Breaking down DPR Live’s ‘CTYL’ show in Dallas

dpr live dabin dallas concert korean rap hip hop

by Nnehkai Agbor

After braving the Texas heat for hours on end, fans filled the room with excitement in their eyes as they waited for DPR Live’s performance. With a booming surround sound system, passionate fans of all ages and intoxicating energy filled every corner of Dallas’ Canton Hall on Oct. 10 as Live put his best foot forward during the eighth stop of the Coming To You Live, or CTYL, tour.

The Venue

Canton Hall is a popular venue for artists all around the world to host their shows. From CL to St. Lucia, the new venue is no stranger to hosting popular acts. This time around was all about DPR Live and the entire DPR crew. Because the venue was a bit smaller than others, it was easier for fans to interact with them. Even those in the far back were able to feel connected despite not being upfront. Of course, this was not just because of the venue but also because of Live’s stage presence and ability to command the room.

dpr live dabin dallas concert korean rap hip hop

by Nnehkai Agbor


Also on KultScene: KCON 2018 LA ‘M! COUNTDOWN’ DAY 2 RECAP

The Setlist

Live reignited the hype that had built while waiting for his entrance. The moment he walked on stage, his infectious energy spread throughout the entire venue. “Know Me” kicked off his set with fans shouting every word and grooving to the beat. Following this track were “Cheese & Wine” and “Laputa.” He revved up the ante as he interacted with fans, threw water, and worked the stage from corner to corner.

dpr live dabin dallas concert korean rap hip hop

by Nnehkai Agbor

“Playlist” was a standout for multiple reasons, but the crew recreated the colors and vibrancy of the music video with colorful lighting of the stage. While the setlist remained the same as the prior stops, Live’s inclusion of Soundcloud tracks “Thirst” and “Til I Die” are a trip down memory lane and remind fans we all have dreams for a reason and nothing should ever discourage us from achieving them. The songs remind us the journey is not easy, but the outcome is worth it.

dpr live dabin dallas concert korean rap hip hop

by Nnehkai Agbor

Fan Energy

Fans really showed up to have the best time at this show. Their energy could be felt before Live walked on stage. Honestly, the opening act did a tremendous job in getting the crowd hyped and ready. DJ DAQ played various K-pop favorites including BTS’ “Mic Drop” and a remix of BLACKPINK’s “Whistle.” He also switched it up by playing summer hits like J Balvin’s “Mi Gente,” and even throwbacks like Busta Rhymes’ “Pass the Courvoisier Part II.”

dpr live dabin dallas concert korean rap hip hop

by Nnehkai Agbor

By the time the DJ DAQ ended his set, fans erupted at the sight of Live. Fans shared special moments including him basking in the moment of fans singing the lyrics of “Jasmine.” Another memorable moment was Cline taking the stage to show his best viral dance moves even adding a special bit just for Dallas (Technically, they were all the dances from Fortnite. Yee haw, Texas!). From the shoot dance to the milly rock, Cline put his best foot forward in adding his energy to the atmosphere. “Playlist” offered a real treat as Christian Yu, DPR’s visual director, filmed and danced with Live throughout the song. The beat and groove were so intoxicating that my friend and I started our own dance battle as we let the vibes and lyrics flow through us. It was like time stopped and all that mattered was creating the best memories with your best pals.

dpr live dabin dallas concert korean rap hip hop

by Nnehkai Agbor

The greatest moment of energy was when fans erupted in the “DPR, We Gang Gang” chant as they anticipated Live’s and the crew’s return to the stage for an encore. They were not disappointed. Fans jumped and proudly chanted the course of the song along with the Live and the DPR crew.

dpr live dabin dallas concert korean rap hip hop

by Nnehkai Agbor


Also on KultScene: K-POP UNMUTED: GOT7’S ‘PRESENT: YOU’

Final Thoughts

In its entirety, the production of the concert was amazing. The real takeaway is DPR’s manifestation of a dream and seeing fans enjoy the artistry and hard work that goes into producing their craft. From beginning to end, Live showed appreciation and joy to be sharing this moment with fans. It wasn’t an artist and his fans, but a big family. For now, fans in Europe and the Asia Pacific regions will have their moments with Live and the DPR crew while those in North America anticipate what they bring us next. More than a show, the concert was an experience.

dpr live dabin dallas concert korean rap hip hop

by Nnehkai Agbor

What are some of your favorite DPR Live songs? Let us know your picks and thoughts 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 pos

10 songs to get you ready for DPR’s ‘CTYL 2018’ world tour

dpr live coming to you live tour concert north america usa us songs tracks

An impressive resume including works with YG Entertainment unit MOBB and JYP Entertainment’s Suzy are highlights for audiovisual collective Dream Perfect Regime, or DPR for short. The Seoul-based collective is transforming the way music and visuals are perceived in entertainment through experimental beats and breath-taking visuals.

At the forefront is Live who is currently the collective’s only artist. His debut album, HER, quickly put him on the radar in Korea’s hip-hop scene. Producer DPR Cream, Director DPR REM and Creative Director DPR Ian bring Live’s lyrics to life while Jaean and Jimmy assist in management. Like Live, Cream REM and Ian adopted the abbreviation of Dream Perfect Regime in their monikers.

And for the first time, DPR Live and the entire DPR crew will be together giving fans a chance to participate in epic fun and craze. The Coming To You Live world tour (CTYL for short) kicks off at Vogue Theatre in Vancouver on Sept. 30 followed by Neptune Theatre in Seattle on Oct. 1, Concord Music in Chicago on Oct.2, The Opera House in Toronto on Oct. 4, Terminal 5 in New York on Oct. 5, The Loft at Center Stage in Atlanta on Oct.7, Warehouse Live in Houston on Oct. 8, Canton Hall in Dallas on Oct. 10, The Novo in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, and The UC Theatre San Francisco on Oct. 14. The guys will then head to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region for the second and third legs of the tour.

From his beginning tracks on SoundCloud to popular features, these 10 songs are just a glimpse into Live’s ability as an artist and entertainer and will definitely get you ready for their upcoming tour. His songs offer a new insight to Korean hip-hop culture and seeing it on tour is a treat. The experience and rush increase the bond and support between fans and artist even if it’s just for a few hours.

“To Myself”

“To Myself” is the official hype song for DPR, serving as the ultimate solidarity between DPR and fans. The song’s addictive “DPR, we gang gang” is a lyric fans cannot wait to shout together during the tour. I’m sure we all can’t wait to see Jimmy Cline do viral dance moves to this song.


Also on KultScene: GOT7’S ‘EYES ON YOU’ TOUR IN LOS ANGELES VS. MEXICO CITY: A COMPARISON

“Eung Freestyle”

If “To Myself” wasn’t enough to get you hyped for DPR, then this freestyle will seal the deal. Putting his own twist on the viral “MMM-freestyle,” he showcased his rap skills along with Sik-K, Punchnello, Owen Ovadoz, and Flowsik on “Eung Freestyle.” It’s bound to get your head bobbing and loosen you up for copious amounts of fun.

“Thirst”

“Thirst” takes us back to Live’s SoundCloud beginnings. It expresses his ambition of achieving his rap dreams. It’s a relatable anthem for all of us wanting to achieve dreams no matter the obstacles and doubts.

“Playlist”

“Playlist” is a groove that fits the ease of summer while showing Live’s flexibility in experimenting with different sounds while keeping the core of his sound. Captivating colors, beats, and melodies combined with LIVE’s soft voice create a song that’s a summer essential.

“Martini Blue”

If there was ever a time we wanted to get away and sip our favorite drink, “Martini Blue” can be thanked. The use of a synthesizer and ad-libs create a relaxing aura that hypnotizes listeners. It’s a slower track that adds balance among high energy fans are used to.

“Know Me”

People tend to think they know us when they haven’t a clue, and this speaks our souls about showing who we are without a care. “Know Me” is an ode to blocking the haters and living your best life.

“Jasmine”

“Jasmine” is DPR LIVE’s most popular song boasting over four million streams on Spotify. The song is an allusion to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World.” Live’s raps about being able to show a love interest a new world and paint it black and gold. “Jasmine” leans towards the chill vibes serving as a foil to the usual hype that accompanies his music.


Also on KultScene: K-POP UNMUTED: LOONA DEBUT

“Action!”

Featuring GRAY, “Action!” made us want to be the leading lady in a movie. Shout outs to Emma Stone, Emma Watson, and Emily Ratajkowski became stuck in our heads allowing us to daydream about having full service on a movie set while Live vies for our attention.

“Right Here Right Now”

It’s all about being in the moment for this collaboration featuring Jay Park and Loco. Each artist brings his respective flavor to “Right Here Right Now.” It’s definitely a track that would be a treat for fans to be performed on the tour.

“Dream Perfect”

The beginnings of Dream Perfect Regime come to light in this track. “Dream Perfect” is a promise of achieving greatness as a team. Strong friendship and ambition are at the core of this track, as Live claims, they’re “the team.” There’s no competition except to be better than they were before.

While European shows are sold out, dates across North America and Asia-Pacific are readily available. So, grab your favorite pals for a night out! What DPR Live songs are you listening to prepare for the tour? Let us know your picks and thoughts on the concert 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.

KCON 2018 LA ‘M! Countdown’ day 2 recap

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 seventeen

courtesy of CJ ENM

Following a mega-successful first concert on Saturday, KCON was back at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, August 12 for the second and final show. KCON makes a point of always bringing the biggest names in K-pop, and KCON 2018 LA was no exception. While Twice and Wanna One were arguably the biggest acts for Night One, Night Two belonged to Seventeen, Pentagon, and Chung Ha.

Kicking off the show, rock girl group Dreamcatcher took the stage. They performed their newest single “You & I” from their mini album Escape the Era. Throughout their performance, Dreamcatcher constantly showed a unique hybrid form of K-pop and rock music. With such a distinct sound, Dreamcatcher was the one to watch for many concertgoers. They seemed to satisfy the crowd, amassing screams for their whole set. To close it out, the septet performed their 2017 single “Good Night.”

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 dreamcatcher

courtesy of CJ ENM

After Dreamcatcher had everyone doing their best air guitar moves, it was IMFACT’s turn. As KCON was their debut stateside performance, they went all out showing every side of themselves to their fans. They started off their performance with the debut of their newest single, “NaNaNa,” which hadn’t even been released at that time. It was a great way to introduce themselves to the crowd as the track has a very chill chorus and a tropical feel. Next, IMFACT performed their biggest hit so far, the high-energy synth-pop song “The Light,” which was released in April 2018. The crowd danced along and everyone seemed to like their performance. If IMFACT comes back to the U.S. soon, they will definitely have some new fans in the crowd that were introduced to them through KCON.

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 imfact

courtesy of CJ ENM


Also on KultScene: KCON 2018 LA ‘M! COUNTDOWN’ DAY 1 CONCERT RECAP

Another one of the night’s most popular performers was Pentagon, a group that had grown substantially in popularity throughout the past six months with their hit song “Shine.” Due to some unfortunate circumstances, the group was missing two members during their trip to the U.S. but fortunately, fans still gave Pentagon a lot of support both before and during their time here. They employed the help of fellow performer and violinist Jun to begin their performance with a short intro to “Shine.” The extremely popular song was exciting to see live; many people in the massive crowd were singing along and doing the addictive choreography. It was clear that Pentagon had gained their popularity for good reason. Their performance was positive and energetic, but still allowed them to connect with their fans and create an intimate experience.

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 pentagon

courtesy of CJ ENM

One vulnerable moment was when the boys spread out to each end of the stage to perform their gentle ballad, “Beautiful.” Although a lot of Universe (Pentagon’s fanbase) brought their lightsticks, even the people that didn’t have official Pentagon lightsticks used their phones or other groups’ lights to sway along to the music. Following the intimate feel of “Beautiful,” Pentagon brought us back to their tough concept with “Runaway.” The song describes an intense, rough relationship, which is unfortunately what Pentagon’s fans are going through with the group and their company these days. Thankfully, if you did not know about the drama surrounding Pentagon at this moment, you would not be clued into it just by watching their performance. It was clear at KCON 2018 LA that nothing can take away their passion and charisma on stage.

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 jun

courtesy of CJ ENM

After lending his violin talent to Pentagon’s intro, Jun was back to show the audience his performance of his single “Hold It Down.” While his most popular content is on his Youtube channel, Jun showed that he is a great performer in real life too. The upbeat track was perfect to perform at such an energetic event; he utilized many backup dancers and really showed the song’s colorful vibe well. His set was only the one song, which was disappointing but was a great teaser for what’s to come from Jun.

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 chungha chung ha

courtesy of CJ ENM

Finally, back in the States as a solo artist, Chung Ha was one of the most highly anticipated artists. She hadn’t performed here since KCON 2016 LA with the Produce 101-formed IOI, so everyone was really looking forward to her appearance. Being one of Korea’s biggest female solo artists, it was no surprise that many guests at KCON were there to see her. Having an amazing year with two super popular comebacks, she was an artist that everyone was looking forward to. Chung Ha opened her set with her newest title track “Love U,” which had only come out about two weeks before and still had everyone singing along. Although she didn’t perform her debut song “Why Don’t You Know,” she still kept everyone’s attention by performing her January hit “Roller Coaster.” A vibrant, fun song with an easy melody, it was a great way to close her set.


Also on KultScene: GOT7’S ‘EYES ON YOU’ TOUR IN LOS ANGELES VS. MEXICO CITY: A COMPARISON

Keeping the girl power vibe going, KCON welcomed rookie group Fromis_9 to the stage to show their spirit. Flipping from the sexy, mature vibe that Chung Ha is a master of, the younger group displayed their cute concept with their songs “DKDK” and “Glass Shoes.” Unlike most groups formed on reality shows, Fromis_9 is a permanent group, and it is obvious that they have improved a lot since Idol School aired. They showed immediate charm and were super sweet. For girls that started their career not too long ago, it was surely surreal for them to be on the same stage as so many powerhouse seniors, although by now they have performed at many events and are definitely earning their stripes. Hopefully, Fromis_9 will visit the states again soon with more fresh, bubbly music to share!

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 fromis 9 fromis9 fromis_9

courtesy of CJ ENM

Next up was Roy Kim, who is known for his laid-back music, and KCON is a place that doesn’t normally emphasize a chill atmosphere. Typically every performer is trying to get the crowd hyped up and dancing like crazy, but Roy Kim is an exception to that. It was refreshing to have a moment in the lineup where there was no choreography to dance along to, just a guy and his guitar and his soothing melodies. Roy started his set with his ballad “Only Then,” which was released in February. He then continued with a cover of Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter,” which he frequently performs when he has a chance to. It’s a cover well-liked by his fans around the world due to the way he nails the emotion in the song. He concluded his part of the night by performing his biggest hit to date, “Bom Bom Bom.” The sweet, summery feel of the song, with its title that translates to “Spring Spring Spring,” was a great way to finish his set.

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 roy kim

courtesy of CJ ENM

No KCON is complete without a few special surprises, and there were some great ones in store for the final night of KCON LA. Seventeen are now veterans of attending KCON, as this was their fourth appearance at a KCON event. They know how it works, and they especially know how to get the crowd fired up. They did just that with their special unit stage performances when each of the three units from the group performed one of their songs, most of which rarely, if ever, get performed outside of concerts. The vocal unit performed “Don’t Listen in Secret” off of their 2016 full album Going Seventeen. The powerful ballad was completely different from the hip-hop and Performance unit choices, but it fit in perfectly. Speaking of hip-hop unit, they were on stage next to perform their unreleased song “SUKYO,” which had previously only been performed at their Ideal Cut concert series in Korea. The explosive rap track was a stark contrast to the delicate and sweet song choice of vocal unit. Continuing the sexy, upbeat vibe, the performance unit was the last of Seventeen’s three units to grace the stage, and their choice of special song was 2017’s “Lilili Yabbay,” also known as “The 13th Month’s Dance.”

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 seventeen

courtesy of CJ ENM

If you thought special stages were just for the boys, fortunately, you’re wrong! The female acts of the night were back on stage and ready to show a different side of themselves for the special stage titled “Midnight Fantasy Garden.” Dreamcatcher performed a full group dance cover of “Havana” by Camila Cabello, which they had previously posted on YouTube with only two members participating (Sua and Dami). After “Havana,” Fromis_9 appeared at the opposite end of the stage to cover Missy Elliott’s “WTF.” It was a big departure from Fromis_9’s sweet, girly vibe and was really exciting to witness. They killed the choreography and showed some major versatility, if only for a few minutes. Chung Ha then took to the middle of the stage to perform some sultry choreography with a backup dancer to Ariana Grande’s newest single “God is a Woman.” Chung Ha also shows a lot of versatility, and it is obvious that she truly deserves all of the hype and attention she gets for her dance ability. She works hard and it shows.

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 nuest w nuest nu'est w nuestw nu'estw

courtesy of CJ ENM

Nu’Est have had quite the interesting year, and it was subunit Nu’Est W up next. After four of their five members participated in Produce 101 season 2, and Minhyun was chosen to be in Wanna One, Nu’Est grew substantially in popularity. So Pledis and Nu’Est decided to form a subunit (Nu’Est W) so they could utilize that popularity while Minhyun is participating in Wanna One promotions. This subunit has done extremely well, and it has been exciting to see them flourish after many years of being in a nugu-like state in Korea. I goes without saying that for their first trip to the US as a subunit, Nu’Eest W was a highly anticipated performer. They began their set with the sensual “Deja Vu,” which was released in June of this year. Nu’Est W maintained the sultry feeling with the more amped-up “Where You At,” their debut single as a subunit. They also performed “Polaris” from Nu’Est W’s mini album Who, You as well as “Look” from Nu’Est’s 2016 album Canvas.

Although Seventeen had technically already performed once during Night 2, their special stage was nothing compared to their full set. Kicking off the full Seventeen experience, the thirteen-member group performed their title track from August’s You Make My Day mini album, “Oh My!” With video-game inspired choreography and cuter feel than their other recent titles, “Oh My!” is a fun escape. The boys then performed the b-side “Our Dawn Is Hotter Than Day” from the same mini album, which also has a fun, pleasant feel. Switching it up to their rookie days, Seventeen surprised the audience by performing their 2015 hit “Mansae.” The energetic track was a great pick to play because every K-pop fan knows the melody and probably a bit of the choreography too!

kcon18la kcon la los angeles 18 2018 seventeen

courtesy of CJ ENM

Fortunately, Seventeen’s discography thus far is full of hits, so their next song was a great choice too. They ended their set (too soon) with the 2016 hit “Aju Nice (Very Nice)” from the repackage edition of their Love & Letter EP. An equally exciting and honestly irresistible song to dance to, “Aju Nice” made everyone get on their feet for one last dance party before the end of KCON 2018 LA. It was a bittersweet way to end the intense, amazing experience that is KCON. Every year KCON keeps getting bigger and this year’s events have continued to follow that trend. Who knows what will happen at next year’s KCON!

Did you attend KCON 2018 LA? Let us know your experience and thoughts on the concert 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.

GOT7’s ‘Eyes On You’ tour in Los Angeles vs. Mexico City: a comparison

got7 eyes on you tour mexico

by Tam Huynh

Now that the waters have settled and we’ve collected ourselves, let’s talk about GOT7’s Eyes On You tour shall we? Fellow KultScene writer Tam Huynh and I were fortunate enough to attend more than one stop this time around (although she did the entire North American tour, but that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, check out when she hit up all the U.S. stops on the Turbulence tour), so we got a good understanding about how shows differ from city to city, and even country to country.

The Eyes On You tour began all the way back in July in Toronto and ran through Los Angeles, Houston, New York, and wrapped up in Mexico City on the 13th. This tour marked a series of firsts for GOT7. To name just a few, their first arena tour in North America; first K-pop group to play Barclays Center in New York and Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, which was also their first time in the country; and first JYP Entertainment group to hold an arena show in Los Angeles. It was truly a monumental tour for the guys, and I’m glad I got to witness some of it.

Though the journey began in Toronto, Tam and I linked up in LA and Mexico City. For Turbulence, I also did two stops (Miami and Los Angeles), but this time around, I wanted to experience a foreign fandom. I mean, we’ve all been there; all of our baby bird hearts have broken a little bit after realizing that the U.S. doesn’t get the same concerts that GOT7 puts on in Korea or even Thailand. And though this wasn’t exactly a show in Asia, I still wanted to see the differences between Mexican and USA ahgases, especially since I had already experienced a few K-pop shows in Mexico City.

Just as a disclosure: I’m Mexican, so I wholly understand the culture and the people. I also live in Los Angeles and have attended every GOT7 show in the city. In other words, I know what I’m talking about.

But anyway, you read the title; you read my four paragraph-long ramblings. So which stop was better? Let’s examine.


Also on KultScene: DREAMCATCHER TALK CAREER ASPIRATIONS AT LOS ANGELES FANMEET [INTERVIEW]

The Members’ Spirits

got7 eyes on you tour mexico

by Tam Huynh

Los Angeles didn’t open the tour, Toronto did, but the boys had been in the city a few days prior to the show for interviews and whatnot. Though the performances didn’t lack energy, they did comment about having jet lag, which caused small, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mistakes. The members also commented that they were nervous. Maybe it was due to Mr. J. Y. Park himself was in attendance or all the industry people who were also checking out the show. But during their speaking moments, most of the guys — especially Mark— seemed more shy than usual and didn’t resort to their usual antics. For this tour, they all tried their best to speak the most English –especially Jinyoung, who should already have a B. A. in English for all I’m concerned.

Mexico City was a whole different story. It was the last night of the North American leg before they hit up South America. As aforementioned, this was GOT7’s first time in the country, so most of the members gave their all for their Mexican ahgases. The fact that their first visit was at an arena seemed to also energize their moods and want to give an above average performance —which they did! Though most notably to yours truly, Jaebum —who had been all smiles all tour, especially in Los Angeles— seemed to had toned it down, especially on his overexaggerated rendition of the “Stop, Stop It” choreography. Maybe he was tired? Who knows! But the overall performances seemed tighter than in LA. “Paradise” was way more synchronized in Mexico than in LA, for example.

Also, as someone who has only seen the group in the U.S., it was odd to see them speak only in Korean and not in English. Since the members have a better flow with each other speaking in Korean, the talking moments felt a bit more genuine and as if you were watching them on their YouTube shows. Jinyoung spoke way longer and his message to fans seemed deeper since he was able to say it Korean and have a translator relay the message in Spanish. However, they all said a few phrases in Spanish, like Bam Bam saying “Me encanta el ambiente el día de hoy” (I’m loving the mood today), and Jackson having an inexplicable inside joke with himself with the nickname “Pepe.”

Setlist

got7 eyes on you tour mexico

by Tam Huynh

Yes, I know that the setlist was the same throughout the entire tour. However, in Los Angeles, after jamming their souls away during the encore songs “Look (remix),” “Fly (remix),” and “Go Higher,” a few of the boys huddled up and decided they were doing one more song since it was a special night —much to Jinyoung’s dismay, who was already a step away from exiting the stage. JB and Bam Bam playfully asked the audience what we wanted to hear and then said they’d do “Just Right,” which wasn’t included in the original setlist. The boys took this song to continue their usual shenanigans on stage with their dancers and the fans. The choreography was nowhere in sight.

The rest of the tour unfortunately didn’t include a bonus track, including Mexico City.

Venue

got7 eyes on you tour mexico

by Tam Huynh

Being only the third K-pop act to perform ever here, GOT7 played the historic venue The Forum in Los Angeles. In the last few years, it underwent a renovation which resulted in the venue being state of the art. I don’t think GOT7 has ever sounded as good as they did here —even when they did KCON LA 2017 at the Staples Center. The sound and acoustics of the arena did the members’ justice.

Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, however, is notoriously known as the “plaza de los rebotes,” or the rebound plaza, meaning the sound bounces off the venue’s unique architecture unflatteringly. During their speaking moments, it was hard to hear them, or the translator, since the cheering drowned their voices quite easily.

Fan Energy

got7 eyes on you tour mexico

by Tam Huynh

I’ve been to a lot of K-pop concerts throughout the years and have gotten to experience seeing lots of different fandoms react to their faves. But I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the same energy like in Mexico City. It was utter insanity. Fans in Los Angeles are loud, sure, and they cheer for their faves. But Mexican fans, whew, I’d be surprised if they didn’t rupture their vocal chords. Sure, I blamed the venue’s acoustics for the less than perfect sound, but the fans screams and squeals were so loud at times, that that’s the only thing you heard. This, of course, came in handy on “Look” and “Never Ever” when it came down to the fan chants. GOT7’s names echoed and bounced off the entire arena in one big roar each time. And I think the members’ noticed, for they were all smiles throughout the entire show.

Los Angeles is always an amazing show given it’s Mark hometown, and the adopted one of the rest of the members. Fans here (me included), I think, are way more chill. We dance throughout the entire songs, both in sync with the choreography or just vibing with them. Sure screams are loud and the boys feel the love, but I have to say Mexico was next level in terms of passion. Maybe it was due to it being the first time seeing them in person, whereas LA gets them at least once a year. Nevertheless, while different, the love for GOT7 was not only visible, but palpable.


Also on KultScene: K-POP MID-YEAR REVIEW: 3 DISTINCTIVE MUSIC STYLES DOMINATING 2018 SO FAR

Final Verdict

got7 eyes on you tour mexico

by Tam Huynh

Though the LA and Mexico City stops had the same show on paper, they were both very different experiences. For me personally in terms of which I enjoyed the most or unbiasedly thought was a better performance varied depending on the different points I went through in the piece. Was a tween fan screaming her lungs out behind me? Did Jaebum stick his tongue out enough? Did Bam Bam come out with new memes to recreate? Did I feel the bass in my eardrums?

After taking into account each stop’s highlights, I’ve come to a conclusion. On comparing the concerts I experience in Los Angeles and in Mexico City, interacting with fans of different cultures and backgrounds, and seeing the boys behave differently depending on the country they were in, my conclusion is that they were both amazing shows!

I know, I know. You may think I’m cheating, but I’m not. I may have been annoyed half of the time in Mexico over the fans’ screams, but once I put it into perspective and realized that this was the first time they were seeing their bias group, I understood them. Same goes with LA. The boys weren’t as easygoing and turnt like in, say, New York, but it had to be weighing on them heavily just how monumental this particular show was for their careers and even as representatives of JYP.

The Eyes On You tour wasn’t perfect, but it was sure as hell a good time. The boys got to highlight the songs that they got to write and/or produce and they put on a show worthy of an internationally renowned pop act. This tour proved that GOT7 is only getting started and that we can only expect bigger and greater things from them.

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Did you attend any of the stops on GOT7’s Eyes On You tour? Let us know your experience and 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.

KCON 2018 LA ‘M! Countdown’ day 1 concert recap

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 twice

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Back for another exciting year, KCON 2018 LA Presented by Toyota was set with a stacked lineup full of both rookie artists and established seniors. Held in the same venue as the past few years, KCON filled the Los Angeles Convention Center with more than 94,000 fans over the course of three days. When it came time for the concert, the Staples Center gladly hosted only a part of said guests for the day 1 M! Countdown concert. With the lineup including groups Wanna One and Twice, who both boast enormous fan power, the arena was full with the screams of fans for the entire night.

Starting off the night’s set was fun-loving girl group Momoland, fresh off the enormous success of their popular singles “Bboom Bboom” and “BAAM.” They emerged from underneath the stage in altered matching uniform outfits and their infamous light up shoes to get the crowd hyped with a remix of “BAAM.” While performing “Bboom Bboom,” the girls spread out to each side of the zig-zag stage so they could see all of the KCONers dancing along. They were so happy to finally perform in the U.S. and their cheerful vibe was infectious.

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 momoland

Courtesy of CJ E&M

The following performer was MMO Entertainment’s concept-bending boy group IN2IT. They kicked off their set with the animated funk single “Sorry for My English.” With the choreography featuring hip swings and cheeky record-spinning motions, they had the crowd dancing along in no time. They closed their segment of the show with their 2017 single “SnapShot.” While a different feel than “Sorry for My English,” “SnapShot” also utilizes similar point moves to emphasize the lyrics. It was fun to see the audience following their “SnapShot” camera choreography.

After IN2IT’s lively set, the Korean hip-hop legends Dynamic Duo rose from under the stage for a more chill song. Within the set called “Groovy Town,” Dynamic Duo performed “Hot Wings,” a song originally featuring Hyolyn. Around the middle of the song, day two performer Chungha unexpectedly appeared on one of the stages to finish out the song with Dynamic Duo. Wearing an ethereal black lace dress with red polka dot detail, Chungha complemented the performance perfectly with her angelic vocals.

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

Following that exciting collaboration from the ever so experienced Dynamic Duo, KCON gave us a look into rookie performer Mia’s life. Showing a video of Mia’s participation so far in the industry, including Mia’s experience on the MNET show Breakers, we were able to see who Mia is and what her performance would be like. She came onstage after the short intro video and performed “Blind,” a very laid-back song she debuted on Breakers. After Blind, Mia took a bit of time to talk to the audience and then performed “City of Stars” from the soundtrack of the movie La La Land. It seemed like a full-circle moment for the singer, as she said that a year ago, she was a KCON audience member herself.

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 mia

Courtesy of CJ E&M


Also on KultScene: K-POP MID-YEAR REVIEW: 3 DISTINCTIVE MUSIC STYLES DOMINATING 2018 SO FAR

Golden Child, a rookie group that just debuted in just last year, was another bold pick chosen to perform at KCON. While they have a good fan base built, they were definitely less experienced than most of the other artists at KCON. Fortunately, they had already shown their talent at KCON NY, so many people were looking forward to their stage. They started their set with their new single, “Let Me.” The song’s happy energy brought everyone to pay attention to GolCha (the group’s nickname), if they weren’t already paying attention. After this, the group took us back to their debut and performed the catchy “DamDaDi.” The widely appealing song had many people dancing and singing along. These boys may be new to the scene but it looks like they’re here to stay.

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 golden child golcha goldcha

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Even though one special stage had already happened during the show, there was another surprise in store prepared by three members of Twice. When the lights came on, Jihyo, Tzuyu, and Momo emerged in one of the corner stages. And when the music started, it became known that the girls were doing their famous cover of Beyoncé’s “End of Time,” complete with the iconic original choreography. It was a lively, sexy departure from Twice’s original content that was welcomed by the fans in attendance.

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 twice momo jihyo tzuyu

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Leaving the more intense performances to their juniors, the balladeer duo Davichi then took the stage and gave us heavenly calm vocals with a little bit of sass. They were perfectly able to bring the crowd down from the high they felt during the special stage, while still maintaining their attention. The two women performed their song “Nostalgia” that was newly released in July. They also performed the now-classic Descendants of The Sun OST “This Love” from 2016. They ended their set with the popular disco-esque track “8282,” which brought everyone’s clapping hands out.

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 davichi

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Calming R&B being his specialty, Crush was a great choice for KCON to assign to the middle of the night’s performances. He began his performance with the song “Bittersweet.” a single released this past May. Switching up the order of performers, his frequent collaborators Dynamic Duo came out after Crush sang “Bittersweet” to perform their hit “BAAAM.” After “BAAAM,” Crush was brought back on stage and the labelmates spoke briefly to the audience about how great it was to see their LA fans. Although both acts have many collaborations they could have performed, the next song in their set was Dynamic Duo’s 2011 song “Friday Night.” Crush offering up his silky vocals for a special performance of the classic track is another example of special stages that can be seen at KCON.

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 crush

Courtesy of CJ E&M

After Crush and Dynamic Duo brought us a hip-hop set, Twice were back in the building. The group is known for their charismatic and fun performances, and KCON LA was no exception! The girls started their set with their newest single “Dance The Night Away,” and —cue overused pun— they really had everyone dancing the night away. IAs the song is extremely high energy and seems seriously difficult to perform, it was a surprising opening song. The choice to start out showing off their stamina and choreography skills was bold, and they were of course top notch.


Also on KultScene: DREAMCATCHER TALK CAREER ASPIRATIONS AT LOS ANGELES FANMEET [INTERVIEW]

After taking a moment to talk to the crowd and doing a segment where they danced with audience members on the screen, the girls launched into their April hit, “What is Love?” During this track, you could feel the camaraderie between the fans throughout the venue, but it was nothing compared to the enthusiasm radiated during their next song: “Likey.” “Likey” is a track that no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re a K-pop fan, you have some sort of relationship with it. You may hate it, but if you love it, you really, love it. The entire arena was jamming along to the L-hand choreography. For a song that is only almost a year old, it holds so much power, and it was an impressive spectacle.

One of the most anticipated performers of night 1 was vocal powerhouse Ailee. The singer enthralled the guests of the Staples Center with her breathtaking vocals and dance-worthy songs. Ailee, known mostly for her vocal prowess, surprised a lot of the crowd as she performed some of her more upbeat songs instead of ballads, which many people tend to recognize her for. She was definitely not playing around and showed KCONers everything she’s capable of. It was very evident that Ailee is born to perform, as she was having an amazing time on stage and couldn’t stop smiling. It was truly a sight to see.

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 ailee

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Wanna One was the final act, and as soon as the lights went down after Ailee, the Staples Center lit up with Wannables (the group’s fans) holding up their lightsticks in preparation for the boys’ final performance in the U.S. prior to their upcoming disbandment. It was a bittersweet set filled with most of their hits so far, and the arena was consumed by fan chants throughout Wanna One’s time on stage.

They started off their performance with their latest single, “Light.” Wannables definitely identified with the lyrics at that moment —especially:“When I saw you today/The feeling of butterflies was bigger than the familiar feeling.” For the next song, the boys launched into their debut track “Energetic.” Everyone in the crowd was clearly feeling it since the entire venue lit up. Up next was their more gentle tune “IPU (I Promise You)”. Performing this sweet song dedicated to their fanbase softened the blow that most Wannables in attendance must have been feeling due to the bittersweet nature of their appearance at KCON LA.

kcon los angeles la 2018 18 wanna one

Courtesy of CJ E&M

To conclude the night, the 11 boys once again had the audience jumping and dancing along to their high-energy bop “Burn It Up”! The song was a perfect way to end their set and KCON 2018 LA overall. The hard-hitting chorus and bridge were amazing to witness live, and it is so evident how hard Wanna One work to put on a great performance for their audience every time. It’s a shame they will be disbanding soon, but the new chapter brought upon by their journeys into new groups will definitely be interesting to watch as all 11 members are crazy talented.

As night 1 sadly came to a close, the fact that there was still one more concert night to enjoy livened up the ambiance. As KCON continues to grow and impress audiences across the world every year, we are excited to partake in KCON’s expansion every year.

What’s your favorite performer from night 1 of KCON? Let us know your picks and 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.

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.

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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:

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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.