performance, “Fanfare.” Decked in green suits, the members danced their hearts out to their songs “Jungle Game” and “Easy Love,” which drew the most cheers out of their set.

sf9 kcon 2017 la los angeles kpop

Courtesy of CJ E&M

KCON is infamous for its underrepresentation of female acts, but this year, one can argue there was an effort to make up for this by bringing the largest K-pop girl group, the 13-member Cosmic Girls. With a full marching band, the group made a super extra entrance into the arena, waving their pom poms as if they were in a pep rally. This, of course, was the perfect introduction for them, as their first song was the cheerleader-esque “Happy.”

For their introductions, they threw their pom poms aside and were all smiles as they introduced themselves one by one. All of the members, led by Exy, talked to the crowd in English and said it was their first time in LA. But being one of the younger groups, Cosmic Girls’ set was brief, and said their goodbyes with “I Wish” and their twinkly gem “Secret.”

cosmic girls kcon 2017 los angeles la 17 wjsn

Courtesu of CJ E&M

When SEVENTEEN first announced their U.S. tour, many west coast fans felt cheated by the fact that their LA stop was KCON, and hence we would miss out the full show. And while this was inevitable, KCON made up for it a a bit by giving SEVENTEEN their own special stage segment, where their three official units were each able to perform a song. First up was the performance unit with “Swimming Fool,” then the vocalists with the ballad “Habit,” and finally the hip-hop unit with “Check-In.” Though brief, LA carats (SEVENTEEN’s fandom) got a taste of what the band’s solo show would be like, though on a lesser scale.

Next up was the girl group of the night, Girl’s Day. Being a group that doesn’t get to come as often to the States as their fans would want them to, the crowd erupted with their newer songs “I’ll Be Yours” and “Ring My Bell.” However, it was with “Something” what got the entire arena attempting to follow their iconic choreography, evoking the most emotion from the members.

los angeles kcon 2017 17 girls day girl's day

Courtesy of CJ E&M

KCON isn’t KCON without special stages, often giving the rookie groups a platform to highlight their skills through them. This year, SF9 and Cosmic Girls paid tribute to K-pop giants and faves Super Junior and BTS by dancing to their songs “Sorry, Sorry” and “Blood Sweat and Tears,” respectively. Since Donghae and Eunhyuk were there to perform as a unit, it would’ve been iconic if they had joined SF9, especially on the dance break of “Sorry Sorry,” but, alas, it did not happen. Those of us KultScene staffers who were in attendance humbly think it was a missed opportunity, but SF9 still killed their performance, and Cosmic Girls joined them towards the end to fill the stage with almost two dozen idols performing the iconic dance moves.

cosmic girls wjsn kcon los angeles 2017 17 la

Courtesy of CJ E&M

It did, however, make for a good segue (—we guess). Right after this homage, Donghae and Eunhyuk came up from the platform in the middle of the stage and delved right into “Growing Pains.” While not as popular as Super Junior’s songs, D&E performed their unit’s hits like “I Wanna Dance,” “Saturday Night,” and of course, “Oppa Oppa.” They definitely got everyone dancing to the iconic choreography and finished off their set like the kings they are.

super junior d&e dne donghae eunhyuk kcon 2017 los angeles la 17

Courtesy of CJ E&M

KCON sets are normally determined by seniority, but this year it seemed they rearranged the order to have the groups with the most hype perform last. And KCON regulars VIXX finally, finally, got a slot towards the end of the show instead of being the opening act. Though a brief set, the sextet brought the house down with highly theatrical performances of their songs “Shangri-La,” “Blackout,” and “Fantasy” — which in itself was an overall KCON highlight. VIXX single handedly brought sexy back and put on an amazing show. And like in KCON New York and Mexico, the con brought back the segment “piñata time,” where the VIXX members ended up posing cutely for pictures.

vixx kcon 2017 la los angeles kpop

Courtesy of CJ E&M

But KCON reached its peak with the highlight of the night: SEVENTEEN. The audience’s expectation was literally palpable, as the Jumbotron displayed a life line and every time it beated, the fans chanted the group’s name. By groups, they started appearing on different parts of the stage, making fans squeal. Just like BTS on last year’s KCON, SEVENTEEN was met by an overwhelming euphoric response. The entire Staples roared at the sight of the 12 members of SEVENTEEN as the started performing their newest single (Hoshi was hospitalized a day prior and didn’t attend KCON).


Also on KultScene: Inside KCON 2017 NY [photos]

Known for their intricate yet fun choreographies and always being in sync with one another, SEVENTEEN immediately delved into performing their latest song, the electropop “Don’t Want to Cry.” It’s one thing to see this choreo on your computer screen and another one entirely to witness it live; how they all moved in perfect unison, even when doing the floorwork.

Similarly to their opening special stage, instead of sticking to normal KCON programming and performing only singles, SEVENTEEN followed up with yet another b-side; the high energy dance track “Rock.” As mentioned before, KCON was their LA stop in their U.S. tour, so this set was more about catering to fans than to regular con-goers. And because of this, they too participated in “piñata time.” They went with “random play dance,” briefly dancing to “Uptown Funk” and their debut single “Mansae.” Then, the members shot out T-shirts from cannon guns into the audience, even shooting off some autographed ones. With that, they said goodbye to the fans and went right into their, and the night’s, closing performance, “Very Nice.”

seventeen kcon 2017 la los angeles 17 kpop

Courtesy of CJ E&M

This year, KCON 2017 LA was all about pleasing K-pop fans new and old by offering a diverse pool of idol acts. There was something for the older fans; something for the fanboys; and a lot for the younger fan girls. And it worked. There was not a dull moment throughout the night and it was impossible not to smile ear to ear as all the groups came out during the closing to say goodbye to fans. Most of them holding cameras, they waved at fans and filmed them just as fans were filming the idols.

The first concert night ended on a high, but only left us craving much, much more for the second and final KCON day.

Did you attend KCON 2017 LA? What was your favorite performance of the first concert? Let us know your thoughts on the comment section and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Sungha Jung mixes music with ‘MIXTAPE’ in Singapore

Official Picture from Sprout Entertainment

Held on July 22, popular guitarist and Youtuber Sungha Jung made his return to Singapore for the seventh year running, this time with his newest album, Mixtape. Unlike his usual previous ones, this was his first full album filled with his all-time favourite covers. Ranging from romantic tunes to classic pop, Sungha gave this diverse mix a unique spin, trying styles “which he had never tried before”.

Sungha opened the night at Kallang Theatre with “On Cloud Nine,” an upbeat and cheery song from his previous album, L’Atelier. The guitarist, clad in his trademark striped gray shirt and black pants, started strong right off the bat, displaying his outstanding guitar and percussion skills. He followed this by introducing himself and his latest album in fluent English, before proceeding to perform two of his favourite tracks from the album, “Close To You” by The Carpenters and “Sunny” by German vocal group Boney M. He maintained a chill and relaxed beat throughout “Close To You,” and as would be the trend for the rest of the night, he finished the song quietly and sweetly, allowing the sound of his guitar reverberate through the entire theatre.

“Sunny” was a track that Sungha said he had a lot of fun arranging, especially because the song was released about 20 years before Sungha was born. That fun was evident in his performance, with the fancy runs his fingers continuously made up and down the guitar fretboard. His effective use of short, anticipatory pauses throughout the song made it much more enjoyable to listen to and watch.

Slowing things down, Sungha performed Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven,” also from his latest album. He did so in a gentle and comforting way, not unlike the original, but his jazzy modifications were scattered throughout the song, varying the repetitive verses and choruses with his creative adlibs in both the high and low registers. He next performed an obvious fan favourite, judging by the explosive response he received from the Singaporean audience once he announced it. A Goblin medley consisting of the hit K-drama’s two most popular OSTs, “Stay With Me” (by Chanyeol & Punch) started off in a more cheeky fashion, but Sungha gradually toned it down as he made the smooth transition into “Beautiful” (by Crush). In particular, the complex chords and emotions of the ballad seemed even more fleshed out through his playing, especially as it intensified towards the end of the piece.


Also on Kultscene: Sungha Jung brought Singaporean Fans to ‘Cloud Nine’ with ‘L’Atelier’

While there was a bit of a tonal whiplash, Sungha returned quickly to his upbeat pieces with “Catching The Beat,” a rhythmic track from L’Atelier. While he had created the song using an acoustic guitar, he played it at the concert using a classical one, but this did not hinder his performance in any way as he once again showcased his fast fingerwork and remarkable sense of rhythm. As he ended off the first half of the concert, Sungha performed his arrangement of a, what he called, beautiful Singapore song that he had ran into. “Encounter,” by local singer Stefanie Sun, was a familiar song that the crowd responded heartily too, and his tender version of the piece, along with the way he skillfully managed his volume variation, truly melted the hearts of the audience.

Returning to the stage in a blue striped shirt, Sungha started the second half of the concert with “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, another track off his latest album. The lively performance was groovy and ended off with a bang, which was a great way to get back into the concert. He continued with Jesse Harris’ “Don’t Know Why,” which was another of his favourites from the album. It was one of the more serene pieces of the night, filled with unusual chords that somehow sounded natural when played by him. The outro of the song in particular, while it was repeated three times at the end, managed to sound different each time, thanks to the subtle changes made to the chord progressions he used.

Taking a short break from his string of covers, Sungha performed “L’Atelier,” the soothing title track from his previous album. As he explained the meaning of the word (French for studio) and his own workshop’s significance to him, he started playing the song, which had a wonderful waltz rhythm that is not usually seen in his other compositions. The performance was dreamy and mellow, and by its end, it felt like there was so much left unsaid, which was bittersweet yet slightly wistful. The liveliness returned with “Englishman In New York” by Sting. This piece felt like a direct contrast from the previous two songs, with its heavier nature and extremely catchy beat. The anticipatory and dramatic pause also made its comeback in this piece, and was used wisely right before the outro.


Also on Kultscene: 5 Tracks To Get You Ready for Sungha Jung’s L’Atelier Concert

The only piece of the night which was not a recent composition or arrangement of his, “The Milky Way” from his 2014 album Monologue, was a memorable performance because of the journey Sungha took the audience on. With his eyes closed as he played, he was truly absorbed in the piece, and his effortless technique allowed the audience to go an exploration with him. The piece conveyed a certain wide-eyed wonder and optimism that was both refreshing and moving, particularly when he started to move up to the higher registers. Sungha followed this with yet another fan favourite, especially for the “Singaporean crowd that loves K-dramas,” as he described them. He performed “Everytime” (by Chen and Punch) from Descendents of the Sun, which started out very gently. With a four-beat transition, the piece evolved into something which was much more rhythmic but still melodious, which created an infectious energy that made the piece so much more charming.

Official Picture from Sprout Entertainment

For his (not-so) last song of the night, Sungha performed “Seventh #9,” named after the chord type this piece heavily featured. Full of technicalities and almost discordant sounding chords, the performance was flashy and reminded the audience once again, that Sungha was a guitar genius. After a few album giveaways and playful final comments, Sungha performed a local song that was dear to the hearts of many Singaporeans as a timely encore. Once he started “Home,” written by Dick Lee, fans started to sing along to his playing, creating a heartwarming and comforting scene in the theater. Unlike the other pieces he had showcased throughout the concert, this final piece was simpler but the sincere way he played it made it all the more exuberant and beautiful. It was the perfect way to end the concert.

Once again, Sungha Jung delivered remarkably through MIXTAPE, and while there were minor tonal inconsistencies throughout, his repertoire was amazing and showcased his talents as a guitarist.

Did you attend Sungha Jung’s “MIXTAPE” concert? What did you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The ‘Wild K.A.R.D. Tour’ in São Paulo was as wild & hot as expected

k.a.r.d. kard wild kard brazil sao paulo tour

by Ana Clara Ribeiro

After going to the United States, Canada, and Mexico, K.A.R.D. headed to Brazil for the final leg of the Wild K.A.R.D. Tour, their first tour in America and also out of Korea. The group had successful fansigns in the Brazilian cities of Fortaleza, Salvador, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro before two concerts in the city of São Paulo. We went to the second and last concert on July 2 at Tropical Butantã, and it was everything you would expect from K.A.R.D., especially in Brazil.

The group has a big appeal to the country, to the point that it was necessary to schedule an extra concert, since the first one literally sold out in less than five minutes. For this reason, you would think the concert would be absolute madness. And you’re right. We’ve already said that K.A.R.D. distinguishes itself from other K-pop groups not only for their sound and for being a co-ed group, but also due to their mature and relaxed posture, which makes them very appealing to western audiences. And being in Brazil, a country whose musical styles the group draws a lot from, of course it would be taken to the highest level.

Brazilian fans go hard and they get even more excited when their love is returned. K.A.R.D. took notice of that and delivered an extremely entertaining concert, showing love through their appreciation of Brazilian music and culture, impersonating Brazilian memes, and even singing a full song in Portuguese.

They opened the concert with “Rumour,” their latest single, followed by the English version of “Don’t Recall.” And even though they performed two thirds of their songs within the first few minutes, the rest of the concert was never boring.

k.a.r.d. wild kard tour brazil sao paulo somin j.seph jseph

by Ana Clara Ribeiro


Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 NY’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 1 Concert Recap

The MC of the night was singer and YouTuber Iago Aleixo, who hilariously introduced K.A.R.D. to famous Brazilian dances such as “Ragatanga” (a 2002 hit from Brazilian girl group Rouge) and “Passinho do Romano” previously in a video, this last one containing the funny move called “Sarrada,” which B.M. would do spontaneously in the concert and later would be requested by the crowd to be repeated.

k.a.r.d. wild kard tour brazil sao paulo bm b.m. matthew

by Ana Clara Ribeiro

This wasn’t the only moment in which K.A.R.D. demonstrated their knowledge about Brazil and their special preparation for that concert. There were random moments, like when Aleixo called a fan named Viviane to join the stage for a game, and J.Seph played with her name saying the name of Viviane Araújo, a Brazilian actress. There were also moments of respect, like when the members were asked how they felt about being in São Paulo, and super adorable Jiwoo mentioned the 40th anniversary of the bilateral treatments between the city and Seoul. And of course, there was a musical cover moment, and that was one of the highest points of the night.

Cute as always, the members said that in order to make Brazil feel loved, they had to study and understand their culture. For this reason, they prepared a surprise: a special performance of “Sim Ou Não,” a song by Brazilian superstar Anitta featuring Colombian reggaeton star Maluma. As the song choice would obviously drive everyone crazy, the usual scream and wildness of Brazilian crowds were stronger due to Jiwoo and Somin’s perfect Portuguese pronunciation and the extra sexy choreography performed by the group — which was probably their boldest ever, with its highlight being Somin going down, twerking, and doing a split during an interaction with B.M. that shocked pretty much the entire audience. But that’s what’s special about K.A.R.D.: they do sex appeal so naturally that it never seems that they are trying too hard or being vulgar.

k.a.r.d. wild kard tour brazil sao paulo b.m. matthew bm

by Ana Clara Ribeiro

Other highlights of the night were the games played by the members with fans, the cover of Eminem feat. Rihanna’s “The Monster” (revealing Jiwoo as an awesome rapper too), and the special units. In a softer moment, Somin and Jiwoo performed Bruno Mars’ “Versace On The Floor,” showcasing their great vocal range, which was followed by J.Seph and B.M. showcasing their rap skills, performing “Right Now.”

k.a.r.d. wild kard tour brazil sao paulo somin

by Ana Clara Ribeiro


Also on KultScene: Inside KCON 2017 NY [photos]

The last song was “Oh NaNa,” but they came back to perform “Don’t Recall” in Korean for the encore, leaving the stage under cries for more. B.M. and Somin, very kind (and very hot), presented some lucky fans with their shirts, taking them off and throwing at the crowd, leaving everyone crazy. Overall, the name of the tour was perfect and was even more appropriate when held in Brazil, for it was wild from start to finish.

k.a.r.d. wild kard tour brazil sao paulo j.seph fans

by Ana Clara Ribeiro

But it wasn’t all about the party. The greatest thing about all of this is that K.A.R.D. and DSP Media showed that they take their foreign fan base very seriously (if the very fact that they’ve toured in America and will tour in Europe after their debut doesn’t say enough). We could tell it by seeing the group’s effort to sing in Portuguese (which is not an easy language at all, and is even harder when compared to Korean), to immerse in Brazilian culture and to interact with fans (specially B.M., who teased the crowd all the time, smiling, waving, and doing funny moves).

This was the last K.A.R.D. concert before their debut, marked for July 19, and overall, it was everything you would expect from an act like K.A.R.D. in a place like Brazil: warm, fun, cheeky, and full of love and energy.

Are you excited for K.A.R.D.’s debut? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KCON 2017 NY’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 2 Concert Recap

twice kcon new york 2017 ny nyc 17 concert tt pics pictures pic picture

Curtesy of CJ E&M

The annual pilgrimage to the Prudential Center in New York’s metropolitan area continued for East Coast K-pop fans last weekend when KCON 2017 NY presented by Toyota came back for another two nights of unforgettable M! Countdown concerts. For those who missed out on the polished choreographies, dazzling visuals, and the A1 fan service from the night prior, Day 2 (June 24th) definitely was slated to make up for it. The turnout to catch a few glimpses of UP10TION, NCT 127, Twice, and CNBLUE visibly exceeded the numbers from the first evening, despite being short an act. Before the show even hit the road, it seemed like concertgoers were due for something exceptional.

The pre-show officially launched with the entrance of the man who needed no introduction, violinist and YouTuber Jun Curry Ahn. Ahn, who has been a mainstay to the east coast leg of KCON USA since its inauguration back in 2015, delivered a heartrending stringed performance of Crush’s “Beautiful” of Korean tvN drama Goblin fame, before moving onto the equally poignant “Spring Day” by BTS. The balladry did not last for long, however, as Seoul-based dance crew 1Million Dance took to center stage immediately after, popping, locking, and getting intimate to Jay Park, BoA, and many more of Korea’s chart-toppers. The chemistry and coordination between the team members – who were also tastefully dressed in matching reds, whites, and blacks – had already commenced the night on such a high note.


Also on Kultscene: KCON 2017 NY’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 1 Concert Recap

Ahead of their appearance as CNBLUE, lead vocalist Jung Yonghwa and bassist Lee Jungshin came out to introduce the main event, the first set of which was a sudden special homage from Twice to their company figurehead/producer Park Jinyoung (better known as JYP). Twice is just the latest out of a chain of popular girl groups created by Park, and the lone ladies of the night paid tribute to senior group miss A’s “Bad Girl, Good Girl” and clapped along to the point choreography of the legendary “Nobody” from Wonder Girls to a standing audience. It is inevitable that someday they too will be indicted in JYP’s femme fatale hall of fame. Rounding out the medley, they even threw it all the way back to JY Park’s 1988 funk hit “Honey” for the millennial crowd. I would like to think that somewhere out there Papa Park was breaking out into the signature eye-vanishing grin of his at the sight of his girls doing his song justice.

up10tion kcon new york 2017 ny nyc 17 concert pics pictures pic picture

Curtesy of CJ E&M

Up next were the nine boys of UP10TION (member Wooshin is currently on hiatus due to mental health concerns), who seized the moment and delighted the public with the yet-to-be-released trop house “Runner” for the first time. As much as it was an honor to be privy to such an exclusive opportunity, it must have been an even greater one for the group to perform for the first time in America. After the usual rounds of introductions, they defaulted on their debut single “So Dangerous” and took advantage of the extended stage during “Attention” in order to finally meet their American fans. And although it would not be the last that concertgoers would be seeing them, the members seemed disappointed that their selective set list was coming to a close with their most recent single “White Night.” All the while, they were unable to hide their enthusiasm at being able to perform at the A-list event in front of thousands, waving to the audience whenever available.

Turning the typical, seniority-based KCON structure on its head were the guys of NCT 127, who followed UP10TION’s set in spite of the additional year of experience that the latter had on the former. A crazed Taeyong set the stage in a dramatic dance routine to a chant-like soundtrack while the other members filed in from the sides of the stage shortly before joining their leader. Their lofty entrance transitioned smoothly into the sounds of sirens accompanied by the three words that every individual love to hear, a “Get It Lifted” in baritone. “Firetruck” was about as atonal live as it is in its studio version, and the fans absolutely loved it. Amidst all the whoops and distortions, it is the kind of sonorous mishmash that can grow on a listener after much desensitization, which is certainly the case in today’s experimental soundscape.

nct127 nct 127 kcon new york 2017 ny nyc 17 concert pics pictures pic picture

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Members Johnny and Doyoung, who had scurried off backstage at the start of the trap influenced hip-hop number, reunited once more to greet fans for the first time since taking the spotlight and to help out with the rest of the setlist, which included the B-sides “Good Thing” and “0 Mile,” which are typically are rare at KCON. They also managed to work in “Limitless,” a single that is august on its own but is shadowed by their more music-forward tracks, before a love song mission and before Johnny took the mic to initiate a warm call-and-response, “When I say cherry, you say bomb,” as segue into said music-forward track.

Yes, fresh off the press was “Cherry Bomb,” a rather drawn out title that tries to be multiple songs at once in the most harmless way possible. Albeit “Cherry Bomb” has less of an obvious format than its close cousin, “Firetruck,” it edges the latter out by successfully doing the unconventional with its addictive, staccato hook, backed with bold claims (“I’m the biggest hit on this stage”). The leg-splitting choreography would be the highlight, but the members’ smoldering gazes which never once broke character simply cannot be overlooked, either, especially Yuta’s intense glower. Where are the boys next door who were just serenading a fan with B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You” five minutes ago now?

In accords with the musical themed special stages from Day 1, the second day had its share of witty K-pop meets Broadway encounters as well. UP10TION returned to perform their rendition of the Mamma Mia version of ABBA’s “Honey Honey ” which has to be a pun on their fandom name, Honey10. Their routine was something out of a theater show, completed with feet clicking, straw hats, and line dances, while their vocals were pristine as always. Unlike their usual no-nonsense choreographies, this was certainly a more refreshing departure, and the bounce in their step seemed to agree.

twice kcon new york 2017 ny nyc 17 concert tt pics pictures pic picture

Courtesy of CJ E&M

But back to the regularly scheduled program. With only the headliners and Twice left, fans already started to abandon their seats for standing in anticipation of the nation’s little daughters. A screen displaying images of star clusters and other heavenly bodies gave way to the nine women adorned in white, and foreshadowed the forthcoming song, their latest single featuring an alien-inspired concept, “Signal.” They then did ”Cheer Up” and “TT” back to back. Twice’s legacy lies in their iconic, simple-to-follow point choreographies, and whether it is their adorable “Sha Sha Sha” of the former song or the pouty “I’m like TT” from the latter, pretty much everyone that evening were following along. The only gripe with their set was that it would have been more memorable had they saved their most lauded songs for the finale. Instead, the girl group opted for “Knock Knock,” a blithe masterpiece that deserves better than falling flat next to the record-breaking “TT” and “Cheer Up.” Overall, the performances from the adored girl group adhered closely to the books, notwithstanding the tremendous outpour of love they were receiving from supporters in the stands and pit.

If I’m honest, when KCON first unveiled CNBLUE as headliner, it felt like they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel. The band is not as popular as they once were, so the worry that they would not have a strong presence was always there. With something to prove, however, these seasoned artists absolutely blew these misconceptions out the window; the guys did not come to play.


Also on Kultscene: Inside KCON 2017 NY [photos]

Usually when groups perform their schtick to the T without sounding breathy, there’s a likely chance that they are not singing live, and admittedly this applies to some of the acts from both KCON nights. Not for CNBLUE, though. Frontman Yonghwa practiced proper vocal techniques as his voice reverberated and resonated throughout the whole of the arena during “Between Us.” Years of experience not only taught him how to have fun with a performance, but also imparted onto him a charismatic, sexy confidence (and body) that had audiences wrapped around his finger. Most of this could also do with the fact that the band does not observe traditional choreographies, allowing for the main vocalist much freedom to do the most on stage. Indeed, though they were only into their second song – “Cinderella” – on their setlist, Yonghwa decided to ditch the band on the main stage in order to host his solo concert on the extended stage, replete with mic tricks, piping notes in line with their rock band image, and fan service out for blood. Even when introducing subsequent songs, he failed to do it without assuming full playboy mode, for example, pointing out individuals and calling them “fine” as a pivot into “You’re So Fine.”

yonghwa cnblue cn blue kcon new york 2017 ny nyc 17 concert pics pictures pic picture

Curtesy of CJ E&M

As the conclusion drew near, the ever multi-talented Yonghwa then retreated to the main stage to boast his sharp piano skills during “Can’t Stop,” where he continued to deliver impressive notes, neck veins and all. I must really commend him for being able to carry most of the vocals for the team, an undertaking customarily divvied up among the members of a K-pop group, and still be able to beam as wide as he did. Before bringing it down some notches with the mellow “Love Light” and signing out, he promised to come back soon. And if the merry atmosphere that still lingered in the air post-CNBLUE or the ovations given to the occasional shots of the drummer-by-day-pretty-boy-by-always Minhyuk were any indications of their high demand, hopefully he is right.

nct127 nct 127 kcon new york 2017 ny nyc 17 concert pics pictures pic picture twice

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Before convention attendees and concertgoers knew it, it was time to bid farewell to yet another installment of KCON NY. This year’s M!Countdown stages provided numerous underrated acts with a chance to shine, while always exceeding expectations and managing to outdo the ones from previous years. The mothership of all things Hallyu will continue in August when KCON returns to LA on the West Coast for their homecoming, and we already cannot wait.

Did you attend KCON 17 NY? What’s your favorite KCON artist? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Inside KCON 2017 NY [photos]

kcon new york 2017 17 ny kcon17ny kcon2017ny

by Katherine Villalon

With every passing year KCON 2017 NY presented by Toyota outdoes itself, and this time around was no different. This year was the first where the convention was paid, and while lots of fans expressed their annoyance before the event, once June 23 and 24 rolled out, it all made sense. Held once again outside of Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center, the con of this year’s KCON NY was larger in size, expositors, and talent than previous years.

In previous installments, a common complaint was that there wasn’t much to do at the convention if you didn’t have fan engagements with the artists to go to. That changed this year. Panels were more varied topically, a gaming competition was held, sponsors and exhibitors conducted lots of fun giveaway contests, more artists performed on the outdoor stage, and lots of popular YouTubers roamed the grounds taking pictures with subscribers and fans.

And in anticipation of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games, KCON brought lifesize versions of Soohorang, the white tiger mascot of the main Games, and Bandabi, the Asiatic Black Bear representative of the PyeongChang Paraolympics, for conventions goers to interact with throughout the two-day event.

kcon new york 2017 17 ny kcon17ny kcon2017ny

by Katherine Villalon

2017 was, indeed, the year of “more” at KCON NY. Always trailing behind the Los Angeles installment, KCON 2017 NY this year proved that it means business and that it’s only growing.


Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 NY’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 1 Concert Recap

Convention

Bigger and better than ever, the convention portion of KCON 2017 NY was spread out. Which was nice on the second, breezier day, but Friday’s humidity was kind of a killer. That’s why the E-Sports Amazon tent made a lot of people happy with its air conditioning, giving people walking from one section of the con to another a break for a few minutes. There were a lot of vendors and fan-run booths, including our friends from ECKO with a mini K-pop art exhibit, but there were, sadly, less beauty booths than the previous year. There were still plenty of goodies, especially from Innisfree, which gave out free masks to people walking around with a unique voucher system.

kcon new york 2017 17 ny kcon17ny kcon2017ny

by Katherine Villalon

If convention goers began to feel famished, there was plenty of food to go around. The Let’s Enjoy K-Foo Event Zone gave out free samples of snacks and drinks as well as held games and dances to win even more yummy treats. And if you were looking for something a bit more instantaneous and fulfilling, there were also many food vendors selling both the usual festival food alongside Korean food and refreshing drinks.

kcon new york 2017 17 ny kcon17ny kcon2017ny

by Katherine Villalon

The convention stage set outside of the Prudential Center allowed convention goers and even attendees without convention passes to watch various acts throughout the day. Popular musical performers like JunCurryAhn and David Kim took the stage and made the audience swoon over their incredible cover songs, while dance troops 1MILLION and Canada based East2West pumped up the audience with their high-intensity dance routines. Recently disbanded Cocoa Avenue also held their last performance, and while it was rocky, the fans responded by singing along to their cover of Beenzino’s “Boogie On and On” and other original tracks.

kcon new york 2017 17 ny kcon17ny kcon2017ny cocoa avenue ave

by Katherine Villalon

Panels & Workshops

Like last year, there was a variety of different panels that spanned from topics including fashion, dramas, and, of course, music. Fans were able to hear from figures that are prominent in their respective industries as well as other fans who are just as passionate about the topic they were speaking about. Talented writing and producing duo LDN Noise (who are responsible for hits like Shinwha’s “Sniper,” Red Velvet’s “Dumb Dumb,” and NCT 127’s “Fire Truck”) gave fan the inside look on how to produce a hit K-pop song and even broke down EXO’s song “Monster” into all of its underlying sounds and beats to see what the song was composed of.

kcon new york 2017 17 ny kcon17ny kcon2017ny

by Katherine Villalon

Kultscene’s very own Tamar Herman also participated in the “What Type of K-Pop Fan are You” to talk about the different types of fans there are along with popular YouTubers. And speaking of YouTubers, this year, KCON brought out more vloggers than ever before, including those residing in Korea like Edward Avila, Joan Kim, and Whitney Bae. There were also KCON regulars like JRE and Courtney and Jasmine from 2minjinkjongkey.

1million crew lia kim dance crew kcon new york 2017 17 ny kcon17ny kcon2017ny

by Katherine Villalon

The workshops this year hosted the usual beauty gurus and how-to cooking lessons but to change things up a bit they added a Paint Nite: KCON Style where people can bring out their inner Da Vinci was added. One of the more popular workshops was the Dance Workshop Stage. There, different choreographers gave step by step lessons to a variety of dance styles and choreographies. Also, popular dance studio 1MILLION held an intense dance battle against main choreographer Lia Kim, where the winner got a chance to dance with her.


Also on KultScene: Inside KCON 2017 Mexico [photos]

Red Carpet

To close out the convention portion of the event, the red carpet is the transition into the show for a few lucky fans who won the scratch off vouchers. This year, every act walked the carpet to greet fans, hold a quick Q&A, and talk about their outfit choices. Or at least that of their stylists.

KNK kcon ny new york 17 2017 kpop k-pop boy band group

by Katherine Villalon

On the first day, the first to walk the red carpet was rookie group KNK, decked in white suits that accentuated their chic features and height. To poke fun at the situation, the guys struck some exaggerated poses for photographers and fans. They said they really wanted to come to KCON 2017 NY and that this was their first time in the city. (Despite being in Newark).

zion t kcon new york 2017 17 ny kpop r&b korean k-pop

by Katherine Villalon

Next up was R&B crooner Zion.T, whose red carpet stint was swift but memorable, and the fans went nuts cheering for him, making him break his composed demeanor and crack some smiles.

gfriend kcon ny 17 2017 new york kpop k-pop korean

by Katherine Villalon

The only girl group of the night, GFriend, walked next, wearing all black ensembles. Despite missing member Yerin, the rest of the girls were all smiles while at the red carpet.

sf9 kcon new york 2017 17 ny kpop k-pop

by Katherine Villalon

While it was SF9’s first time at KCON, the members expressed their nervousness yet excitement to be there. Donning school uniforms à la Produce 101 Season 2 with lime green lining, one of the members said: “It’s been five years since I graduated from high school, but it still feels good,” inciting giggles from the audience.

highlight beast b2st kcon new york 2017 17 ny kpop k-pop

by Katherine Villalon

The clear highlight of the red carpet was, of course, Highlight, who bickered on the red carpet over who was the most fashionable. At the end, however, they unanimously picked Junhyung, who was wearing a striped blazer and choker. All five members, however, sported shiny, dapper outfits that showcased their personalities.

kevin woo ukiss u-kiss u kiss kcon new york 2017 17 ny kpop k-pop

by Katherine Villalon

The next day, the MC for the red carpet was none other than U-KISS’ former member Kevin Woo. He did a fantastic job filling in the downtime before the event and in between artists, something that’s always awkward for the MCs, but Kevin knew how to work the crowd well. He also shared that he’s working on a comeback and hopes to come back to the States as a soloist. Being an idol himself, the audience shouted for him to twerk and even pressured him into singing and dancing “Signal,” after he declared himself a Twice fan boy and a Momo stan. “They’re all cute and adorable,” he clarified.

twice kcon new york 2017 17 ny kpop k-pop

by Katherine Villalon

This, and starting a fan chant, was the perfect transition to the first group, Twice. Known for their typical athleisure outfits, the girls wore ladylike outfits accessorized with shiny earrings. Asked the same fashion questions as the day before, Jihyo said all the members were fashionistas because everyone had different styles.

up10tion uptention kcon new york 2017 17 ny kpop k-pop nyc

by Katherine Villalon

After Twice, the mood changed a bit in the audience since most fanboys dipped once the group left. Now, it was up to the fan girls, who screamed their lungs out once UP10TION emerged. The nine members came out wearing colorful yet casual outfits, all different from one another but cohesive. The guys were excited to see their fans and even asked the crowd to watch their music videos a lot before going backstage.

nct127 nct 127 kcon new york 2017 17 ny nyc kpop k-pop

by Katherine Villalon

But no screams were louder than when rookie group NCT 127 came out. It was so loud that you couldn’t hear what the members or Kevin said. Other than their bright red outfits, the guys sported poker faces throughout the entire event and weren’t as lively as other groups.

cnblue cn blue kcon new york 2017 17 ny nyc kpop k-pop

by Katherine Villalon

To end the red carpet portion of KCON 2017 NY, day two’s headliners CNBLUE shut the whole thing down with their charisma and style. In their case, bassist Jungshin was selected as the group’s fashionista, though said they were all fashionable. Jonghwa, being the resident English speaker, told fans they were all gorgeous with a huge smile, which melted more than a couple of hearts in the audience.

Check out the rest of the pictures from the red carpet and the convention:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Did you attend KCON 2017 NY? What was your favorite thing about it? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Alexis Hodoyan-Gastelum, Tamar Herman, and Katherine Villalon contributed to the writing of this article.