Sungha Jung mixes music with ‘MIXTAPE’ in Singapore

Official Picture from Sprout Entertainment

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Official Picture from Sprout Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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by Ana Clara Ribeiro

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

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

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

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

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by Ana Clara Ribeiro


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

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

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by Ana Clara Ribeiro

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

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

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by Ana Clara Ribeiro

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

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

by Ana Clara Ribeiro


Also on KultScene: Inside KCON 2017 NY [photos]

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

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

by Ana Clara Ribeiro

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

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

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

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

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Curtesy of CJ E&M

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

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


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

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

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Curtesy of CJ E&M

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

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

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

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

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

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

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

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

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


Also on Kultscene: Inside KCON 2017 NY [photos]

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

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Curtesy of CJ E&M

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

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

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

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

Inside KCON 2017 NY [photos]

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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


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

Convention

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

Panels & Workshops

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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


Also on KultScene: Inside KCON 2017 Mexico [photos]

Red Carpet

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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by Katherine Villalon

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

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

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

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

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

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KCON17NY

Almost exactly one year since it last hit the Prudential Center in New Yorks’s metropolitan area, KCON 2017 NY presented by Toyota returned once again this past weekend (June 23 and 24) for another two nights of star-studded M! Countdown performances. The Day 1 concert had rookie groups KNK and SF9 dancing on the same stage as the veteran “super rookie” group Highlight. Meanwhile hip-hop and R&B soloist Zion T. and girl group GFriend added diversity to the forever testosterone and pop-heavy lineup.

For some of the artists, it was their first time performing stateside altogether. But for all, their participation marked their debut onto the annual cross-cultural East Coast music festival scene that continues to bring the most devoted Hallyu fans out in droves. Not soon after concert goers filed in to occupy the arena seating and pit to catch the preshow – a fan dance battle moderated by special guest and former U-Kiss member Kevin Woo – had it been already time for the main event of the night. At promptly 7:30 PM, the show kicked off with its trademark “Let’s KCON” motto.


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

Ascending in front of a very fitting backdrop of nebulae and celestial bodies, the vertically superior KNK opened with their most recent single “Sun, Moon, Star,” a song which they later explained was about broken up lovers. The quintet delivered the anguish that such a song demands, and decked out in resplendent white suits, they looked and sounded like they were not only a year into their careers. This only became apparent once they moved on from their debut song “Knock” straight into their already final track “Day N Night,” reminding audiences that their discography still has room to grow. The latter is a personal favorite, and since it was never promoted as a single, was a pleasant surprise to their terse setlist. I think lead rapper Heejun was doing all of us a public good when he put up his own mic to lead vocalist Youjin when he hit that high note during the bridge.

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

It really would not be a KCON without its collaborative stages, and this year seemed to have been Broadway musical-themed (a tip of the hat to good ol’ New York City) as Yuju of GFriend and Dongwoon of Highlight united in a rendition of Beauty and the Beast’s “Tale As Old As Time.” It was definitely an oicwydt moment seeing the gorgeous GFriend member work in perfect harmony with the former “Beast” member. The no-frills duet relied solely on their immaculate vocals, all the while keeping the number subdued without sounding boring.

Up next was SF9, a boy group who I admittedly made the mistake of overlooking going into the concert. From the moment they set the venue aflame with their latest song “Easy Love,” the amount of proud fans clothed in unofficial merchandise and holding up support banners for the group who have not even seen their one year anniversary yet just made sense. The first real “dance” group coming out of FNC Entertainment, an agency typically known for their favoritism towards bands in the truest sense of the word, they did not disappoint. How they are able to execute their razor-sharp choreography without sound breathy is still beyond me, and after seeing the nine-piece group perform in the flesh, I can affirm that the aphorism about how one does not learn to appreciate a song until it is done live was about SF9.

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

Not only that, the SF9 boys also proved that they are kings of fanservice when three members serenaded and competed for a girl indiscriminately chosen from the general audience. Poor girl seemed torn between her suitors, so the proposal ended in a draw. Despite this, the group managed to reel back into full performance mode, completing their set with their debut single “Fanfare,” followed by “Roar.”

The girl group representatives of the night, GFriend (sans Yerin who had individual schedules overseas), made their entrance with a powerful dance break in their signature uniformed-inspired look, compensating for KCON’s serious dearth of female acts. They continued the trend of opening with the most recent single and plunged right into disco and synth blend hit “Fingertip.” An exciting song to match the equally high-spirited mood.

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

Unfortunately, as the proceeding “Navillera” transitioned into “Me Gustas Tu” into “Rough,” the rest of their set felt a little like one mega ditty playing up the naiveté of youth rather than three separate and unique songs. Not hating the high school concept trilogy, it’s just that a better setlist that showcased greater variety or another song inter-spliced between the ones could have avoided this misfortune. That aside, audiences still received kindly to the more than stable vocals, synchronized dances, and charms of these girl crushes.

It’s always interesting to see how a solo artist can manage to keep the momentum of crowds going, and with no group dynamic to fall back on, the pressure is certainly on. But Zion.T, draped in what looks like could be his dad’s baggy suit and traipsing his way towards a grand piano, exuded pure professionalism and cool, calm collectedness not witnessed in other acts seen thus far. There, he introduced “Complex,” before moving onto “The Song” off of the same OO album. He already impresses with his distinct voice and frictionless croons, but when he brings out his inner rapper as well, he’s just being unfair.

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

The man also displayed a subtle sense of humor when he inquired if audiences knew his penultimate song for the night, “Eat” (“you know, like yum, yum, yum eat?”). Unsurprisingly, he closed with the iconic “Yanghwa Bridge,” a sluggish track that is perfect for not only evening commutes home, but also for bringing together a group of disparate peoples in chorus. Not a single person in attendance was not singing either “haengbokhaja” (“Let’s be happy”) or “apeuji malgo” (“Don’t be sick”) of the lyrics’ sweet words to his family. Zion.T’s strength lies in the fact that his slow-tempo songs always have those couple of phrases that are easy to follow along, guaranteeing audience participation. He knows this too as he played conductor, and took advantage of the whole extended stage. Only Zion.T could ever do what Zion.T does best.

The show could have concluded right then, and everyone would have been okay with it, however it did not. SF9 reappeared onto the stage for an unexpected special performance of EXO’s “Call Me Baby” and BTS’s “Boy in Luv,” which was probably KCON’s way of saying “Hey, I know we could not give you guys the two hottest K-pop groups at the moment, but here’s a cover.” In any event, audiences welcomed the familiar tunes and dances in vociferous cheers.


Also on Kultscene: KCON 2016 NY’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Rounding off the first night was finally Highlight, who hit the ground running with “Plz Don’t Be Sad.” Outfitted in white long coats with personalized names on the back (Dongwoo’s appropriately had “Guapo” monogrammed), they had as much fun with the performance as audiences did dancing along to the ridiculously fun hook. It was not even their last song, but streamers already rained down as if it was. Though “Calling You,” the group’s most recent release, was another obvious pick, it felt lowkey and paled in comparison to the former song. I would rather they have traded it out for “Can You Feel It?,” the eponymous track off of their first album post-rebranding, which would have offered tighter cohesion considering the other dance songs of the headliner’s setlist. That, and I just would have really like to see “Can You Feel It?” live once, you know?

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

After exhausting their narrow discography as Highlight, the second generational group moved older fans with “Yey,” one of their more underrated bops that had the crowd on their feet even if they did not agree in the fine workmanship that went into producing the EDM track. They dug back further in their bag of tricks to also unveil the 2014 hit “Good Luck” and 2012 summer anthem “Beautiful Night,” which best describes what the evening was after their stellar performances. They had nothing but their fans in mind as they switched between their parts and tossing out plushies and taking selfies with the phones of some lucky individuals. A personal aside, but it brings me immense joy to know that a group that was once upon a time my first bias group still got it. Beast or Highlight, this is a band that simply knows what it takes to put on a show.

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

And like that, the night had finished without a hitch. Though Day One of the two-part event was now officially over, there was still a Day Two to go to. While fans were entertained by the mirthful pop songs, intricate choreography, and earnest attempts at communication of the artists, they were already looking forward to what was in store for the upcoming day. After all, what better way to fill the void left behind by post-concert depression than with another concert?

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

Inside KCON 2017 Mexico [photos]

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Curtesy of CJ E&M

Given the brand’s success in Los Angeles and New York, expectations were at an all time high for KCON 2017 Mexico — the first in not only the country, but also in all of Latin America. While most first installments of KCON in a new country last one single day, the convention and M! Countdown concert were held at the Mexico City Arena for two days, Mar. 16 and 17, and saw 33,000 attendees. And how could the turnout not be this big when the convention portion was free and the concert roster included BTS, Monsta X, Red Velvet, NCT 127, Eric Nam, EXID, Astro, and INFINITE H? They were aiming big and hit it big.

Being the first year, KCON 2017 Mexico did not run perfectly. But the lows most certainly did not overshadow the highs. There’s a lot of room for improvement, of course, but KCON Mexico probably started out more smoothly than its LA and NY counterparts. The convention was small and held little events, but at each one, fans enjoyed the most out of them.

Convention

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by Alejandro Abarca

Since the concerts would be held at the Mexico City Arena, the convention had to be held somewhere closeby. And like early KCON LAs, the convention took place at the top floor of the venue’s parking lot. Unfortunately, this didn’t make for the most accessible nor spacious. The line to get into the convention circled the actual arena and lead up about three flights of stairs. Moreover, most of the vendors were cramped together. It did work, however, given that there was no other space available around that could fit a convention of this size.

The vendors, though limited, carried everything a K-pop fan would want to buy. From popular K-beauty brands like Tony Moly and CJ IMC, to local stores selling K-pop merch. The food options were also scarce, but it covered the all basics like kimbap, topokki, mandu, and diverse dessert options.

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by Alejandro Abarca

Viki and DramaFever were also both there, offering freebies and fun games to the attendees. The dance workshop space was big, which was ideal, especially when popular YouTubers Jun Curry Ahn and JRE went on stage to learn the choreography for BTS’ “Not Today.”

kcon mexico kpop convention kpop

by Alejandro Abarca


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

Panels & Workshops

Panels and workshops were also scarce, with only one tent dedicated to each. But as aforementioned, this was the first installment of KCON Mexico, so it’s expected.

What wasn’t expected, however, is the fans reactions to popular YouTubers and influencers. Fans coming out of the fan engagements crying and huddling with each other to share their fan cams were a common sight, and it’s something that happens a lot in KCON LA and NY too. In Mexico though, fans would cry, scream, and follow all the YouTubers on panels and workshops like if they were idols themselves.

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by Alejandro Abarca

During KenroVlogs’ panel, fans crowded the small stage and stood on the chairs to get the best look at him. Other fans waited outside the panelists’ lounge, waiting for JRE, and Jun Curry Ahn, and pretty much everyone who might be inside, chanting their names, hoping they come outside. And they did. Sometimes.

Viki hosted a couple of panels throughout both days centered on the contrast between the Mexican and Korean cultures — with a K-drama focus, of course. A few of their Mexican subbers talked about their experiences working for them and about their favorite dramas. They also talked about the disparity of them with Mexican telenovelas. Fans during the questions portion largely called them “vulgar” and non-creative, and expressed their desire for a much needed revamp. DramaFever, for their part, also hosted a workshop with one of the stars of their drama Oh My Grace, which they produced.

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by Alejandro Abarca

On another panel, Mexican YouTubers Double Trouble en Corea came all the way from Korea for the event and were also received by many passionately screaming fans who wanted to take pictures with them. For their panel, the sister duo disproved a lot of myths that fans have about living in Korea and K-pop idols. They also talked about what they most miss about Mexico and the Korean amenities and lifestyle options they can no longer live without (namely, the fast internet).

Red Carpet

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by Alejandro Abarca

A classic portion of every KCON is the red carpet, when all the artists performing that night come out to quickly greet fans and the media in their best outfits right before the show. However, in recent years, it’s become the place to see the SM Entertainment artists up close, given that they don’t have fan engagement events (or at least not since EXO and f(x) at KCON LA 2013).

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by Alejandro Abarca

Compared to other KCONs in LA and NY, the red carpet in Mexico was rushed, but at the same time, the artists were so spaced out among them that the MC, Korean Lover Joon, often ran out of things to say to the audience. Each artist answered around one question or two from the MC, posed rapidly for the cameras and fans, and then left. The concerts didn’t start until an hour and a half or two after the end of the red carpet, so maybe they needed to eat? Rest? Who knows…

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by Alejandro Abarca


Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 2 Concert Recap

Viki Event

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by Alejandro Abarca

After KCON 2017 Mexico ended, Viki held an almost secret K-drama and K-pop party on Mar. 18 at Coffee KKot. Fans who were lucky enough to cop a free ticket were treated to breakfast and coffee, plus a bunch of K-pop and K-drama related games. Not to mention some of the most screamed after YouTubers at KCON like Latina Saram and KenroVlogs hosted mini fan meets, where fans got to take pictures with them and win awesome prizes.

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by Alejandro Abarca

Check out the rest of the pictures from KCON 2017 Mexico, including all the red carpet ones.

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Have you ever attended any of the KCONs around the world? Share your thoughts and experience with us 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 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 2 Concert Recap

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by Alejandro Abarca

When KCON arrives in a new city for the first time, they generally hold just one concert night. Not in Mexico City, though. For the inaugural installment, KCON 2017 Mexico hosted two M! Countdown shows. And while more fans showed up the day prior to support BTS, concertgoers there to see Monsta X, Red Velvet, Astro, INFINITE H, and Eric Nam (yes, again!) also witnessed an awesome show on Mar. 18.

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by Alejandro Abarca

The pre-show kicked off just like previous installments of KCON in the US have, with a performance of violinist and YouTuber Jun Curry Ahn. This time around he played Crush’s “Beautiful,” which is the OST for the drama Goblin. He also played BTS’ “Spring Day.”

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by Alejandro Abarca

The first artist up for the second and last night of KCON Mexico was Astro, who started out their set with “Breathless.” Their stage’s graphics were a huge pop of color, which complemented their concept perfectly, as well as their songs. And other than singing “Only You” and a ballad, they performed “Should’ve Held On,” revealing that it was the first time they’d perform the song.

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by Alejandro Abarca

For KCON Mexico’s second night, Eric Nam came back to serve primarily as the official MC. But after Astro, Red Velvet’s Irene and Seulgi came out to present the next performers: fellow member Wendy and Eric. The singers performed their SM Station song “Sweet Love,” and said it was the first time they’d performed it together. This performance lead to Eric’s solo performance, which meant that, though not officially announced, he performed both KCON nights. And even if he didn’t deliver a full set, he performed “Can’t Help Myself” and “Heaven’s Door,” which he didn’t do the previous night. For the latter’s performance, however, he didn’t have a guest rapper to stand in for Loco this time and just danced through it.

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by Alejandro Abarca


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

Cutely struggling through her Spanish lines, Wendy served as the MC for this portion of the show and introduced the next performer, Monsta X. A highly anticipated performance of the night, the group’s set started out with Jooheon and IM’s fiery rendition of “That’s My Future.” This perfectly set the pace for their entire set, because that’s what a Monsta X performance is: lit. The rest of the members joined the rappers on stage and delved into “Fighter,” “Trespass,” and “Hero.”

And just like the first night, the “Piñata Time” segment made a comeback. Before the piñata spun, Monsta X were cracking jokes and stating their preference for the outcomes. Jooheon proudly declared, “I like kiss time,” in English. The winning mission, however, was love song, to which they sang “White Sugar.” But their performance had to end on a high note with just as much power as they’d started so they ended with “All In,” much to the delight of screaming fangirls at the mere sight of their exposed abs.

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by Alejandro Abarca

KCON Mexico had a sudden 180 degree switch up as the stage went from dark and manly-looking to an explosion of color and quirky graphics. Red Velvet sans Joy, who went back to Korea after their performance at SXSW in Texas for her drama shooting, immediately went into “Rookie” and “Dumb Dumb.” After this, the group gave — or at least attempted to — their greeting to the audience, but they were caught off guard an intense furor from the fans who chanted their names and screamed at the top of their lungs. The four girls looked both surprised and touched by the reception. They weren’t even the headliners but their fans had shown up in large numbers to support them.

This segued into “Piñata Time,” where their winning mission was “photo time.” Red Velvet gave the crowd many cute poses which, again, were received with loud approval. To close their set, the group’s final song was “Russian Roulette.” Even missing a member, Red Velvet did not miss a step or note, and covered Joy’s position in the choreographies.

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by Alejandro Abarca

One of the key elements of every KCON M! Countdown show are always the special stages. Eric talked about the massive popularity K-dramas have in Mexico, and mentioned a few of the most popular there. This talk lead to the aforementioned special stage. Singing “Beautiful” from the most popular drama in Mexico Goblin, Monsta X’s Kihyun gave an ethereal rendition of Crush’s heartfelt song.

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by Alejandro Abarca

hoya infinite h kcon mexico 2017

by Alejandro Abarca

The last act of the night was INIFINITE’s rap line subgroup Infinite H. Their set started out with a video message from the rest of the members both introducing the duo and apologizing for not being there as a whole. As the video ended, a few purple spotlights appeared and Hoya came out with an interpretive dance rendition of Lukas Graham’s “7 Years.” Dongwoo followed up, together with their dancers, dancing to a Bruno Mars song.

dongwoo infinite h kcon mexico 2017

by Alejandro Abarca


Also on KultScene: 5 Fave Moments from Giriboy & Blacknut’s San Francisco Show

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by Alejandro Abarca

Infinite H kicked off their set with their latest release “Pretty,” which the audience waved their hands and sang along to. Even though the crowd didn’t know all of their songs, they still danced and swayed to “Without U” and “Special Girl.” Moreover, all the fangirls squealed with “Sorry I’m Busy,” one of their most rap heavy songs, to which they delivered plenty of body rolls.

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by Alejandro Abarca

And with that, the concert came to a close. Unlike the previous night, all the groups and Eric came out to wave the crowds goodbye. The INFINITE H members danced and grooved to other group’s songs, especially Monsta X. Astro, for their part, sang along to Red Velvet’s “Rookie” while pointing at themselves for being the super rookies they are. The all held hands and bowed out as millions of confetti dropped upon the audience. Most groups exited the stage after a short while, but INFINITE H stayed back to keep dancing and hug each other and deliver plenty of fan service.

astro kcon mexico 2017

by Alejandro Abarca

Considering it was the first installment, KCON Mexico surely delivered. They brought A-list groups who delivered top notch performances. Eric Nam deserves extra kudos for his Spanish skills, and Red Velvet gets an A for effort. INFINITE H and Monsta X gave their all in their choreographies, as did Red Velvet, whilst melting fanboys and girls’ hearts. And, of course, Astro made us cringe from the cuteness, proving to be a fun group to stan.

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by Alejandro Abarca

KCON Mexico ended setting the bar high. Higher than Los Angeles and New York did in their first installments, that’s for sure. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s show, as well as the upcoming LA and NY conventions. KCON Mexico set the tone for an awesome year and we can’t wait for the US KCONs this summer.

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by Alejandro Abarca

What’s your favorite KCON Mexico act? Tell us what you think 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 Fave Moments from Giriboy & Blacknut’s San Francisco Show

giriboy blacknut san francisco sf concert show korean hop rap krap khip hop

On Mar. 25, Korean hip-hop stars, Giriboy and Blacknut came to San Francisco and conquered the stage at one of the hottest night clubs, The Grand. Giriboy and Blacknut first gained international fame when they joined the cast of Korea’s Number one hip-hop show Show Me The Money and have been making waves ever since. Although the concert didn’t start until midnight, the dance floor was filled with fans hours before the show who were ready to party with their favorite Korean rappers! The whole show was amazing but here are some of our favorite moments.

The Club Atmosphere

The room was jammed packed with people and bright lights, with the DJ playing the latest hits as confetti fell from the ceiling. It was the perfect environment for the energetic duo that was about to hit the stage. By the time the opening talent for the K Hip Hop Fest started, the crowd was already wild!

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

Giriboy’s Stealthiness

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The Grand, although big, offered a very intimate stage where fans were just a couple feet away from the performers. Since there were VIP tables all around the stage, all of the opening rappers were up there hanging out and having a good time when, although there was a very clear route to the stage, Giriboy seemed to appear out of thin air. Everyone gasped and then yelled ‘Giriboy!’ once they realized he was on stage. His presence commanded the room and just like the best things in life, he appeared out of nowhere and was gone quicker than we could imagine.

Blacknut’s Antics: ‘My name is GD’

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Blacknut’s antics were everything we could dream of and more! When he came on stage, the amount of energy he brought with him was intense. The whole crowd was so hyped! However, nothing could prepare us for what he had in store. As Blacknut started his set he introduced himself by saying “Hi, my name is GD… Ladies, if you think I’m hot just throw me your bra!”

 


Also on KultScene: 5 Reasons To Watch “Unnies Slam Dunk Season 2”

That Giriboy/Blacknut Duo!

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When Giriboy said ‘last song’, the whole crowd was sad. But that quickly ended as we received a pleasant surprise: the beginning of Blacknut’s set and the night’s hottest collaboration. The pair put on an amazing performance of the Giriboy classic “Rain Showers,” which got the whole crowd going crazy!

Blacknut Shirtless: No Musele

 No that is not a typo. Blacknut continued to surprise us as the night went on. The most unforgettable moment was when he took off his shirt and revealed his bare skin with a special message on his abs, ‘No Musele.’ Even if you don’t have any muscles, Blacknut, we still love you!

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What’s your favorite Giriboy and/or Blacknut song? Tell us what you think 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 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

bts bangtan kcon mexico 2017 17 concert

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Expectations were at an all time high for the day one concert of the inaugural KCON 2017 Mexico — the first in Latin America, no less. The night of Mar. 17, KCON Mexico-goers were treated to a sold out M! Countdown show on Mar. 17 at the Mexico City Arena. This time around, the performers were BTS, Eric Nam, EXID, and NCT 127. There was even a surprise special stage by day two performer Astro.

Kicking off the night at 7:30 p.m., the pre-show began with an opening performance by the Korean Cultural Center in Mexico City with a rendition of traditional Korean drum music and was MC-ed by Joon, a Korean presenter who works in Mexican media. Shortly after, the official M! Countdown began and fans — who had already been screaming and wailing every time a song played over the speakers during the wait– went into a frenzy. For the intro, every group came out to wave at the crowds. Eric Nam, who has proven his Spanish speaking skills in After School Club before, served as the official MC.

In a weird twist of events, instead of having rookie group NCT 127 open KCON 2017 Mexico’s concert, it was actually BTS. Storming on stage, the septet opened their set with their latest single “Not Today,” then slowed things down with “Spring Day.” Army’s, BTS’ fandom, presence was definitely palpable in the Arena, given that their furor was felt throughout the rest of the group’s performances with “Save Me,” “Blood Sweat Tears,” and the perfect closer “Fire.”

bts kcon mexico 2017 17 concert

Courtesy of CJ E&M

For KCON Mexico, groups played a game called “Piñata Time,” where essentially a cartoon piñata spun on the screens and landed on a specific mission the artists must do. BTS’ landed on “kiss,” prompting Jin to blow kisses at the cameras, and then “photo time.” For the latter, the members told the fans to pull up their cameras and then proceeded to make a series of poses — cute, thumbs up, and finger hearts — for them.

After the performance, Eric Nam was joined on stage by EXID’s Jeonghwa and said that this was her group’s first time in the country. And, after a few games with the fans, they introduced a special stage by Hani, who sang “Ecos de Amor” by Mexican group Jesse y Joy in Spanish. Then came the aforementioned Astro stage, who did an upbeat version of the classic “La Bamba,” complete with a rap verse and playful choreography.

astro kcon mexico 2017 17 concert

Courtesy of CJ E&M


Also on KultScene: 5 things we want to see at the Giriboy & Blacknut K-Hip Hop Fest

Right on queue, the lights went out and a video of Eric Nam performing “Can’t Help Myself” backstage with his dancers came come the big screens before they came out themselves and finished off the song. And since the original featured rapper Loco wasn’t there for the show, NCT 217’s Taeyong stepped up for the rap verse. Eric then performed “Body” and “Good For You,” complete with awkward dances and all.

For his turn at “Piñata Time,” it landed on “love song.” “How did you know I’m a sweet guy?” he said in Spanish, keeping “sweet guy” in English. The camera then looked for a fan in the audience, to whom Eric sang “You, Who?” acapella. But he quickly went back to his shenanigans with “Into You,” dancing and jumping all over the place. Unexpectedly, the last song he performed was “Ooh Ooh,” which he promised he’d do “next time” at KCON 16 NY, even though he in fact did not at KCON 16 LA. With Infinite’s Hoya performing the next concert night, fans were eager to see if he’d show up for his rap verse. But nope. The audio played and Eric and his dancers kept on dancing sans Hoya.

eric nam kcon mexico 2017 17 concert

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Being one of the only two girl groups performing at KCON Mexico, EXID fans showed up to support them. Unfortunately, the group was missing member Solji, who’s taking a break to recover from a health condition. Regardless, the rest of the members powered through “L.I.E,” “Ah Yeah,” and “Hot Pink.” Even though Solji and her vocals were missed, Hyejin held her own singing the full choruses on every song and seemed very happy every time fans would cheer for her while she sang. Moreover, the clear crowd pleasers were pre-viral fame “Every Night” and the song that made them what they are, “Up & Down.”

exid hani kcon le 2017 17 concert

Courtesy of CJ E&M

As a rookie group, it was surprising that NCT 127 was the last act to perform at the first night of KCON Mexico. However, once on stage, it seemed like they had been closing out stadiums for years. Their set started out very EXO-y with an opening dance performance by Taeyong, who was later joined by more members. But once they were done, they exited the stage and Johnny ascended playing a remix of “Fire Truck” on the turn tables. It was the perfect intro for said song, which he doesn’t participate in. Also without some of the members, only Taeil, Doyoung, and Jaehyun performed “Without You.”

Adding to the oddness of having a rookie group close, there was the fact that NCT 127 only has a couple of singles under their belt. This was not a problem, though. Truth is, the group has more than a few stellar B-sides, and Mark and Taeyong killed it with “Mad City,” while the rest of the group delivered an amazing performance of “Good Thing.”


Also on KultScene: Is K.A.R.D the future of K-pop?

Moreover, KCON always gives way for special performances, and this was no different. NCT 127 recycled their sunbaenim (senior label mates) Super Junior’s performance of the Brazilian song “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” with mostly the same choreography the latter used during their Latin American leg of their Super Show 5 and Super Camp. Staying on concept, they followed it up with a rendition of “Sorry Sorry.” A few more dance performances by Win Win and Taeyong followed before ending it all with their latest, “Limitless.”

kcon mexico 2017 17 concert nct 127

Courtesy of CJ E&M

For the show’s closing, all the acts came out to wave goodbye at the audience except for BTS. And while a longer set by them would’ve been appreciated, NCT 127 came through and delivered a show worthy of a headliner. Eric Nam was beyond cute with his Spanish and even managed to get a few zingers in, like making fun of fans for screaming at him while he was drinking water. BTS might have been short on time (they flew to Brazil right after their performance), but those five songs left everyone craving more. And, unsurprisingly, EXID’s choreographies were among the highlights of the night, not to mention LE’s fiery raps live.

The first concert seemed like the day to attend given BTS’ fans had showed up in droves to support them. However, with groups like Monsta X and Red Velvet performing the next day, expectations and excitement were at an all time high. The fans in attendance on day one poured their souls out with fan chants, singing, dancing, and just overall fangirl(boy)ing. The second night further proved that fans in Mexico are beyond passionate, but that’s a review for another day…

What’s your favorite act from KCON 2017 Mexico? Share 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.

5 things we want to see at the Giriboy & Blacknut K-Hip Hop Fest

Korean Hip Hop Super Stars Giriboy and Blacknut are coming to Cali! They will be the main stars at the WESKE K Hip Hop Fest 2017 San Francisco & Los Angeles. These two have been making waves in the Korean hip hop scene for quite some time now and gained international recognition when they participated in Korea’s first hip hop competition show, the popular Show Me The Money.

The U.S has been fortunate enough to continuously get waves of getting Korean hip hop for the past few years due to its popularity. However, this will be Giriboy & Blacknut’s first solo performance stateside. The multi talented rappers will be performing at Live 333 in Los Angeles on March 24th and The Grand Nightclub in San Francisco on March 25th.

WESKE is still selling tickets, so you haven’t missed your chance yet. Get tickets to either San Francisco or Los Angeles, right here. Tickets are nearly sold out so make sure to buy them up quickly! For more details, you can also visit their Facebook page.

We seriously can’t wait for this reunion, but in the meantime here are 5 things we want to see at the shows:

Giriboy Collaborations

Giriboy has collaborated with everyone in the game. Seriously, he raps, he sings, he writes, he produces. Is there anything this boy doesn’t do? PLUS, with a long list of special guests, you know it’s going to be crazy. If you’re not familiar with Giriboy, there are so many out there, including this one from Monsta X‘s pre-debut reality show, No.Mercy. We’ll let the music speak for itself. What’s your favorite Giriboy collab?

Blacknut’s performance of “What Can I Do” and “Beenzino”

Although Blacknut was known for his unapologetic and raw behavior in Show Me The Money 4, he showed us there’s much more to him than his no chill personality. During the finale he debuted his song, “What Can I Do” featuring female rapper and singer Jessi. This honest rap to himself talks about the difficulties one can face when chasing your dream. The performance itself is dope but what really gets us are those lyrics!


The song “Beenzino,” which is about Blacknut’s desire to be like the famous Korean rapper Beenzino, showcases Blacknut’s skills and humor. AKA everything we love about him so much. He always shows us just how down to earth he is. Honestly, how could we not love this song? We’re all fanboy/fangirl of someone, right?


Also on KultScene: 10 SHINee B-sides to know before ‘SHINee World V in USA’

Giriboy’s Smile

Talented with a charming smile? You know we couldn’t leave this off our list. Giriboy is talented and an absolute charmer. If you attend either show, feel free to spam @KultScene with pictures of his pearly whites… (You only think we’re joking!) 

Blacknut’s Unpredictability

Known for his crazy antics, we can’t wait to see what Blacknut pulls off in California! There’s two nights for Blacknut to surprise us, and we’ll eagerly anticipate what happens! Maybe he’ll pull us on stage and give us pillows? You never really know with him…

Everyone Going Crazy on Stage

Korean hip hop has a raw, unfiltered energy that makes us love it so much. Bring that energy to Cali’s nightclubs, and you know that the show is going to be crazy! We can’t wait to see everyone wilding out and stage and joining them in the crowd!

If you miss out, we feel bad for you son. We got 99 concerts, but ain’t missing this one.

What’s your favorite Giriboy and/or Blacknut song? Share 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.