Inside KCON 2018 NY [photos]

kcon 2018 ny new york ny convention kcon18ny

by Katherine Villalon

Now on its fourth year, KCON 2018 NY presented by Toyota continued the tradition of bringing Korean music and entertainment to the New York tri-state area. Under the threat of thunderstorms and scorching heat, the two day festival was held on the grounds of The Prudential Center in New Jersey. Like last year, the paid convention was split and fenced off so that a special wristband must be purchased in order to enter; but this year all of the sponsor tents, workshops, panels, and even the outdoor stage was located within the paid boundaries.

Convention

Every year, KCON would not be possible without the tremendous support of their sponsorships. For KCON 18 NY, Verizon and McDonald’s once again made a comeback and gave away last minute tickets for the evenings’ M!Countdown concerts through raffles and photo contests. Another KCON regular was Bibigo, the Korean food brand created by CJ Foods. Just outside the convention stage, their tent greeted KCONers with the scent of their (free!) signature dumplings, and invited attendees to spin a prize wheel to win Bibigo-embossed pens and character stickers. The other food-themed booth, Melona, employed similar tactics, with their prize wheel featuring their popular ice pops as a refreshing way to cool off from the summer heat. And for those who were feeling hopeful, one lucky individual could have also left with a pair of limited edition Melona sneakers, the grand prize for their first day’s raffle. But with only a few vendors and sponsor booths available, people flocked to the panels, workshops, and outdoor stage to pass the time.

kcon 2018 ny new york ny stray kids kcon18ny

by Katherine Villalon


Also on Kultscene: KCON 2018 NY’S M! COUNTDOWN’ DAY 1 CONCERT RECAP

This year, the outdoor convention stage not only hosted a variety of acts but it was also where the Star LIVE Talks were being held. The live talks were basically short interviews with some of the artists that were performing that day and were certainly the highlight of the event that were being held. For the first day Super Junior, Pentagon, Heize, and Stray Kids took the stage. Super Junior talked about their new single “Lo Siento” and how it is to work as entertainer-idols. After answering a series of questions and showing off for a bit, Donghae jumped down to the audience to give out high-fives before leaving with the other members. A bit shy and soft-spoken, Pentagon spoke about producing their own music, and Heize played Jenga while answering questions about herself. Rookie group Stray Kids were elated to be out and about as they introduced themselves and shared their feelings about debuting.

kcon 2018 ny new york ny exid kcon18ny

by Katherine Villalon

On the second day, girl groups EXID and fromis_9 as well as Golden Child took the stage for their interviews. EXID did their best to respond to all of their questions in simple English to the delight of the fans. Golden Child showed off some moves as well as answered questions about themselves; they also hinted at a possible collaboration with label mates Infinite. The cute girls of fromis_9 were all smiles as they talked about their aspirations and answered their batch of questions.

kcon 2018 ny new york ny pentagon kcon18ny

by Katherine Villalon

After all of the Star LIVE Talks were over, other performers came out to entertain the convention goers as the day went on. Rapper Heesun Lee of Show Me the Money fame and hip-hop artist Uzuhan turned up the energy with their hard-hitting stages. Alexandra Reid (former member of K-Pop group Rania) also took the stage to perform, and was even joined onstage by former Unpretty Rapstar contestant Grace for a freestyle on “Gretchen Weiners.” There were traditional dance performances and taekwondo routines, as well as a cover dance contest where the winners got to perform during the pre-show to the concert.

Panels & Workshops

The K-Activity section of the convention was where they held all of the panels and workshops. Panels this year were made up of music industry in site from popular producers and label bands, the latest fashion and beauty trends straight from South Korea, and discussions on different communities within the K-pop fandom. There were also a number of meet and greets for popular composers eSNa and YouTubers TerryTV and Eddy, which had fans lining up even after the allotted times.

kcon 2018 ny new york ny convention kcon18ny

by Katherine Villalon

The creative workshops had convention goers making cute bags and patches and yummy treats. But the most popular by far was the dance workshop. Crowds of people gathered to learn the different dances of the artists who were performing at this year’s KCON.

A new feature to the activity section was the Fan Club Meeting tent. This was where fan clubs of a group could meet and chat about their beloved group while playing games and possibly winning some swag.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Also on Kultscene: KCON 2018 NY’S ‘M! COUNTDOWN’ DAY 2 CONCERT RECAP

Red Carpet

Like every year, the M!Countdown show was preceded by a red carpet event, where lucky KCON-goers with the vouchers get to see all the night’s performers right before the show looking their best. Each night saw all of the stars, plus a bonus or two, come out and show off their fashionable looks and have some fun.

NCT 2017 KCON 2018 NY

By Jean Libert

 

Check out our pics from the event:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Did you attend KCON 2018 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.

Shelley Foo and Katherine Villalon contributed to this article.

KCON 2018 NY’S ‘M! Countdown’ day 2 concert recap

Courtesy of CJ E&M

What’s better than a night of M! Countdown performances from some of K-pop’s hottest names? Two nights, of course! And thanks to KCON 2018 NY presented by Toyota, such a bipartite event is made possible once more at the Prudential Center in New York’s metropolitan area. Fans attending the second and final day on June 24th were looking at up-and-coming acts like Golden Child, fromis_9, Wanna One, and NCT 127. Meanwhile, the seniors of EXID finalized the lineup with their seasoned career that is still going strong. With expectations on the rise from the day prior, Day 2 seemed like it had something to prove.

Bursting onto the scene headfirst was Golden Child, who delivered a charismatic dance intro as the foil to their peppy pop track, “It’s U.” The incursion of the song’s redundant lyrics still lives on even long after the group’s gung-ho performance, leading us to believe that producer Sweetune knows more than a simple thing or two when it comes to producing the perfect chorus. A bit unfortunate Golcha did not promote their other Sweetune-produced “Lady” off of the same EP as well, instead favoring its B-sides “All Day” and “Crush” in order to show a more varied stage.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

The real highlight came when KCON had the group defend their “Next Almighty Boy Band” title as part of a segment that rolled over from the previous day. Apparently, this meant channeling their inner Childish Gambino as the boys imitated his moves from his recent “This is America” music video. But the Hot 100 hits don’t stop there. Member Joochan also busted out into a rendition of Camila Cabello’s “Havana” while Jangjun demonstrated an aegyo version of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” Although still rookies in the K-pop game, Golden Child receives full marks from us in the entertainment department.

Wanna One’s resident English speaker Daehwi then joined fellow member Minhyun to preface KCON’s customary special stages. Centered on the theme “darkness,” this year’s featured members from EXID (LE) and NCT 127 (Mark, Jaehyun, and Taeyong) on separate stages in an unofficial battle of the best rapper. Bad girl LE, draped in Chanel, a bath of red lights, and a matching paisley-printed two-piece, took to the mic first with her savage solo entitled “Velvet.” The boys of NCT 127, for their part, followed up with a Taeil-removed version of “Whiplash,” a titillating hip-hop number that especially spotlights rap line. Though they were both very different takes on the same concept, the two acts gave new meanings to the term “idol rapper.”


Also on Kultscene: KCON 2018 NY’S M! COUNTDOWN’ DAY 1 CONCERT RECAP

Usually KCON organizes the lineup order based on seniority. When it comes to their in-house groups, however, exceptions can be made. This was the case with fromis_9, who made their debut earlier this year through the Mnet reality show, Idol School. A much welcome gust of energy, color, and charms after a macabre special performance, they graced the stage with the only two-week old “DKDK.” The “vitalizing girls” further went on to honor the girl groups that paved the way for them by incorporating a random dance portion into their set, including iconic tunes from Wonder Girls (“Tell Me”), Red Velvet (“Red Flavor”), and Girls’ Generation (“Gee”) in the mix. Perhaps one day fromis_9 will join the likes of these seniors, but for the time being, their early beginnings dancing along to twinkling music in Mary Janes and knee-high stockings is enough for their fans. That’s the image they created for themselves, and the note they went out on as they wrapped up with “22nd Century Girl” and their debut title, “To Heart.”

Courtesy of CJ E&M

KCON 18 NY must have felt generous once again since concertgoers at Day Two enjoyed not one, but two female acts like the night prior. Descending from the sidelines, EXID made a grand entrance to a stage of roller skaters precariously mimicking the intro choreography. With moves straight from “Lady,” it made sense that the veterans of the evening would segue into the retro, ‘90s-inspired single. Once they struck their final poses for the cameras, the ladies that needed no introduction gave one anyways out of formality. During this interlude, member Hani praised LE for her “Velvet” stage, whilst Hyerin cued audience the upcoming song, “DDD,” before delving into “Night Rather Than Day.” And with one still left to go, it was obvious how they would go out on. Still, the group (rhetorically) asked everyone for what the last song they would like to hear, to which everyone unanimously responded “Up & Down.” Indeed, there really was no better way to do this than to have hundreds of attendees on their feet, hip-thrusting along to the brassy, career-breakthrough hit.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

On the topic of popular songs, fromis_9’s Jiwon and Golden Child’s Joochan united together in front of a backdrop of pink balloons for another and final special stage, a “love”-ly remake of the 2005 Humming Urban Stereo top ten hit, “Hawaiian Couple.” The duet remained faithful to the original version, preserving its lulling male and sweet female tag team vocals beloved by 2000s K-electropop. Maybe it’s the nostalgia talking, but in hindsight, the cover was definitely among one of the highest points of the night for us.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Sadly, the love spell did not last long. Returning back to KCON after exactly a year since their stateside debut was NCT 127, who, based on the overwhelming ovation from the crowd dotted in neon green lightsticks, was one repeat act no one seemed to mind. The guys transported everyone to N-City when — similar to KCON 17 NY — a spry Taeyong opened with a dance routine starring brisk moves and seizure-inducing graphics from the screen behind. One tripled to three tripled to nine as the members filed in to finalize the troupe. Also very much alike to last year’s show was their setlist, which, save for their latest, “Touch,” had them going through “Firetruck” after “0 Mile” after “Limitless” after “Cherry Bomb.” Nonetheless, Yuta’s intense glares affected us all the same during “Cherry Bomb” and they still were the “biggest hits” that we remembered them as.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Conflated by their dynamic stage presence, relative seniority, and extensive international fanbase, NCT 127 certainly could have passed for headliners. Too bad that role went to Wanna One, though. After all, this was supposed to be the New York stop on their summer U.S One: The World tour after organizers cheated the city of one. The project group, in their own right, at least made an effort to treat KCON as if it was their concert by squeezing in samplings of the world tour’s unit stages, which consisted of four songs produced by salient Korean artists Nell, Dynamic Duo, Heize, and Zico. At the confluence of hip-hop, contemporary R&B, and ballad rock, the genre-bending medley at once played up each of the member’s strengths and demonstrated their can-do mindsets. We mean, there’s a reason why the members ranked top 11 on the second season of the survival show, Produce 101.


Also on Kultscene: THE TWICE CINEMATIC UNIVERSE

But if the references to the identity properties of arithmetic within their album titles is not intimation enough, it’s that Wanna One prides itself in its unity and operates best as a single unit. Their teamwork spoke for itself when they successfully completed KCON’s special Q&A relay mission in under 101 seconds, and more so in their synchronized choreographies. Fans were privileged to witness the latter before their impending disbandment as they bowed out with “Light,” “Beautiful,” and the single that started it all for them, “Energetic.”

Courtesy of CJ E&M

This is how the second day of KCON 18 NY comes to its ultimate end. But just because it stops here for the East Coast does not mean it has to for you. KCON will continue in LA’s Staple Center on August 10th-12th, and if you are anything like us, we are already there.

Did you attend KCON 18 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.

KCON 2018 NY’S M! COUNTDOWN’ DAY 1 CONCERT RECAP

 

Courtesy of CJ E&M

The annual flagship event for Hallyu fans and industry professionals alike, KCON 2018 NY presented by Toyota once again returned to the Prudential Center in New York’s metropolitan area this past weekend (June 23rd and 24th) to host another two days of M! Countdown performances. This year, the first night’s lineup featured entirely new faces, keeping it fresh with leading and promising acts such as Heize, Pentagon, Red Velvet, Stray Kids, and Super Junior. With a roster this high in brand value, this was a show that absolutely could not be missed.

It seems the same could also be said about the pre-show, which kicked off with a double-threat opening set from YouTuber and KCON mainstay, Jun Curry Ahn. Bow in tow, the classically-trained musician took to the stage with a shrill homage to Red Velvet’s “Bad Boy” on his violin only minutes before breaking into an original dance and song, “When I Call.” Singer-songwriter eSNa, who had her career breakthrough with Soyou and Junggigo’s “Some,” followed up strong as well with her powerhouse vocals on “Ahh Shit!,” a response song to her haters and a remake of her Mamamoo collaboration single, “Ahh Oop!” Audiences who were once unfamiliar with eSNa were soon acclimated with her gritty personality through her forward lyrics and jazzy spoken dialogues (“All my ladies out there, you’re beautiful just the way you are”). If Jun had his strings, then eSNa had her pipes. By the time the pre-show’s allotted half hour was up, the arena radiated a nervous energy that only a main event could diffuse.


Also on Kultscene: KCON 2017 NY’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 2 Concert Recap

Up first was Super Junior, who challenged traditional conventions surrounding concert programming by making a premature appearance ahead of their closing performance. The group, sans member Choi Siwon who was hosting the event, teased concertgoers with an abbreviated version of their 2009 brainchild, “Sorry Sorry.” During the interim, awash of sapphire blue lights – the group’s official color – swept across the venue to simultaneously welcome and venerate the K-pop giants.

After Super Junior cleared the stage and the hoopla from their unexpected entrance had died down, rookie group Stray Kids, or rather their unofficial hip-hop rap subunit 3RACHA, emerged from among the audience to deliver their own introductions. As members Changbin and Han determinedly exchanged back and forth bars on “Matryoshka,” it was clear that the boys did not let performing after seniors intimidate them. Once the two regrouped with band leader Bang Chan and the six other members of Stray Kids, they hit the ground running with their debut single “District 9,” which turned 90 days old as the group later pointed out.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Despite still being the new kids on the block, Stray Kids fortunately had no problem filling out their set with the B-side “Mirror,” which they already had promoted on music shows, and tracks from their pre-debut survival show of the same name, including “Hellevator” and the classic rock number “YaYaYa.” If anything, the random play dance segment midway through felt like it was out of obligation to KCON more than it was fun fluff. Not complaining, though. Where else would we be able to see their cover of EXO’s “Monster,” BTS’s “Fire,” Twice’s “What is Love,” and Got7’s “Hard Carry” all in one sitting, live??

Up next was everybody’s girl crush, Heize. Adorned in a silver sequined dress and matching tinsels that peeked through her hair and caught the spotlights, she shone brighter than anyone else that evening. Fans waved their light sticks and flashlight-enabled phones to and fro to the beat of her slow-tempo starters, “Didn’t Know Me” and “Star.” But after a live performance of her recent hit “Jenga” was traded with a VCR recording of one on the Brooklyn Bridge, her moment on stage was sadly also short-lived. Already time to part ways, the self-made singer-songwriter was at least able to flaunt some of her rapping chops on “Don’t Know You,” which received a positive response from the crowd.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

KCON always takes advantage of the many groups and artists in attendance for collaborative stages, and this year was no exception. With Super Junior and Red Velvet present, it made total sense that Yesung and Seulgi would perform their SM Station song “Darling U.” Dressed to the nines in suit and dress, the pair showed up looking as if they were going on their first date for the romantic single. They sounded equally as pleasant too; the sweet marriage of Yesung’s low-key, husky vocals with Seulgi’s sharp, pristine ones set the standard for male-female duets everywhere. The routine concluded when Yesung bashfully handed Seulgi the single rose he had been holding.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Thanks to the viral success of their latest song “Shine,” one of the most-anticipated highlights of the night had to be Pentagon. They must have known this,as they commanded an entire legion of spectators to the hit’s trendy “shoot” dance and easy-to-follow choreography. Since members E’Dawn and Hui were known to be quite active in composing their own music – along with Yuto and Wooseok on raps – KCON then had the group defend their “next singer-songwriter” title by putting Wooseok on the spot for a freestyle rap. The theme, chosen by a random generator, was “lucky,” which exactly describes what fans were witnessing while he delivered his “We are, we are lucky” improv set to the beat of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Aside of their representative track, the boys rounded off their set with their debut song, “Gorilla,” along with the older picks from their discography, such as “Can You Feel It” and “Pretty Pretty.”

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Every year the paucity of girl groups at KCON becomes quite the issue among fans. They appear to be working on it, though, and this time around we had not only the usual one, but TWO female acts at the east coast event. Which meant that Red Velvet treated the American audience to a partially English version of “Bad Boy,” a rousing rendition of the summery “Red Flavor.” As for fanservice, KCON got that taken care of with a fitting “Russian Roulette”-inspired bit where each member fulfilled a special request: from Wendy’s rendition of Jay Z’s and Alicia Keys’s “Empire State of Mind” (it is state mandated that every K-pop idol who visits the NY metro area be required to cover the city’s unofficial anthem) to Joy and Yeri’s photo op with selected individuals, it was a fantastic opportunity for the girls to connect with their fans. And on Yeri’s cue and then at the audience’s suggestion, the group finally entered their penultimate “red” and ultimate “velvet” stages with “Rookie” and “Peekaboo” respectively. This is, how you say, the duality of woman?

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Just minutes away from Super Junior now, the excitement in the air had reached palpable heights. But first one last “Passion”-ate joint collaboration between Pentagon and Stray Kids separated the events that had transpired that evening from its impending climax.

Then, It happened. Decked out in getups to correspond with the single’s namesake, the legacy boy group materialized and eased into the swing-oriented “Black Suit” after a ballad intro. Even better than “Black Suit” live, however, is experiencing firsthand the band’s distinguished “uri-neun super juni-oyeo” (“we are Super Junior”) trademark greeting. Hearing those words uttered, everything felt all the more real. They felt all the more real.


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

Just like SuJu’s dynamic stage presence, not much has changed even after all these years. Their humor especially remains intact, as could be seen when Yesung continued to mock his members and as Eunhyuk facetiously taught fans the point dances to some of their most popular singles with increasing complexity (“Bonamana” and “Rokkugo” though, oi). The latter all came together after a pelvic-gyrating performance of “Lo Siento” (with the lovely Miss Leslie Grace in the house!) when the group kicked it into overdrive with a whole SJ Funky medley. Consisting of ten straight minutes of their defining smash hits, including “Sorry Sorry,” “Mr. Simple,” and “Bonamana,” no one could have ever guessed that the foine men hyping up the audience had an average age of 32. Only true talent can make obnoxious autotune, redundant melodies, and looping synths sound this orgasmic. They let us go on a final teary note with their 2005 bubblegum track, “Miracle,” and you know what? They were right – life couldn’t get better.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Whether you came out of the second generation era of K-pop or discovered the genre just the day prior, KCON 2018 NY’s Day 1 well-balanced lineup had something to offer for everyone. The first night was definitely one for the books, and with still a second one to go, it looked like competition was going to be stiff. But that’s another recap for a later time.

Did you attend KCON 18 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.

5 reasons to look forward to Hallyu Pop Fest 2018

For the first time in Singapore’s history, a Hallyu Pop Fest will be held in September, featuring an unprecedented number of K-pop idols (a total of more than 100 artistes will be performing) and a full three days worth of activities for K-pop enthusiasts to engage in. Organised by Singaporean firm H.A.H Entertainment, the music extravaganza will be held during on the weekend of the local school holidays, Sep. 7th through the 9th (mark your calendars!). Here are five reasons you have to look forward to Hallyu Pop Fest 2018 and you absolutely can’t miss it:

1. The Lineup

exid hani kcon le 2017 17 concert

Courtesy of CJ E&M

From well-established dance groups to rookie soloists who are making waves in the K-pop industry, Hallyu Pop Fest features a wonderful mix of artistes, ensuring that there will be something for everyone. The amazing line-up includes Wanna One, NCT 127 and Taeyeon as the headliners of the event, together with BTOB, EXID, Gugudan, Dreamcatcher, MYTEEN, Victon, ONF, Snuper, AOA, UNB, Momoland, Heize, Soyou, Yu Seung Woo, Jeong Sewoon, Huh Gak, and Eric Nam, who will also be hosting the event. Many of these artistes have made recent comebacks, or will be making them soon, so you can look forward to them performing their latest hits. In particular, Wanna One will be having a special two-part performance and will be performing on two out of three nights of the event, with different set-lists for each night. Be sure to catch them since this is likely to be their last performance in Singapore before their disbandment at the end of the year.

2. The Performances

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Over the three days of Hallyu Pop Fest, there will be many opportunities for fans to watch their favourite singers perform. From showcases every afternoon to full concerts each evening at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, vocal and visual treats are definitely in store for fans. With the diverse range of performers at this event, fans will get to watch synchronised dance performances alongside soulful performances offered by chart-topping soloists, with a dash of aegyo from fresh faces, some of whom will be performing in Singapore for the first time.

3. The Interaction

by Alejandro Abarca

Fans will not just get to see their idols being cool and professional on stage, they will have the precious opportunity to see and meet idols up-close through the special artiste engagement sessions (meet and greets, hi-touches) and the red carpets, which happen once a day. Not only that, fans can live out their K-pop star dreams in legitimate Korean entertainment company auditions (Cube Entertainment, Starship Entertainment and Jellyfish Entertainment) to become a K-pop idol, which will take place every morning of Hallyu Pop Fest.

4. The Emcee

by Yasamine Entesari

Though he just visited Singapore at the beginning of May for dal.komm COFFEE’s first anniversary, singer Eric Nam will be returning for Hallyu Pop Fest, both as an emcee for the whole of the three days as well as a performer. With his fluency in both Korean and English and his wit, he will definitely do well to liven up the atmosphere and we look forward to seeing him again.

5.The Experience

Three days worth of this immersive Hallyu experience and the chance to meet your favourite idols together with fellow fans from the whole of Southeast Asia —what a priceless experience Hallyu Pop Fest will surely be. Don’t miss the chance to get a festival ticket and participate in the biggest K-pop festival this region has ever seen!

General ticket sales for HallyuPopFest 2018 will be available from 7 July, Saturday at 10am via online booking, phone booking (+65 3158 7888), Singapore Indoor Stadium Box Office, Scotts Square Concierge, The STAR Performing Arts Centre Box Office and at all SingPost Outlets. There will be two premium ticket categories called DAEBAK! PASS A & DAEBAK! PASS B, five ticket categories (standing pen and seated) with prices ranging from $148 to $298 per day. 

For more information about Hallyu Pop Fest and the festival schedule, check out their official website or social media pages (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram). Will you be attending Hallyu Pop Fest? 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.

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.