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?
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…
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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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’.
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.
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