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KCON NY 2019 ‘M! Countdown’ day 2 recap

Day 2 of any KCON is almost always even more exciting than the first. You’ve just had a full convention and some concerts but the prospect of more makes it even better. The Sunday show took a different approach to its sets than Saturday. Instead of a noticeable flow between the groups, they went for independent greatness. Each group stood on their own and showed in less time than the previous night, who they truly are.

Like the Saturday, day 2 opened with its two smaller boy groups dancing to American pop tracks. AB6IX began by performing to Charlie Puth’s “Attention” and Verivery followed with “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars. It was Verivery who took the win here easily, AB6IX were admittedly slick but uninventive. Verivery brought great gestures to the stage but best of all they made good use of each other as props. At the beginning, the group slowly moves together to form a car right as Bruno sings “magic in the aiiirrrr.” The kicker was that they even had one member wraps his arms around the member who was in the driving seat to mimic a seatbelt. Later on two members then duck down to become a turntable and even stick their fingers up to be used as knobs by the would be DJ.


Also on KultScene: INSIDE KCON NY 2019

It was the turn of the girls this time to take the first set. In what was an interesting but good call, Mnet’s very own Fromis_9 opened with recent disco b-side “Love Rumpumpum.” It’s a great indicator of the kind of the group they are, loads of fun but so technically proficient and precise at the same time. This translated into what was the tightest set of the whole weekend. Latest single “Fun” came next and really got the crowd going. They were step perfect in their routines, popping off the stage with bright colours and beaming faces. Sadly they had to condense “DKDK” in half due to time constraints but the despair lasted about a millisecond as the blistering “Love Bomb” followed directly after. They gave no time to relax, no time to ponder the short set. The speed and accuracy at which they did things meant there were no regrets with potential songs they didn’t perform.

Seventeen’s American duo, Vernon and Josh, popped up next to tell a story about journeys to space. Their song “Rocket” is a cute little track that favours being here, between sets, thanks to its easy rhythms. Vernon in particular, looked like he was having a fun and nicely relaxed time. The performance unit joined them halfway through as backup dancers, before continuing the space theme with “Moonwalk.” Again it’s not their most impressive work but that wasn’t called for yet. It’s still great to see such professionals coast through a difficult if not quite intense choreography.

 

Verivery couldn’t quite match the inventiveness of their opening dance performance but they do have the tunes to at least bring some grooves. Finding an identity in New Jack Swing, Verivery’s songs all have big beats, big chords, and big choruses. “From Now” in particular has a chorus so good and memorable that you’d be singing along by the end of song regardless of having heard it before or not. Sadly it was a case of diminishing returns from then on. “Ring Ring Ring” and “Alright” trot out similar ideas with lesser execution. “Ring Ring Ring,” again has a catchy hook but it pales next to “From Now.” They’re not quite ready for a platform like this but no doubt they’ll get there.

Another group potentially not in a place to be on this stage are AB6IX. They are technically the newest group of the weekend but have plenty of experience with former Wanna One members Daehwi and Woojin. They were, however, without the injured Woojin for all of the dances.. K-pop groups are usually masters at concealing the fact that a member is missing, Seventeen would even do it later in the night. AB6IX however, made the major mistake of having Woojin sit on a chair to do his raps. Having him sit at the edge while the four others danced in the middle of the stage made the stage feel unnecessarily huge. The space between them was always palpable.

This was doubly sad given the choreography of their stunning debut “Breathe” is reliant on member interactions. For that song they still just about made it work but their other two, “Shining Stars” and “Hollywood” proved to be misses. Those tracks are not good enough to stand alone and are made even worse with the lack of a member. There were good points though, Daehwi is a phenomenal performer for the absolute grace in his movements. Many K-pop dances can make their routines look easy, very few can make it look like their swimming through the air like Daehwi does. Lead vocalist, Woong, also had the best belts of the weekend.

Fromis_9 returned with the rather boring “covering the big K-pop songs of the day” section. They ably covered Red Velvet’s “Red Flavour.” It’s a good match given the direction Fromis_9 are going in with “Love Bomb” and “Fun.” These covers are always bland though and they do never do much to change things up. SF9 introduced themselves next before their set with EXO’s “Love Shot.” This was slightly more interesting due to their dayglo suits that seemed to be missing whole pieces of clothing. A sexy sign of things to come from them.


Also on KultScene: KCON NY 2019 ‘M! COUNTDOWN’ DAY 1 RECAP

The final girl group of the weekend were up next and thanks to their star member showed something we hadn’t seen until then. (G)I-DLE’s most recent single “Uh Oh” was first and immediately Jeon Soyeon was standing out. Her voice was heard loud above the music, a rare thing over the weekend. She relished every moment on the mic, not being able to stop her smile every time the crowd roared for her. She played off of them, directing herself around the venue as well as at the camera. Soyeon was not afraid to detach herself from the focused expressions and pure commitment to choreography. They went on to blast through all of their singles, a shortened version of “Hann,” “Latata,” and finishing on “Senorita.” Soyeon would grow further into her role as the rest performed their functions. Soojin’s sleek, sensual dance was the only thing to come close to matching Soyeon.

SF9 proved to be the most sensual group of the weekend with their set. They left behind the primary colour suits and replaced with them clothes not so far from bondage. Right from the distorted guitars in their intro number, everything was geared towards a tough, masculine sexuality. No better is this demonstrated than in the heavy percussion and bass of “RPM.” This brought up the pace and kept it high even for “O Sole Mio.” It’s a song that would actually favour a slightly calmer presence but SF9 wanted it intense and they brought it. This was all set up for the banger of their lives, “Now or Never.” Led in the chorus by the infallibly cool Hwiyoung, SF9 delivered the deep electro with a perfectly effortless intensity. Pulling it off so well also meant they could end the night the decidedly more laid back “Play Hard.”

Before the long anticipated headliners arrived, (G)I-DLE were back on stage for the KCON classic Broadway musical cover. Befitting the girl crush image of them, (G)I-DLE chose “All That Jazz” from Chicago. Obviously “Cell Block Tango” would have been a much better choice but there’s also obvious reasons as to why they didn’t perform that one. As it was “All That Jazz” was a solid, mostly low energy number. It didn’t do much to show off the members, it would have if they were singing live but alas.

It was time for Seventeen. There’s little to add when it comes to these 13 boys. In a debate over the great K-pop live performers they would certainly be near the top. With only five songs, they can transform a night from a collective of K-pop groups to a full blown Seventeen show. The level of fun and individuality they bring to every performance is unprecedented. The effort and energy that goes into more recent songs like set opener “Getting Closer,” is no different from them revisiting their debut, “Adore U.” Seventeen have the same zeal for being on stage now as they did back then, maybe even more so. No one exemplifies this better than Hoshi. No single member of any group is better at leading a performance on stage, balancing his time between the camera, fans, and his fellow members. He takes charge alongside actual leader S.Coups and creates an atmosphere where everyone thrives. It was their closer “Very Nice” that finally brought the house down. They had everyone jumping and even sprinted back on stage after it was over for one more round.

Day 2 seemed to take day 1’s level of balance as a challenge. The groups on this night said we’re going to do the complete opposite. That’s not to say it was uneven or messy, but that each group attempted to stand on their own, not letting a potential flow between them stop them from doing what they want. It was a night of individual brilliance. The unbearable cuteness of Jang Gyuri, the lithe, feline movements of Lee Daehwi, the sharp, truncated rhythms of Jeon Soyeon, and blatant sexual energy of Hwiyoung. These moments and people would all be remembered, shining above those around them. With headliners Seventeen, they are a group so attuned to this style of performance that it’s impossible to separate them. They are all brilliant as individuals but geniuses when brought together.

All photo credits to KCON USA

Were you at KCON NY 2019? What did you think of day 2? Share your thoughts 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.

KCON NY 2019 ‘M! Countdown’ day 1 recap

Tackling the great expectations of moving to maybe the most famous concert venue in the world, Madison Square Garden, was a big ask ahead of the five groups preparing for day 1 of KCON NY 2019. Each of them were more than qualified to perform there on their own merits but the beauty of a concert like KCON is how they play off of each other. Either by the order of their sets or through collaborations, these pairings can offer up interesting new perspectives on their work. On this day, they strived for a delicate sense of balance.

Opening this night was down to the now veteran of KCON, Kevin Woo, was on hand to introduce the night of concerts at Madison Square Garden. The former U-Kiss member was his usual bubbly and soft self; he tends to be a perfect MC thanks to this quality. He feels more like a friend than some random professional, so it was a true pleasure to be able to see him make the move back to performing after MCing for so long. He performed his two solo tracks, “Over You” and “Ride Along.” They are fittingly bright and breezy for his voice and look, but he’s straying into lyrical territory that doesn’t fit. The player image of “Ride Along” didn’t feel genuine, and that’s something that can come across strongly on such a big platform.

One thing Kevin has that definitely does come across, whether he likes it or not, is that he is a potent reminder of how far K-pop has come. Around since 2009, Kevin has seen almost all of K-pop’s major flirtations with breaking into the west. This gave the night interesting bookends, with Kevin himself, a member of a group all but forgotten to the world, and headliners Nu’est, a group who through an unprecedented resurgence live on amidst K-pop’s most world renowned time. They feel like they’re from the same era and yet remain very much in the zeitgeist.


Also on KultScene: INSIDE KCON NY 2019

The starkness of what comes in between those two was immediately apparent when Ateez took to the stage. They along with other fresh faced boy group The Boyz opened the night with dance performances to contemporary American pop tracks. True to form, Ateez went hard on Skrillex’s remix of Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.” As would be seen later on in the night, Ateez have a very particular style of controlled chaos while on stage. They use typically strong boy group moves in very angular and aggressive ways. It’s a style of dance that goes so well with the surprising ways in which they are growing so rapidly. It is in the very literal sense, breathtaking but also almost obstructive of the group at the heart of these dances.

In a smart move to counter this, The Boyz took a much more unusual approach by performing to teen phenom Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.” Watching the 13 members walk like runway models to the cartoony synth run or move possessed along with Eilish’s distant vocals were moments totally singular over the whole weekend. Choosing to dance to these two melodies rather than the beat gives the performers themselves great personality. It’s an effective and simple way of making a dance feel like a story. Something they clearly learned from fellow large-membered group Seventeen.

 

As new as these two groups are they can’t compare to the absolute babies of the weekend, TXT. They were not to be held back, however, as coming along with a five track mini-album filled with gems meant they were more than qualified to be here. No one over the whole weekend would bring as exuberant a charm as they did. Decked in schoolboy uniforms, they jumped right into debut single “Crown.” The unabashed giant synths of it are probably the most infectious sounds of the year so far. It’s the kind of sound many might use to describe K-pop as a whole, so as an opener it was perfect. They took some time from there to talk and perform a short version of ballad “Your Summer.” It was energy well saved as they took a breathless last 10 minutes to blast through “Blue Orangeade” and “Cat and Dog.”

It’s hard to choose one thing that makes TXT so good but it’s just as hard to not say their choreography. It may be early days but it’s difficult to think of a group who handles such a small amount of members so well on stage since SHINee. The way they feed off each other is so important to the way they move, as if they need each other’s permission to go to the next part. They displayed a level of choreographic ingenuity that would not be topped until the weekend’s closers.

“Cat and Dog” will also go down as a great track of KCON 2019. As a song itself it expertly combines the cuter aspects of TXT with the more popular hip-hop sounds of most boy groups these days. It’s silly, brash, and best of all, earnest. This in turn makes it also an excellent bridging point from them into the next group Ateez.

As a further balancing act before that though, IZ*ONE came out with “Highlight.” “Highlight” is their most mature sounding song yet. Its stripped back R&B is helped by a pair of running synths and a trap beat, on top of which the girls eke out an elegant vocal. This gracefulness carries on in the dance as they hold up their hands and barely sway their hips, calling “look at me” in the chorus.

 

Not wanting to disrupt this flow too much, Ateez opened with the melancholic electro of “Aurora” and the decidedly dated tropical house of “Wave.” Ateez are burdened by the fact that every concept they’ve tackled so far has been a clear derivation of other groups. Particularly with these openers —you can’t give yourself a name when people are thinking of the groups who have done this before and better. Of course, even their next and final two tracks suffer from similar problems. This suffering only happens on track though, taken to the stage is a different story.

Closing with the heart-stopping duo of “Say My Name” and “Halla Halla,” Ateez made sure they wouldn’t be forgotten. The group left absolutely nothing on that stage; their sweat is now a permanent fixture of Madison Square Garden. It felt like they never had to stop, and could keep destroying the stage for the rest of the night. The chaos was still controlled but they were almost ready to let it go. It was a stunning display of control when they seemed to not want it at all. There’s aggression in K-pop dances, but nothing ever came close to feeling violent until rapper Mingi jumped over someone and seemed to headbutt the air. A funny but in some ways alarming moment.

The Boyz kept a serious air to the night but still calmed things down, as they began their set with “No Air.” Although a fitting follow up to what Ateez had brought, it felt lacklustre and even anonymous alongside them. This was put to bed immediately though, as the boyish charm and confidence of “Right Here” filled the place with glee. “Right Here” is one of those rare songs that starts off as if it’s already at top gear and yet at every turn still manages to find something small to lift it further. Making it not only a great song but an exceptional live experience. Also it was a smart move to put in the middle of their set, as closer “Bloom Bloom” is a lesser but still fun track that carried on the great energy of “Right Here.”

Needing to slow things a bit after that explosive one-two punch, Baekho and Minhyun of Nu’est came on for a cover of Adam Levine’s “Lost Stars.” Slowing things down was all this performance could really off as it’s not a good enough or well known enough song to otherwise justify inclusion. Certainly not with the potential vocal abilities of the two men singing it.

 


Also on KultScene: K-POP UNMUTED: THE DANCE EPISODE

Nothing can really inject life into night quite like a Twice knock off, though. IZ*ONE were next up with just that on recent b-side “Airplane.” The cute vitality of the track and the girls more than made up for “Lost Stars,” as well as giving the night its tempo back. Unfortunately, they undid all of this right after as they played two games that took up at least 10 minutes. It would be ok if the games were fun but, it was clear that most of the audience were not paying attention after the first two or three minutes.

In fairness to IZ*ONE, they have the songs to once again reignite things. They ended with a brisk quartet of singles “Violeta,” “La Vie en Rose,” and Produce 48 tracks “Rumour” and “Pick Me.” Despite the cute image many might of them have, all of IZ*ONE’s tracks have major punch to them. This is emphasised really well live, as the bass in the choruses of “Violeta” and “La Vie en Rose” hit hard, but the melodies are never lost. No one carries this idea as well as Lee Chaeyeon. Their main dancer was one of the true highlights to watch over the whole weekend, earning her the nickname, the goddess of wind, with power and grace always together and never at odds.

 

There is no better group to headline this night and to unite all the ideas that have come up than Nu’est. Newly back to full strength as former Wanna One member Minhyun returned earlier in the year. Nu’est have been hard to pin down as a group thanks to changes like this, but they have consistently shown an unquestionable level of stability in sound and performance. They brilliantly mix the harder aspects of the dubstep and hip-hop that pervades their work with a slower sensuality in how they actually navigate these influences. Even up to their latest single “Bet Bet,” which they opened with, this continues. The battle between the ruthlessness of JR and Baekho, and the softer falsettos of Minhyun and Ren are on full show here. Aron sits in the middle somewhere, filling in gaps so as the others don’t quite lose themselves.

From there it was pure joy. “Love Paint” was the best song of the weekend, “Segno” so sweet and uplifting, and closing duo “Look” and “R.L.T.L (One Morning),” an exemplary rendition of the dubstep, dance music work they do. The only problem was that they were one song short. “R.L.T.L” was a good song to end on but only if we had known beforehand. As it was it felt like the perfect setup for “Overcome” to drive us home. But as soon as they finished, the lights went up and the other groups started to come out to say goodbye. There was definitely a slight feeling of being cheated. This was something their labelmates Seventeen would learn from though.

From Kevin Woo through Nu’est all the way to TXT, K-pop has been through too much to recount. KCON is always good at trying to tell this story of K-pop in a few hours and this night was no exception. The flow of every group’s set and the transitions between them felt natural and propulsive. Everyone had their place and performed it to the best of their abilities.

All photo credits to KCON USA

Were you at KCON NY 2019? What did you make of the performances? Share your thoughts 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 NY 2019


For the first time ever, KCON New York took place in the actual city of New York. The 2019 edition of the biggest South Korean entertainment convention in the United States moved itself from Newark, New Jersey to the iconic locations of Javits Centre and Madison Square Garden on July 6th and 7th. It felt destined to be an equally grand weekend with more acts, more guests, and most importantly, more fans.

The hallowed halls of the Javits Centre, home to most of New York’s largest conventions, quickly filled up the first morning of KCON. They just as quickly felt like home to the many fans checking the best of Korean culture available to them. As always, the major highlights at the convention was the panels, a rare chance to get an in-real-life perspective on the many facets of K-pop and also time to speak to many of the best journalists and Youtubers that K-pop has to offer.

The weekend’s offerings opened with a panel exploring the potentially tricky area of “Stan Culture.” Moderated by PopCrush journalist Lai Frances, the panel of guests steered nicely clear of controversy without ever feeling too soft on stans. Each of them went through some of their own experiences with quality fandoms and toxic fandoms. The most interesting exchange came prompted from an audience member when they asked about how the writers themselves feel they can change the more negative sides of fans. Of course, none of the panelists had an exact answer or even a feeling if they did, but they demonstrated the necessity for cultural critics well.

The other great panel of the day was run by Emma from Reacttothek, and featured producers Andreas Oberg and David Amber and critic Jakob Dorof. Titled “What’s the Difference between American Pop and K-Pop?” the four of them attempted to describe how K-pop came to sound the way it does and how that compares to modern American pop. The panel was full of insights into how production works thanks to the two producers, but Emma as well was just as adept at explaining musical terms and elements. Jakob, who lives in Seoul, provided the Korean context. He talked about how the karaoke market is something important to pop in Korea, as well as the fact that the genre-bending type songs we hear now may have their roots all the way back in the 1940’s. One of the most interesting little tidbits though, was his revelation that SHINee’s “Everybody” had ninety different versions before being completed. Apparently they would have a finished song, go to choreograph it, and find that it needed a little something extra here and there before finally thinking it was good enough.

 


Also on KultScene: BLACKPINK’S ‘KILL THIS LOVE’ EP REVIEW

At the expo itself, there was a never ending stream of potential things to do. Many corporate brands had stalls doing games and giveaways, and there was lots of merch and K-beauty products to purchase, and even a glass box in the middle of the room where idols came out to play. Coco was there on this to host for Ateez. They played some Jenga and whoever made the blocks fall would have to dance to a random song. It’s a fun game to watch idols play, but being in the box meant it felt a little less intimate. At the Prudential Centre in previous years, the groups would come out to stalls but still be quite close by. It’s this kind of intimacy that an event like KCON should strive for.

There was also a noticeable lack of fan stalls in the expo. There had always been only a small amount, but given the extra space, there could have been more of an effort to bring in fan artists. Fans could get together in rooms near the panels as fan clubs, but again, that felt too distant from the expo as well as being too specifically catered to one group’s fans at a time.

Day two rolled around swiftly and the panel area began with a packed schedule. There were three separate events going all around at the same time. Two meet and greets, one with now KCON legend, and former U-KISS member, Kevin, the other with four of the team from Reacttothek, and one returning panel “Women in Hallyu Media.” Our very own Tamar Herman was moderating and led the esteemed panelists through a frank and vital discussion. The reality of the pressures even the most successful journalists and media women was totally laid bare. They touched on the issue of women in K-pop and the lack of tours and coverage they get in the west. It’s a never ending cycle of not getting enough news space because the groups aren’t big enough, but never being given that space to get the fame in the first place. Jenny Zha made a remark in relation to this that would feel relevant for the rest of the day: she basically said where the money goes determines all of this, touring and coverage.

Later on, there was another chance to get up close and personal with some idols in the M2 glass box. There was more Jenga playing, this time from (G)I-dle. This included a happily embarrassed Miyeon dancing to “Baby Shark.” Verivery and SF9 took the to the KCON stage, where they partook in showcasing their rookie talent and sitting down for an interview, respectively.


Also on KultScene: K-POP UNMUTED: JUNE 2019

Again the panels were the easy highlight of the day with more exciting work like the “K-pop and Mental Health,” “Breaking News in K-pop,” and “2019: Year of Girl Groups.” The latter took on a very comfortable sort of half fan club, half panel vibe that played into the positivity of the topic itself. The expo lost even more of its charm by the second day though, as there’s only so many free slices of pizza and ice pops that can keep you distracted long enough to stick around when there are few offerings and interactive events.

As KCON takes a big step in the right direction in New York City, it frustratingly takes some more smaller steps in the opposite way. Zha’s comment from the “Women in Hallyu Media” panel sticks in the mind. Growing in size requires extra money, and extra money requires more sponsorships, which ultimately leads to less creative control over how the convention is run. The panels and concerts are slowly becoming the only reason to go to these events, and who knows how long they’ll last as well, though, as this year is more heavily focused on rookie and Mnet-oriented groups, the TV channel under KCON organizer CJ ENM than ever before. The true danger of this progression is if fans follow this corporatization. Of course, KCON isn’t the leader in how fans consume K-pop, but it can be a litmus test for a general look at what the Stateside portion of the fandom might be feeling at one point. Events like this need fans’ money, but long term, they need their support way more.

All photos credit to Jean Libert. 

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What were your take on KCON 2019 NY? 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.

 

K-Pop Unmuted: KCON & Produce 101 Releases

In the 22nd episode of of KultScene’s K-pop Unmuted, Stephen Knight, Alexis Hodoyan, and Tamar Herman discuss what it was like being backstage at KCON 2017 LA and New York, and how Produce 101 is shaping K-pop right now. We also discussed new music, including Henry Lau’s sentimental “That One,” Sunmi’s groundbreaking “Gashina,” and HyunA’s age-defying “Bebe.”

You can listen to this episode, and previous ones, of KultScene’s K-Pop Unmuted on Soundcloud, iTunes, Google Play Music, and Stitcher.

Let us know what you think of K-pop in July and KultScene’s K-pop Unmuted 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 NY’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

It hasn’t even been a year yet but it’s already that time when all things Hallyu are celebrated in one convenient location here in the States. After its first installment last August, KCON returned back again to the East Coast, bringing its M! Countdown concerts to the famous Prudential Center in the NY’s metropolitan area. This time, not only did the convention grow from being a one day event to a two day event, spanning from June 24 to June 25, but KCON 2016 also saw a lot of new faces and talents. KCON 2015 NY felt like a pilot episode in comparison.

On Day 1 of KCON 2016 NY alone, popular rookie group Seventeen met senior boy group BTOB at both their first KCON experience. Soloist Ailee drew both female and male Korean pop fans in throngs, while Amoeba Culture’s Crush and Dynamic Duo made their second KCON appearance and welcomed Korean hip-hop philes to the 18,000+ seat venue. The roster this year was a significant upgrade from last year, which haphazardly seemed to throw together a bunch of repeated acts from previous cons. What’s more, the lineup for KCON 2016 offered more diversity, reflecting the careful planning that went into maximizing concert turnout (as of now, the attendance is still TBA).

But the music is just one aspect of Hallyu, with K-Drama as another. A new addition to KCON 2016 NY was the special guests, which included idol actor Yim Siwan (“Triangle,” “Misaeng”) and actress Park Bo Young (“A Werewolf Boy,” “Oh My Ghostess”). Together, the two stopped by the South Korean entertainment network tvN booth during the convention and acted as special MC’s for a segment of the night, giving the regular hosts a break.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

As per usual, the MC’s were selected from the pool of performers. Ailee, a native English speaker slated to perform during the first night, was an obvious pick. As the she ascended from the stage lift, however, the fans cheered doubly for not only her but also for co-host, Rap Monster from BTS, who made an early appearance ahead of his scheduled Day 2 performance (in hindsight, the two also served as MC’s for KCON Abu Dhabi back in March so perhaps it was my bad for not seeing it coming). While introducing the event in both Korean and English, the bilingual duo quickly became half the attraction with their charming chemistry. And with their rallying cry “Let’s KCON! Let’s M! Countdown,” the other half was shortly set in motion as well

Rookie King Seventeen Makes Their KCON Debut

Emerging out of 2015 as one of the hottest rookie groups, Seventeen didn’t fail to deliver a remarkable performance. Under the dim lights, a VCR of the members dancing to the intro song “Shining Diamond” segued into the real deal. A chorus of screams at the appearance of 12 (rapper Wonwoo is sitting out of promotional activities at the moment due to health problems) half clothed in black, the other in white, indicated that the show was finally underway. They wasted no time as they dove right into their latest hit “Pretty U,” blithely working a couch into their choreography in front of a color pop of city streets backdrop. They really set the standard for the following track, the EDM-trap mix “Chuck,” which varied stylistically from the musical-esque number from before, but still sustained the same austerity of in-sync choreography.


Also on Kultscene: KCON 2015 NY’s M! Countdown Concert Recap

To finish off their half-hour set, the boys threw it back to the classics that shot them to where they are now (though would it be much of a throwback if it was only to last year?). Starting with “Mansae,” the audience transformed into a sea of arms swaying to the beat of the “mansae,” the point choreo that the members took time out to teach beforehand. It’s always a welcome sight to see the union of fans and artist, even if it’s just in such a simple gesture as waving an arm. Even in “Adore U,” which marked the end of their set, there’s that familiar point dance – a literal point dance – during the hook that’s easy enough for even the average caveman to follow. When they are on stage, Seventeen just exuberates overflowing youth and spryness. The only drawback to this, however, is because they are still maturing as a group, they are still stuck playing by the books, which means they couldn’t make full use of the stage that was given to them. A forgiving qualm, though, for the group with the insane vocals and an entertaining live show to boot.

Crush Gives New Meaning to One Man Show

Being a soloist on a stage of such a grand scale is always going to be nerve wracking. Projection becomes all the more important, and hyping the audience up requires extra effort. Fortunately for Crush, he’s got that covered, and all in just a-less-than-usual three songs too. No introductions were needed here for the R&B singer who went straight into his 2014 slow jam “Sometimes” as soon as the music cued him to the stage. From start to finish, he single-handedly turned the M! Countdown concert into a lounge party, belting out a string of long notes and ad libs to a round of cheers in the process. Besides his interesting Canadian Tuxedo x French beret collaboration that he donned – which must be a fashion faux pas in at least ten different cultures – the guy really did no wrong.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

“Sometimes” was only warm-up for what’s to come. The palm leaves that decorated the LCD displays behind him were very appropriate for the summer vibe-y single “Oasis.” Crush even revealed his knack for rap when covering for an absent Zico in his “It G-Ma”-styled verse, during which he doused crowds with bottled water while jumping around on the extended stage. By this time, the crowd was already so amped up that his request for the audience to put their hands up seemed superfluous. This revelry continued well into “Hug Me,” which featured help this time from Dynamic Duo’s Gaeko, and even more of a water show. Things were only now just getting heated.

Queen Ailee Makes Her Return Home

Ailee’s just one of those artists where even if you are not a fan, you are a fan. Her vocal prowess cannot be denied, and she was able to demonstrate it once again during an incident that happened while she was performing her routine to “Mind Your Own Business.” About halfway through the song, a technical malfunction caused the backing track to stop, leaving a visibly rattled Ailee to finish her verse acapella. Audiences applauded her diplomacy, even when she stepped backstage to resolve the issue (one concert go-er in my section made the snide remark that someone was getting fired that night) and when she came back for her second take.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

“This has never happened to me before,” the New Jersey native says before making light of the situation and viewing the glitch as a welcome home gift. One thing remains certain, and it’s that we can at least count on Ailee to provide fans with honest stages, which is something that cannot be said about all idols in the K-pop industry.

After going through both break-up power anthems “Don’t Touch Me” and “I Will Show You,” the diva also disclosed how nervous she was to perform that night (“I’ve never been nervous before, not even my debut performance, not even my first solo concert”) in front of all her friends and family for the first time, all the while holding back tears. The sincerity of her words compounded by the overall pathos of her homecoming were probably what compelled audiences to stand for her closing song “U & I.” Fans could not even be pressed that she did not perform “Q&A” with Seventeen like some thought she would. Cute as it may have been, this was all about her.

BTOB Did That!

Ever since their first music show win with “It’s Okay,” BTOB has swapped out their charismatic boy band image for something more softcore, which has still been working out in their favor. Presented by an enchanted forest visual display and a LCD light show that signaled the coming in of the members clad in rose quartz suits, they opened with the ballad “Remember That,” riding on the same success the aforementioned “It’s Okay” amassed for them. Rappers Minhyuk and Ilhoon still served with their subdued raps, while the vocalists never once faltered in their department.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

The group also filled their slots with their lesser known singles, such as “All Wolves Except Me” and “Beep Beep,” the former a jazzy swing track bursting with all kinds of brassy sounds and the latter a similar funky saxophone-centric piece that seem more in line with their personalities. The youngest member Sungjae even worked in some aegyo (a cute display of affection), sneaking a quick “bbyu” before the lights lowered, causing fans to giggle.

Personally, the main highlight of their stage wasn’t even their live performances off of their own discography, but their impromptu rendition of One Direction’s “History.” As if he was not already savvy in the art of rap, main rapper Ilhoon wowed the audience with his overwhelming high notes. Sometimes it is actually stressful how underrated this group is, but hopefully KCON bringing them out for the first time will lead to future invites and more recognition.

If You Didn’t Stan Seventeen Already…

…Then you probably did after seeing their special stage. Part of the appeal of KCON’s “M! Countdown” concerts are their exclusive performances in which the acts cover the hits of others or collaborate together to produce something greater than the sum of their parts. This year, in a phenomenal medley Seventeen returned back to the stage with a cover of After School’s “Bang,” the bop that made being in a marching band cool again. They even looked the part in their ornamental navy military jackets topped with epaulettes, cheering “S-V-T” with Pledis pride. This transitioned smoothly into a modern, more synth-y (if that’s even possible) version of Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry.” It may not be the first time the group has shown us their spin on the iconic dance (check out their “Weekly Idol” appearances), but it’s exciting nevertheless seeing it done on American soil. To wrap it all up, Seventeen paid homage to the reigning kings of K-pop TXVQ with their bubbly render of the 2006 song “Balloons,” which is, like, oh my god, the last time they did this was when they were still trainees shooting for their mini series “Seventeen TV.” Not tied down by any choreography, the twelve were finally able to make full use of the extended stage, merrily greeting their U.S. fans for the first time.


Also on Kultscene: Tips on How to Maximize Your KCON 2016 Experience

Dynamic Duo Brings the Club Over to KCON

Debuting in 2003, Dynamic Duo made the most sense as headliners. But more than just seniority, they also possess the attitudes and the finesse of a headliner. Before they even stepped foot on stage, their digital selves were already initiating a call and response tactic, asking “Who Are We?” followed by concert attendees hollering out their names. When they did make their noble entrance, they came in full-force from the get-go with “BAAAM,” employing more call and response approaches. Jiving freely to the upbeat tempo that the DJ on stage was mixing, they had genuine fun on stage and the audiences reciprocated that.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

By the time they were performing the EDM infused hip-hop jam “Shoot – Goal In” the crowd were already on their feet, dancing in place. Again, who knows how many folks actually knew the song, never mind the lyrics, but the manner in which members Choiza and Gaeko were able to hype each other up (e.g. – rapping to each other as opposed to with each other, echoing each other’s words, etc.) was entertaining to watch and exhibited real artistry.

The rest were an honest blur. The duo picked up enough momentum and was not about to break it as they went straight into Gaeko’s own percussion based “Rhythm is Life.” When the time came to conclude the night already, they were bouncing around to their dance party anthem “Friday Night,” which could it be any more fitting? In the midst of the smoke and light sticks, the place was a full fledge rave, and everyone was high.

And with the customary shower of confetti, Day 1 of KCON 16 NY was over. A vast improvement from last year’s KCON NY, it really set the bar high for future ones. One day of KCON NY fun still remains, however, who knows what will happen then?

Did you attend KCON 16 NY? What’s your favorite KCON artist? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KCON 2015 NY’s M! Countdown Concert Recap

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

This year’s KCON might have been the best one to date for American K-pop fans as they learned that not only would the annual event in Los Angeles be expanding into a three day experience and moving into the legendary Staples Center, but that it would also become bi-coastal. For the first time in its four year history, East Coast K-pop fans could finally rejoice over the fact that they would not have to fly out over to California just to see their favorite acts since the con would be bringing their M! Countdown concerts to the just-as-legendary Prudential Center in NY’s metropolitan area. This didn’t change the fact that some die-hard fans still attended both events, though.

Being the forerunner to anything carries a lot of weight and responsibility to set the standard for the following years, which is why KCON NY saw less acts than its LA counterpart on August 8th. It took four years for KCON LA to grow to where it is, so the hope is that the East Coast con will also continually grow. Planning for KCON NY could have been better as attendees saw repeats in acts from the previous years as well, though none of that really mattered once the crowd of 17,000 KCON-goers started trickling in through the metaphorical gates. With this particular event, KCON proved that groups like Teen Top still got it, while confirming the popularity of relatively newer groups such as VIXX. And like the fanboy turnout at KCON LA, KCON NY too observed a very noticeable testosterone-heavy presence for the alluring and sexy Girls’ Generation and AOA.


 Also on Kultscene: Inside KCON NY 2015

But before we get to the main attraction, we have to give a warm mention to the other performers of the night. Prior to the concert’s official commencement, attendees were treated to a performance from the winners of the K-Pop World Festival in New York, The Class. Based in NY’s own Washington Heights, the group danced to VIXX’s “Hyde,” giving the original pioneers a run for their money later that evening. Popular Youtuber Jun Sung Ahn, who is better known by his social media handle JuNCurryAhn and who also attended KCON LA the week before, followed up with a morose cover of BIGBANG’s “Loser” on his trademark violin. It’s not really a song to dance to, yet that did not stop some from getting up from their seats to groove along to the tune.

INTRO NY (5)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

After much teasing and prolonging on the host’s part, Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany finally made her grand entrance via stage lift to introduce KCON. Considering how she was the only native English speaker out of the four groups due to perform, it was really no surprise the organizers would select her to act as MC. Regardless, her appearance and the positive reception it elicited from the crowd indicated that the show was finally on the road.

VIXX – The Kickoff or the Grand Finale?

Going in order of seniority and following a boy-girl-boy-girl pattern, VIXX was the obvious choice as the opening act. Based on the way they put on a performance, however, they might as well have been the closer. The night started off with the boys lined up in a row, standing chicly until the spotlight shone on each individual member. With all eyes on them, they took turns to break out in powerful dance as the screens overheard flashed their names. This transitioned fabulously into their song, “Error,” which requires the same sobriety that was seen in their introduction. “Error” really got the crowd riled up, and this enthusiasm was equally seen throughout their next two performances for “On and On” and “Eternity.”

VIXX NY (4)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

With their darker songs out of the way, this left room for some of their more lighthearted songs, so what else but the loveable “G.R.8.U” and their latest release “Love Equation?” Member Leo lived up to his title as main vocalist in the former song time and time again as he belted those high notes, filling up the whole of the indoor venue, and the group took no breaks as they delved right into the latter song. Though the single was released earlier this year and went by largely unnoticed, the group was able to change that with their aegyo (cute display of affection) that made all the fangirls in the building swoon. The high-spirited nature of the song allowed the members to wing their performance, which inevitably meant running around on stage (like the goofballs that they are) and getting closer to the audiences. At the climax of the song, the center was nothing but a rainstorm of streamers and screams, which just goes to show that this is one song that is better live. Whoever decided on ending their set list with “Love Equation” definitely deserves a golden medal.

VIXX NY (9)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

AOA as The Chaser

Immediately after VIXX had exited the stage, the members of AOA strutted confidently to own the stage for the next half hour. The anthem of the summer, “Heart Attack,” heralded in the group’s first performance in the States (okay, so technically the first performance was at KCON 2015 LA but close enough…), where the girls delivered harmless girly fun. And just like their stage at KCON LA, they also revealed their provocative side in hits like “Like a Cat” and “Confused.” As expected, the fan boys chose these moments to declare their undying love for the members and were very on point with the fan chants.

AOA NY (1 (2)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

They continued their sensual concepts with other favorites, such as the booty-shaking “Short Hair” and the sultry “Miniskirt.” While AOA debuted the same year as VIXX, the girls stood out more as the supporting act due to a lack of variety in their songs. No fancy celebratory streamers here. Nevertheless, the girls earns props for making sensual look so natural, especially with their closing song “Miniskirt,” in which sub-vocalist Hyejeong got down low – and I mean real low – on the stage floor. With the flawless execution of each song that left audiences in an uproar that night, AOA is certainly the next hot girl group to watch out for. Girls’ Generation, y’all better watch yo backs.

AOA NY (1 (9)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Teen Top is the Dark Horse of Live K-Pop

When you are getting goose bumps all over your body during a concert, you know it’s good. And when it’s during a slow song, you know that’s even better. The “M! Countdown” concert in NY has been an exciting and hot-blooded one thus far, but Teen Top was able to extinguish those flames with the mellow performance for “5 Seasons,” straight off of their most recent album. With such as easy-going song, the members kicked it back on the stage’s steps and swayed their bodies in time to the guitar strums of the instrumentals. It would only make sense that the subsequent performance would be for another track fresh off of their latest album, which is exactly what they did with “Ah-ah.”

TEENTOP NY (2)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

After their member introduction, where lead rapper L.Joe showed off his limited English from his five years living in the States, the group threw it back to their Brave Brothers collaboration days with “To You” and “Miss Right.” Other than the upbeat melodies, the beauty behind Teen Top’s songs that always make for a captivating live performance lies in their intricate choreography. Despite the fancy footwork that the group is known for, the moves for the upper half of the body are rather straightforward, which is why many fans in the audience were able to follow along easily in their seats. Indeed, “Miss Right” had the fans shaking their hands in the air, engaging hundreds of attendees with the idols in this one simple gesture.

The group concluded with “Rocking,” which could not have been a wiser choice, seeing as how this was the song that started their dance image and is the closest thing they have to a club banger. The free step may look impressive done behind the computer screen, but done live? That’s next level. The mix of hard synths, adrenaline, and their go for broke attitude had everyone singing along to the addictive “jangnan anieyo” (”it’s not a joke”) hook and hollering for more. It also helped that L.Joe is an insane mood-maker, what with his repeated ad-libs. Teen Top may not belong to any big name entertainment company or have the largest fanbase, but they sure know what it means to have a good time. Maybe it’s time to book them again for KCON 2016 for the fourth consecutive year.

TEENTOP NY (28)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America


Also on Kultscene: Breaking Down KCON ’15 LA’s Red Carpet Looks

When in New York, Sing a Song About It

While Girls’ Generation were preparing for their performances, and in order to hype up the girls who were headlining the concert, the special stages that have always been critical to the “M! Countdown” concerts were scheduled right after Teen Top. Unfortunately, SONEs (Girls’ Generation’s official fandom) would have to wait just a little bit longer before they get to see their eight angels. Because the annual event was also held in New York this year (to be precise, it took place in New Jersey but how many songs about the Garden State can you list off of the top of your head?), AOA’s Yuna, Hyejeong, and ChoA did the East Coast proud by bringing a strong yet abbreviated rendition of Beyonce’s and Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” to the table.

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Teen Top’s Niel and Chunji collaborated on a duet as well, but since English is not exactly their forte, they opted for the safe, slow-tempo “When I First Kissed You” by Extreme. The emotional song left audiences in as much of a hush it was ever going to be that evening.

22 KCON 2015 NY [CONCERT SPECIAL STAGE]

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Girls’ Generation Shuts Down the Show

They’re the poster child of girl groups, at least in our generation. And in a sea of pink that illuminated the arena here and there, it’s clear who many were here for. With eight years of experience under their belt, it’s really no wonder that Girls’ Generation was saved for last. When the group finally emerged in their (American) patriotic sequined colors, the crowd went wild, and when they opened with “Catch Me If You Can,” the song that marked their comeback as eight members, the crowd went berserk. In a similar vein of recent songs, they followed up with “Check,” the smooth RnB number that demonstrated a more mature side of the girls. They’ve come a long way since their flight attendants and jegi-kicking (shuttlecock-kicking) days, but if their next song, “Genie,” is any indication of anything, it’s that they also have not forgotten their roots. And of course, what is Girls’ Generation without “Gee,” the hit that practically created them? It’s a requisite in every Girls’ Generation set list and if it were not for the fact that the girls had recently comeback with a new single, it would’ve been the cincher like it was in the previous year to an amazing KCON.

Girls generation (18)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

But they did comeback with “Party” last month, so naturally it was the closer of the night. They were all smiles as they had the honor of concluding the first ever KCON NY on a lively note. Concert-goers expected the burst of yellow streamers that permeated through the air, yet we were still caught off guard when it happened after leader Taeyeon hit the intense notes during bridge. And we all still cheered like mad.

23 KCON 2015 NY [CONCERT GIRLS GENERATION]

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Just like that, KCON 15 NY came to an end. As the first installment on the East Coast, there were some things this “M! Countdown” concert did right that should continue in the ones to come, such as the proportionate distribution of set times in spite of seniority and the high security. But then there are other things the concert could have improved upon, including more opportunities for a solo/sub-unit stage and more line-ups. With room to grow, fans can only anticipate for an even bigger and better KCON 16 NY.

Check out more pictures from the night:

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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 NY 2015

IMG_7472editAfter four years of hearing the question “Why not New York?” CJ E&M and MNET America answered our prayers. KCON 2015 graced the New York metro area (The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey to be precise) with its presence for one day; a far cry from the three day extravaganza that Los Angeles was treated to the week before, but none the less KCON came to the East coast.

EXPO

Because of lack of space within the Prudential Center, the brains behind KCON utilized the streets and area around the venue to host expo booths, panels, and workshops. Although the amount of booths available to visit were few, there was still plenty to do between the fan engagements, workshops and panels. There were booths where you could try on and take pictures in hanboks (traditional Korean clothes,) eat ddukbokki (Korean spicy rice cakes) and various other exhibitors doing raffles where attendees could win prizes. There were also vendors selling fan-made goods and band merchandise as well as fan group booths to visit.

Throughout the day, one of the most popular booths, other than the food vendors, would have to have been the Toyota (one of the convention’s sponsors) tent where people could dance along to their favorite K-Pop video and get a prize. At one point, idol group Teen Top stopped by the tent for a photo op right before their fan engagement.IMG_7251edit


Also on KultScene: Fantasy vs. Reality Performances To See At KCON NY 2015

The K-Pop Festival booth was another place to be; there was a DJ blasting non-stop K-pop hits and throwing out random prizes into the audience. It was not uncommon to see people randomly bust a move in the middle of the street when their favorite song came on. Although there was enough things to walk around and see, the variety of exhibitors and vendors cannot be compared to that of KCON LA. According to CJ E&M America’s Chief Marketing Officer, most of the exhibitors and vendors are based on the west coast or in Korea so traveling the extra distance to the east coast made things difficult.

Additionally, the lack of space available was a challenge to host anything on the scale that’s similar to KCON LA. Another factor that greatly affected KCON NY was the fact that CJ E&M America and most of the other groups involved in putting KCON together are not based on the east coast. They are not familiar with the area, the venues, or the companies and vendors that are willing to participate with an event like KCON. Hopefully by seeing the success the exhibitors had this year, there will be more exhibitors and vendors willing to set up booths for the following years.

IMG_7255edit

PANELS and WORKSHOPS

The panels and workshops at KCON NY were similar to the ones that were held at KCON LA. Fans got to sit down and hear what industry insiders had to say about certain topics like Korean rap and American crossovers, or to catch up with their favorite YouTube stars. The ever popular Korean beauty routines were also taught in the workshops, which gave attendees a chance to get out of the sun and relax a bit between events.

IMG_7302edit

KPOP FESTIVAL

The New York KPOP Festival held a mini event that even those who did not have a ticket to the MNET concert could attend. With the party like atmosphere, K-pop fans enjoyed music and dance acts from different groups and performers. Finalists from online polls also competed to be the opener at that night’s MNET concert, and with the special appearance of VIXX’s N as a judge made fans extra excited.


Also on KultScene: Breaking Down KCON ’15 LA’s Red Carpet Looks

As the debut appearance of KCON on the east coast, it seemingly went off without any major problems. Seeing the success of KCON LA and KCON NY; there was a combined attendance of about 75,000 people, no small feat for anyone. Hopefully it will bring more interest in the festival and K-pop in general. Being able to create an event that is more than just a concert, but actually give fans a chance to get more involved with the culture that they love is a great thing. Not to mention the friendly and harmonious environments that was created by the organizers and attendees would make anyone proud.

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Inside KCON LA 2015 [PHOTOS]

Red Velvet KCON 15 LA KultScene Red CarpetIn its fourth year, KCON LA expanded to add an extra day from last year, and headed to a larger venue at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Between July 31 and August 2, fans and purveyors of Korean culture in the United States kept busy with a variety of different activities.

Expo

This year, KCON LA’s booths became a full on expo. Previously, KCON had featured only a handful of vendors, websites, and fanclubs. But this year, there were many more booths, plus an added business conference on the first day. The expo area was divided into different sections, including CJ Street featuring a variety of CJ E&M booths, the Marketplace where attendees could free up their dollars, the K-ICT Dream Zone featuring technology, and the K-Goods Zone, selling an array of Korean products.

Some of the most prominent booths included Verizon, Asiana, MBC America, Nongshim, and Toyota, sponsors of the event, but Korean beauty and technology brands, like Iope, K3I, The Face Shop, and Kakao, also were spotted throughout the event. People walking around could sing karaoke, try out virtual reality goggles, purchase Korean oriented clothing or ridiculously cute t-shirts, check out booths hosted by Korean channels like Mnet and TvN, buy K-pop posters and albums (and, of course, official KCON souvenirs!), and practically anything Korean wave related. Websites like Soompi and Glow Recipe also hosted their own booths.Glow Recipe KCON 15 LA KultScene

Fanclubs played a big role in this year’s expo, with many K-pop fanclubs organizing fans in a variety of special events planned for artists during the concert. One Super Junior fanclub planned a banner event with the members of the group, while another handed out blue headbands that led to the first night of KCON 2015 appearing like a sapphire blue ocean. Fans of the show “Running Man” set up a Running Fan corner of the expo, where KCON-goers could try to reenact their favorite games of the variety show. Red Velvet fans sold jewelry featuring the members, and even fanclubs of artists who weren’t appearing at the show made themselves known. Fanclubs of groups like EXO and MYNAME were also there, gathering in North American fans.


Also on KultScene: Amoeba Culture Tour 2015 With Dynamic Duo, Zion. T, Crush, Primary, & DJ Friz Turn Up New York City

 

Along with the expo panels themselves, there was a central stage that featured performances throughout the three-day event, including Roy Kim, Buzzfeed’s The Try Guys (!), performance group Double The Fire, and violinist and dancer Jun Sung Ahn. GOT7 even surprised the convention on the second day by putting on a fashion show in collaboration with the Korean fashion brand Beyond Closet. Designer Ko Tae Young also appeared at the event, and GOT7 wore the clothes for multiple events throughout the day.

Panels

With a whole three days to fill, there were a lot more panels at this year’s KCON, and a lot of interest. Many panels were cram-packed with people who wanted to hear what was going on, with multiple lines wrapping around the corner of the convention center as fans tried to get seats close to their favorite panelists.

Irene Kim KCON 15 LA KultScene

Korean drama producers, fashion icons, actors, YouTube stars, writers, and other sort of industry insiders made their rounds, giving their thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects. Panels addressed the meaning of K-pop, Korean indie music, cultural clashes, behind the scenes of websites and dramas, K-Pop’s LGBT fandom, and a lot lot more.

KCON attendees were also able to learn the dances of their favorite songs, cook food, learn tips about applying Korean beauty products, and a lot more. For more culturally inclined people, KCON-ers could try on traditional Korean clothes, watch a Korean wedding ceremony, and learn about traditional Korean tea.

Adrienne Kdramastars KCON 15 LA KultScene

Several Korean dramas and films also were aired during the convention, including “Twenty,” “Emergency Couple,” and the premiere of “Mr. Baek The Homemade Food Master,” featuring KCON guest So Ho Jun. One event that gained a lot of attention on the Internet post-KCON was an 18+ fan fiction open mic, hosted by KCON’s Hoon Bae.

Fan Engagements

One of the highlights this year for many fans at KCON was the success of the fan engagements. In previous years, there were issues with meet and greets being too limited so that many fans couldn’t attend, poorly timed events, cancelled events, or not enough interaction between fans and their favorite idols. But this time around, KCON LA got everything very right.


Also on KultScene: 10 Things Seen On The 2015 DramaFever Awards Red Carpet

 

Many of acts who would appear at the M! Countdown concerts, including SHINHWA, AOA, Monsta X, Red Velvet, Got7, and Block B, held fan engagements with their fans. All of the meet and greets featured question and answer sessions, and most featured hi-touch events. After initial confusion on the first day, when two fan meets had to swap their times due to scheduling issues, all of the rest ran orderly and the majority of fans possible were able to enjoy. Morover, attendees also got involved in the KCON meet and greet black market, where you could trade tickets and, maybe, make a bit of cash. It was hard to walk through the convention without hearing “Looking for GOT7 hi-touch tickets!” or “Who wants a Roy Kim audience ticket?”

JB GOT7 KCON 15 LA KultScene

Food

Let’s talk about the grub. Along with the standard convention center fare of hot dogs, pizza, and coffee, there were free McDonalds samples being given out throughout the majority of the weekend and Korean cooking lessons from brands like Bibigo, where KCON-ers learned how to make bibimbap, a Korean meal in a bowl. There were also food trucks and stands from several Korean-oriented companies, like Tous les Jours and Shin Ramyun.

Bibigo KCON 15 LA KultScene

Klub KCON

While there were three days of KCON LA 2015, there were only two nights of concerts, so for the first day KCON introduced something brand new. Klub KCON opened up in the convention center after the expo ended for the day on July 31, giving attendees a place to party. SISTAR and Monsta X performed at the event, surprising KCON-ers in the intimate atmosphere with tastes of what they were going to perform the next night at the Staples Center.

Sistar KCON 15 LA KultScene

KCON App

One of the most innovative things at KCON LA 2015 was an app that people could download to their phones, which would alert KCON attendees about events going on and schedule changes. People could look up the location and time of events and even make planned out, personal schedules for themselves.

Red Carpet

The Red Carpet was the highlight for many fans, since artists like Super Junior and Kim Soo Hyun had not held fan engagements, meaning this was the event to get close to them before the actual concert. But let’s not bore you and go straight to the pictures from that day of all of Korea’s top celebrities.

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5 Things We Want To See At KCON LA – GOT7 Edition

Coming off of their First Fanmeeting in USA earlier this year, and with a recent overwhelmingly show of support for their recent comeback with “Just Right”, the boys of GOT7 are at the peak of their careers. Known as JYP Entertainment’s international group, with members from Hong Kong, Thailand and America’s very own, California, GOT7 garner’s love from every corner of the globe. Here at KultScene we’ve compiled a list of five things we want to see from GOT7 at KCON LA.

1. Bromancing At It’s Finest

GOT7 is the walking definition of “bromance”, which can be defined as a close, emotionally intense, non-sexual bond between two (or more) men (Wikipedia). Sure, there are other male groups that share mutual bromances with each other, but there’s usually some awkwardness that comes along with it. GOT7 is the polar opposite. A lot of it could be the fact that GOT7 has three foreign members who weren’t raised in a reserved Korean culture, therefore they act differently around guys than others would.

The members of GOT7 show major affection towards one another on and off the stage, even if it involves putting one another in harmless headlocks as they try to peck the other ones cheek or slapping each other’s butts, like they do in the NBA. Although it’s been confirmed that member Jackson, the mood maker and biggest bromancer of them all, will not be attending KCON LA due to his filming schedule for Laws of the Jungle, don’t you iGOT7’s fret. Even though the other half to MarkSon couple (Mark+Jackson) won’t be there, there will still be a lot of aegyo (cuteness) and bromances going on between the members.

2. Mark Tuan Speaking English

With one American member whose hometown is Los Angeles, a lot of KCON goers are hoping to see Mark speak in his native tongue. One would think, “well, of course he’s going to speak in English!” but Mark is rather timid and shy, so he tends to let other members do a lot of the talking, i.e Thai member BamBam spoke a lot of English when GOT7 held their fan meeting in Chicago. Seeing how KCON LA will be their 3rd US show this year, and the other English speaker Jackson will not be in attendance, hopefully Mark will have had the chance to prep and prepare himself to openly and confidently speak to the crowd in English. Better yet, what if Mark sang/rapped in English? Let that sink in for a bit and tell me that wouldn’t be anything less then awesome!


Also on KultScene: Got7’s “A” Music Video Review & Rundown

3. Girl Group Dances

Throughout the second half of their careers, GOT7 has solidified their right of way into the covering girl group dances hall of fame. “But what male idol group hasn’t done a dance cover to a girl group?” you ask. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before a male group is seen doing girl group dances on a variety show or at a concert, but it’s pure gold when the members in a group are genuinely and eagerly doing so. GOT7 is known to voluntarily break out in girl group dances; there have been times where they’ve even had in-group wars between the other members to see who does the better covers. With their smaller body frame and flexibility, members BamBam and JR are usually the best with girl group covers, although GOT7’s maknae (youngest member) Yugyeom, even with his taller height and lanky arms, is able to do one mean body wave.

4. A Collaboration With A Senior Group

This might be stretching it a bit considering artist collaborations aren’t usually done at American Korean shows, but considering how a lot of the other groups that will be at KCON are indeed GOT7’s seniors i.e. SHINHWA and Super Junior, there is a small possibility looming somewhere. Whether it would a full song done together, maybe an English song since they’re in America, or even if it’s a mere 20 seconds done together somewhere during the day or at the end of one of the shows, it’d definitely be something worth witnessing. Not only will the audience be in for a treat but also GOT7 as a group would probably be over the moon if given this opportunity if it were indeed to happen.


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5. Derpiness On Full Mode

If you didn’t already know, each and every member of GOT7 has a different level of derpiness, ranging anywhere from a “whoops I made a dumb face” to border line “if I keep this up, my face might end up like this.” I’ll wait while you go back and look up their past fan cams and fan taken photos. Not too impressed with them? Well, then have you see their latest music video for “Just Right”? A part of me wants to believe that they were directed to make the derpy faces that were made during the chorus but another part of me knows that even if they were given directions to do so, the members probably took it upon themselves to make the expressions to be extreme as possible. Considering the average age for GOT7 is 19, this is probably just a phase they they’re going through. Or maybe not. Regardless of all that, I hope that they continue to showcase their derpiness because it makes them unique and loveable.

As a KCON attendee, I’m not only grateful for being able to be at the convention and seeing GOT7 again, but it’ll be the icing on the cake if at least one of these five things listed actually happens!

What and who are you looking forward to seeing at KCON LA? 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.