KCON 2016 LA’s M! Countdown Day 2 Concert Recap

bts kcon la los angeles 2016 16 m countdown

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If KCON’s first concert night was amazing, there was little to prepare attendees for the pandemonium that was day two. For the second and final night on July 31, fans were treated to a first-rate show filled with the hottest names in K-pop at the moment: BTS, TWICE, Girls’ Generation TTS, Monsta X, Eric Nam, Davichi, and Astro. In total, the fifth edition of KCON drew 76,000 fans and sold out both M! Countdown shows at the iconic Staples Center. KCON LA 2016 Presented by Toyota’s second concert night proved that K-pop is no longer reigned by the second generation groups. It is a new era in K-pop and fans in the U.S. are ready for it.

For the pre-show, indie act Echae en Route graced the stage with their delicate performance. But the unexpected yet incredibly entertaining performance was presented by Xplore Taekwondo Team, who flew and soared on stage with their fierce moves, kicking boards ten feet on the air. The crowd cheered and clapped so loudly for them, it was as if they were the stars of the show. And in that moment, they were. BTS, who?

monsta x kcon 2016 16 m countdown la los angeles

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With the crowd’s energy hyped up, Monsta X opened the main show with a solo performance of rapper Jooheon’s “Yessir.” Spitting fire, the rest of the members later joined him and delved into energetic and — dare I say– sexy performances of “All In,” “Hero,” and “Tresspass.” Monsta X may have opened KCON’s M! Countdown for a second year in a row, but unlike last year when they were a couple of months into their debut, their devoted fans were present and bopping to all of their tracks. Monsta X is, indeed, a group to watch out for…

astro kcon 2016 los angeles la 16 m countdown

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Also on KultScene: KCON 2016 LA’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Giving the show a stark 180 degree turn, Astro came out dancing cutely and all smiles and aegyo with “Breathless,” “Cat’s Eye,” and “Hide & Seek.” While the lesser known group of the entire lineup, the group managed to captivate the crowd with their infectious cheery vibe. The high spirits were carried on when girl group TWICE followed them, decked out in varsity jackets and short shorts. It was their first performance at KCON, let alone the U.S., but when the whole Staples Centered chanted out “Sha Sha Sha” during “Cheer Up,” it was clear. TWICE had made it as Hallyu stars in less than a year since debut. The positive reception of “I’m Gonna Be a Star,” “Like Ooh-Aah,” and their intros by male and female fans alike only further solidified the notion that TWICE is a top-tier group now.

twice kcon la los angeles 2016 16 m countdown

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Next up was another K-pop fave for the U.S. audience, Eric Nam. While the ex-ASC emcee had been a regular at KCON — hosting Red Carpet and holding fan engagements, — he hadn’t had the chance to actually perform. That changed this year with KCON NY and later LA when he was added to the lineup last minute. His performance, however, was on point and in no way less prepared or stellar than the rest of the acts. Fans sang along to “Good For You” and even did the point dance in “Can’t Help Myself.” Moreover, Eric had two collaboration stages, singing “Into You” with singer KOLAJ and “I Just Wanna” with BFF Amber, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. Eric also took a moment during his set to talk about being an ambassador for CJ UNESCO Girls’ Education campaign and drawing attention to its importance. Which draws the question: is Eric Nam a feminist? We hope so.

eric nam kcon 2016 los angeles la 16 m countdown

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After Eric’s lively set and overall persona, things turned heart-wrenching thanks to balladist Davichi. The got everyone in the feels with their renditions of “This Love” and “Don’t Say Goodbye.” But not all was gloom and doom for they also performed “8282,” which is a trot/disco track that had all the ahjussis and youngsters alike dancing. And to continue with the disco-ey vibe, TWICE followed up with a special stage, singing to “Uptown Funk” and Monsta X with “Moves Like Jagger.”

davichi kcon 2016 los angeles la 16 m countdown

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Sparkling onto the stage, Girls’ Generation TTS charmed everyone with “Twinkle,” “Holler,” and “Only You.” Taeyeon, Seohyun, and Tiffany received a warm welcome from the crowd, especially the latter, considering it was her birthday, they were performing in her hometown, and they were on the eve of SNSD’s ninth anniversary since debut. So after asking the crowd what time it was and announcing it was “party time,” the trio performed a surprising yet much appreciated version of “Party.”

girls generation tts taetiseo snsd kcon 2016 los angeles la 16 m countdown tiffany seohyun taeyeon

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Also on KultScene: An Ode to SHINee on the Eve of KCON LA 2016

Girls’ Generation are legends in K-pop and no one can take that away from them. But as mentioned before, times are changing, and nothing embodied this notion than the overall madness that erupted once BTS showed up on screen. They opened up with the ethereal “Forever Young” as fans were in full frenzy. But then the first beat for “Fire” dropped and the entire Staples Center, well, got lit. Their sharp moves and chants of “Fire” resonated through the whole arena, which made it feel like if it were their solo show — and the guys knew it. The demeanor with which they carried themselves through “Save Me” and “Cypher Part 3” showed they know they’re popular and that the venue was filled with their fans. Just like SHINee before them, only the headliners could pull off performing a b side track and having the crowd react to it positive. And while they were rapping to “Cypher Part 3,” hands were in the air, dancing took place, and it was overall dope… Just like their closing song. Marking it the end of the concert and KCON 2016 altogether, there couldn’t be a better suited song than “Dope,” which made everyone jam out to the fullest. And when they were done, it was set in stone. KCON was BTS’.

bts kcon 2016 los angeles la 16 m coutdown

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With that, another year of KCON came and went. It’s crazy to think that there’s still a next year to top. And while it’s hard to fathom someone topping both SHINee and BTS, we can’t wait for what 2017 will hold.

amber eric nam kcon 2016 los angeles la 16 f(x) m countdown

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What do you think of the KCON 2016 performances? 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.

KCON 2016 LA’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

kcon shinee 2016 m countdown

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To say the concert portion of KCON 2016 LA Presented by Toyota was bigger than ever is an understatement. Because not only was M! Countdown held in the Staples Center for the second year, but the July 30 show was sold out and featured some of the hottest names in Hallyu right now. For day one, the line up was a diverse mix of pop and R&B with I.O.I, Dean, GFriend, f(x)’s Amber, Block B, Turbo, and headliners SHINee.

Kicking off the pre-show, Korean hip-hop duo Eluphant got things going by performing a three song set including “B There” from their latest album “Man on the Moon.” Despite rappers Minos and Kebee being largely unknown by the crowd, their performances set the pace for an upbeat evening. Thereafter, the legendary Quincy Jones granted a scholarship to a Berklee College of Music student and even gave past alumni, such as 2NE1’s Park Bom and PSY, a shoutout.

lee minho kcon 2016 m countdown

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But the Staples Center didn’t actually erupt in screams and squeals until none other than the king of Hallyu himself Lee Minho came onstage to officially commence the main event. While he wanted to remain collected throughout his speech –which was aired live through KCON.TV, by the way — he couldn’t help to crack in smiles and laughter after the audience began chanting his name. It may have been brief, but his appearance was a definite highlight of the night for many in attendance across age groups and gender.

kcon kpop i.o.i ioi 2016

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Also on KultScene: Fei’s “Fantasy” Music Video & Song Review

The first act of the night was none other than the girl group I.O.I. They got the Staples Center thumping with their earworm “Pick Me” and a couple more songs as they danced in signature K-pop unison. Through their English-speaking members Somi and Chungha, I.O.I expressed their excitement to be there and promoted their upcoming work as a sub-unit. Next up was this year’s breakout star; the R&B singer/songwriter Dean. KCON marked the “Bonnie and Clyde” singer’s third LA show this year — a huge growth in five short months since the first that warranted his spot on the lineup. And for a few minutes, what seemed like the whole arena sang along to “I’m Not Sorry” before Dean’s set was up and the next girl group emerged, proving the singer’s fans had shown up to support him.

kcon 2016 dean m countdown

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Another group that has shot into stardom in the short few months since their debut last year is GFriend. The lovely ladies decked in athletic wear didn’t disappoint with the knife-like choreography they’re known for as they performed “Me Gustas Tu,” “Rough,” and their latest “Navillera.” For the first time in KCON’s five years of existence, GFriend and I.O.I managed to bring out the boys to the concerts, for their presence was even more visible and audible than last year.

gfriend kcon 2016 m countdown

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After GFriend, fans were surprised by a special stage with Block B’s Zico performing his solo “Boys and Girls” with the help of fellow member U-Kwon. The chemistry between the fellow members was undeniable and treat for everyone, as they danced to the choreography together and bounced verses off each other. Immediately after, from the other smaller stage, Dean ascended crooning “Pour Up,” which Zico joined in with his stellar rap verse. Both songs were unexpected yet greatly appreciated once in a lifetime performances for US fans who never expected to see the collabs live.

Next up was LA native Amber, who came out on a skateboard accompanied by more skaters and did a fun performance of “Shake That Brass,” with the help of I.O.I’s Chungha for Taeyeon’s part. But it all turned too real for the singer when she expressed her gratitude of performing in her hometown as a soloist and being received so warmly. It was the perfect preface for her performance of “Borders,” which the audience witnessed the first ever performance of the song.

amber f(x) kcon 2016 m countdown

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For newer K-pop fans, Turbo’s set was not a high point in the night. For older fans, however, it was one of the rare moments where they stood up and cheered along like the teenagers and 20-somethings around them. Fronted by Running Man’s Kim Jong Kook, Turbo dusted off their hits “Lovable” and “Reminiscence,” their 2015 single “Again,” and even brought Astro and GFriend as their backup dancers for “Twist King.” By the end of their set, they had made everyone in the crowd dance along with them, even if they didn’t know the songs for their performance was just that contagious.

kcon 2016 turbo m countdown kpop

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Also on KultScene: Yoo Seung-Ho Shines in Comedic Caper “Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River”

After Turbo bowed out, Block B turned brought the pace down with “Toy” and “A Few Years Later,” then turned it back way up with “Her” and “Very Good.” Fans squealed through P.O.’s verse on “A Few Years Later” and rocked out to “Very Good,” making it apparent that despite the ordeal they went through a couple of years back, fans are still here for Block B and they’re not extinguishing any time soon. Unfortunately, Kyung missed out on the performance, but the rest of Block B — with all their dabs and Zico’s use of AAVE — more than made up for it and delivered a great stage for the second year in a row at KCON.

kcon 2016 block b m countdown

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But the peak for KCON’s first concert night was indisputably headliner SHINee and the potential for a mini SHINee World (their signature concert) like fans got last year with Super Junior and SHINHWA. It seemed attendees were in for the same deal when the group opened their set with “Into the SHINee World,” which features a few verses from “Replay,” sending fans into a frenzy. The madness continued as the quintet dived into “View” and the fan favorites “An Encore” and “Beautiful.” Unfortunately, with such a large lineup, fans didn’t get more songs or medleys from them like last year’s headliners. And yet, to wrap up, SHINee still delivered an amazing performance of “Everybody” to close out the concert. The crowd might not have witnessed more of their hits, but their performances were still stellar and worthy of the headlining spot.

kcon 2016 m countdown shinee

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And with that, KCON’s first night of concerts ended. This concert showed how Hallyu encompasses not only traditional K-pop groups, but is already opening up to R&B and hip-hop and following the trends of ‘90s nostalgia. Also, the night showed that there is a place for male fans and they can be just as passionate as women. The second night further reinforced these notions, plus so much more — but more on that later.

kcon 2016 m countdown f(x) amber key shinee

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What do you think of the KCON 2016 performances? 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.

Tips on How to Maximize Your KCON 2016 Experience

how to survive kcon tips new york los angeles 2016

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when thousands of fans flock to New York and Los Angeles for the annual mega Hallyu event, KCON USA. It’s a K-pop’s fan Coachella and Comic Con all in one; it not only offers a convention filled with booths featuring vendors and fandoms alike, along with panels featuring industry insiders, but KCON also brings some of our favorite artists over from Korea.

This year, KCON NY will be held on June 24 and 25 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. Tickets have been on sale for awhile and have been going quick. And with a lineup including BTS, Seventeen, and Day6, who’s surprised?

On the other hand, KCON LA comes a month later on July 29, 30, and 3, returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center and Staples Center for the second year. And while last year’s lineup was a hard one to beat, this time around we’re getting SHINee, BTS, Girls’ Generation-TTS, and more. Combo and platinum tickets go on sale on June 10, and the single ones on June 13 at 1 p.m. EST.

Some of you may have attended the different KCONs before, and some of you haven’t. The KultScene staff has attended most installments throughout the years, so we’re KCON pros by this point. So after watching K-pop YouTuber JRE’s video on tips to survive the event, we thought we’d chime in with a few of our suggestions so you can maximize your experience to the fullest.

Don’t Wear Uncomfortable Clothes

Always do you. If you’re cosplaying or going for a look that includes platforms, heels, heavy jacket, tight skirt, or what have you and you feel you can handle it, go for it. With that said, it’s not the best idea. Considering the convention is an all-day event that starts in mid-morning where you’ll be walking from one end to another, standing in lines, rarely sitting down at all (even during panels, those get packed too!) and is followed by the concert almost immediately, you should wear something comfy. Not to mention KCON New York is held outdoors and it gets pretty hot in June. Don’t get us wrong, we encourage dressing your stylish best, but do you really need to wear heels? We think not.

KCON 15 LA KultScene

Bring water and snacks

If it’s sealed, you usually may bring in water and other goodies into the convention. You will find food vendors inside, but last year in LA wasn’t as diverse or big as previous installments at the old venue. Plus, the food is sometimes expensive, so if you’re saving your money for that BTS high-touch, $3 or $5 for water will be too much.

Bibigo KCON 15 LA KultScene

Also Bring Tissues and Sunscreen

The convention in LA might be indoors and air conditioned again, but New York is not so lucky. If you’re planning on spending the whole day at the convention, protect your skin with some sunscreen. The tissues will also come in handy for sweating. Not to mention when you get in your feelings when you see your bias.

Also on KultScene: Hoody ‘Like You’ Music Video & Song Review

Expect Long Lines for Panels Featuring Celebrities

In some occasions, a celebrity is added to a specific panel during the convention. For example, last year we saw model Irene Kim and actor Ki Hong Lee on a couple of panels and, well, let’s say not everyone who wanted to see them got to get into the room. For the first, many people stood against the walls, and for the second, a huge line formed outside of the room and half didn’t even get to go in. Moral of the story, plan ahead.

Irene Kim KCON 15 LA KultScene

Bring Cash for Fan Engagement Vouchers

Once you register for the convention and pick up your scratch-off vouchers, depending on how expensive your ticket was and luck, you’ll get passes for high-touch, fan engagement, or red carpet. Unfortunately, if you got a cheap ticket, your chances are virtually zero for any of the aforementioned opportunities as opposed to people with P1 tickets who will probably get more than a few. But don’t fret. Not everyone wants to see or touch your bias. While the odds of getting the high touch you want in the lottery are low, there will be people who are willing to sell them. So if you really, really want it, you’ll have to pay for it on the spot before someone else with the cash on hand takes it. Some people are pros at this and know they can make a few dollars, so be prepared.

Expect Standing in Line for at Least an Hour Prior to a Fan Engagement

You made it! You have your voucher for the fan engagement and you’ll get to see your bias group. Line up at least an hour before it begins. And for really popular acts, or even the red carpet, people line up a couple of hours beforehand. Be sure to constantly check when lines form and ask what the lines are for. That is, of course, if you want a good spot. If not, you can pretty much just get there five minutes prior and you’ll be good standing in the back.

Check out the Fandom Booths

While KCON’s main attractions are the concert and the fan engagements, the convention also has lots to offer. Take the fandom booths for example. These are only dedicated to promote their bias artist or group and sometimes even sell merchandise. The scoop here, however, is that these fandom booths are who you’ll be getting the banners and free swag for the concert. Last year, one Super Junior fanclub sold sapphire blue light up “Devil” horns and gave out stickers and banners. Some of these fan clubs even give out light sticks (not official, of course), so be sure to check them out.

Check out the Exhibition Booths Too

The convention is an opportunity for the sponsors to display their products. And while you’re probably not going to end up buying the Toyota car that was shown, there will be many opportunities for free swag and products. Many of these booths hold contests where you can win albums (even autographed ones!) or get free goodies, like Nongshim ramyun cups. Moreover, some booths occasionally have guests on the convention floor. Last year, GOT7 made an appearance and a few lucky fans got to interact and take pictures with them. So even if your focus is the fan engagements, take a stroll through the convention. You might be surprised by what you find.

Be on Top of the Schedule and its Changes

While it’s well produced, KCON rarely goes completely smoothly, you guys. Last year in LA, the Zion. T and Crush fan engagement time was changed last minute without much notice. Lots and lots of people missed out on it and were devastated when they arrived at the assigned time only to learn it had already happened hours before. A few years back, the Crayon Pop fan engagement was cancelled even after people had already traded their vouchers for it and stood in line waiting. So if there’s a particular fan engagement or panel you want to attend, check the schedule and KCON’s Twitter like crazy or download the app on your phone.

Keep an Eye out for the Convention Stage

Other than the major stage inside the Prudential Center and the Staples, the convention itself sets up a smaller stage for mini shows and surprise appearances. In previous years, acts like DANakaDAN and Jun Curry Ahn have performed in the outdoor stage (when KCON LA was held in the Memorial Sports Arena). Last year in LA, GOT7 appeared as surprise guests in a fashion show, while Buzzfeed’s the Try Guys also had a mini performance for one of their videos.

got7 beyond closet KCON 15 LA KultScene

Pace your Fan Girling/Boying

If your bias is having a fan engagement and performing and having surprise appearances, you will not be ok. Add the heat and the overall tiredness of the convention and it will take a toll on you. Remember to eat and hydrate yourself, and also take time to just chill.

Also on KultScene: CLC’s “Nu.Clear” Album Review

Line up for the Concert Somewhat Early

As mentioned before, KCON rarely runs flawlessly. And we know what you’re thinking: “I have a seated ticket, I don’t need to line up.” Well, you’d be surprised. Last year, the lines to go into the Staples Center at KCON LA were so long and the process of getting people in didn’t go as smoothly as hoped, so the event started off while people were still lining up. This writer, for one, missed the whole pre-show and half of Monsta X’s set. You spent a lot of money on KCON tickets, enjoy it to the fullest!

Look out for the KultScene Team Giving Out Stickers

Last but not least, the KultScene staff goes to KCON LA and NY every year and always have fun activities. Last year, we gave away lots of stickers featuring the performers and we’re doing it again! So let’s meet up either in New York or Los Angeles and enjoy KCON together.

KCON 15 LA KultScene

Check out the video that inspired this list, which also has lots of good tips:

Have you gone to KCON or are you planning to attend for the first time? Share your thoughts and advice 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.