Time to settle down, buckle in, and get ready for some Kpop. KCon is the one event I look forward to (and save for) every year. Now that we’re at the tail end of another successful year, let’s look at the big event. The first concert. With each Kcon concert night, there are a few bands I look forward to, a few bands I don’t care for, and the odd surprise. (Gosh, I love an odd surprise.) Who was I looking forward to on Saturday night? Block B of course. Hot fudge they were so good last year. Whether they sang in their sub groups or all together, I loved the whole thing and left going “Why don’t I listen to them more?” AMBER! (Enough said.) Also, though I don’t really listen to them, I was certainly all excited for Shinee. I’m a new Key convert and since all my friends love them and have seen them perform multiple times, I figured this was my shot.
So, lets take a deeper look inside to see who was successful, who we discovered and who we rolled our eyes at.
(Okay, there was no real rolling of the eyes, I’d like to say it’s because I’m really nice and love everything, but that would be a lie. I’m a jerk. But my seatmate for LA was once again, Molly in Kdramaland, who actually is one of the nicest people on earth, and would not allow me to be my usual butt-hole self.
Unfortunately, due to some very big, disorganized lines, I missed my Jun Curry Ahn!!! I can’t believe I’ve now gone through a Kcon without his performance. It somehow now feels incomplete. Although, I hear he did the same song in NY, so I guess, technically I’m covered. However, I also missed the indie group who came up after him, and that I’m still peeved at.
Molly and I had amazing seats, surrounded by a bunch of other panelists and YouTubers I saw throughout the conferences. My most surreal moment was when the Jeff Benjamin tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I knew what the name of the song that Shinee just sang. Guys. I read his articles. With real companies. To speak to someone (we were on a panel in NY together so we actually do know each other to say hi now) you’ve read for years is quite the trip.
Anyway. After missing the warmups, the show starts. Except not really. It was time to give out an award, or more, a scholarship to Berkeley. Who better to give it out at KCON? Quincy Jones, of course! I believe my tweet went something like this. Quincy Jones is at KCON! uhhh….okay. At least this was something my non-kpop loving friends could get excited about when I reported back at home. The Quincy Jones came out, spoke a bit, gave out the award and then hustled out. Makes you wonder. Did he chill out in the back? Check out the music since he was there? Meet with some of the bands? My guess is that a lot of the bands would have actually liked to meet him.
So now with someone getting a free college education out of the way, it’s time for the for real part of the Kpop evening to begin. Except… wait, who is that? Who is that striking man?
Mother flippin’ Lee Min Ho.
Gosh guys, he is just so pretty in person. Well put together, perfectly coiffed, super tall, dazzling smile firmly in place. I managed to refrain from shouting GET BACK TO DRAMAS ALREADY! As, while he couldn’t hear me, I was surrounded by people who I think are cool, so I realized I should at least try and hold in my inner angry dork. You know. Until the next night. When BTS was playing. Then all fangirl gloves are off. However, that was another night, where I had tickets in a different part of the arena, where I wouldn’t have to worry about who knew me. (Flash-forward to the next night, in my new seat on the other side of the arena, where I was coincidentally sat around all of the same people, plus more that I knew. Come on! Can’t an obsessed BTS fan catch a break? I guess it was my karmic payback for the really good seats I lucked into.
He spoke for a while. About what? Who knows. Do we care? Nope. It’s Lee Min Ho, up there speaking in Korean to me. ME. Yes, just me. And maybe Molly. Maybe. Let it be known here that I am a good friend who does not mind sharing.
Let’s get to some music shall we? you know, because they did. First up, a girl group… And here Molly begins the poking. “Stephanie, pay attention.” I’m certainly not anti female artist, see upcoming Amber gushing, girl groups are just not usually my thing. This one was IOI, who did look adorable in their little red outfits, the same they were wearing at the Red Carpet.
Here is where we noticed the downside of our awesome seats. We were close to the first stage, however, most of the bands spent their time at the second stage, meaning we got to watch the backsides of a lot of artists. It was the same setup as KCON NY and, as in NY, most of the artists ignored the third stage. This is the first year KCon has tried a setup like this, and I wonder if they will do something differently next year. The one cool thing about our seats was that sometimes we got to see the artists walk in front of us after they were done!
Back to IOI. Actually, there were a few songs that I actually enjoyed from them, or at least songs I recognized that I’d heard before and kind of liked before. This is why there should probably be a no sneering policy in place when I go to these things.
After that Key from Shinee and Amber came out to do some hosting activities. Throughout the night, Key would periodically come up with a special guest host, unlike in NY where it was always Rap Monster and Ailee doing the job. I heart you Key and Amber! Why you never look my way?
They then ushered in Dean. Now, Dean is one I didn’t know before KCon. He did actually come and perform here in NY and a bunch of my friends went but I had no interest. Turns out? I’m an idiot. While usually his type of music really isn’t for me, he has a great presence on the stage and completely sold it. He was a little magnetic. I would totally go and see him in a show. And this is why Stephanie should listen to her friends.
She always says this and yet she never ever does. The one funny thing was seeing the YouTuber JMRKL. (I’m sure I have this wrong as I always call him JMerkle and Cherry corrects me.) He had a seat in front of us and he and his friend were STOKED for Dean and jammed out through his whole, unfortunately, short set.
Next up we have anther girl group, GFriend. Now, here I can say I don’t actually like them. Not like an IOI not like where I didn’t actually listen to them at all before hand, but I’ve listened to some GFriend stuff and it’s not for me. The one thing I did love about them though? They had some great dances! Usually girl group dances don’t do it for me as it seems a bit stroke, stroke, pose—but GFriend? Had elements of all sorts of different types of dance in there that, if I had more of a glancing look at So You Think You Can Dance, I would be able to name for you. But there was effort and a newness in there that I appreciated.
When they left the stage? It was time for my excitement to begin as out popped 2 members of Block B to do one of their sub-group songs. I believe one of them is Zico?
Whoever they were, they were awesome and so much fun to watch with their music and their strutting and all that punky energy. One of the songs they brought out Dean and completely made my night singing a song all together.
Way too soon they were off the stage though, but we refused to be sad as 1) I’m fairly certain I remember them walking past us and 2) I knew the would be back later on with the rest of Block B.
Block B? Why You No Come To Red Carpet?
The other reason not to be sad? When they left the stage, they were replaced with Amber and I lost my shit. I’ve been a huge fan of Amber for a really long time, again, not so much her with F(x) but her as a person and her solo stuff. I remember saying to Cherry I hoped they sang All That Brass, and she wasn’t sure if she would because it had come out a while ago. But what did she open with? All That Brass! Gah! I really like the song and to hear it in person was so much fun. She wore this striped red shirt which was giant on her and was pinned in the back. Not for a mike pack, but was just, like, pinned to make it appear smaller. Cherry thinks it may be because they found the size got in the way of her dancing. Whatever it was, she was great. She spoke to the crowd in English, as she is actually from LA, and the crowd loved her. She then sang the other song she came out with a while ago about accepting yourself, I cried (because that’s what I do apparently) and then she was done. WHAT? Only two songs??? Come on!
Whoever was coming up next had better be flipping good.
Turns out, who was next? Turbo. Okay. I guess I’m mollified. Kind of. They had a couple of the groups come out and perform bits from their old songs. Black Cat done by the girl group? Awesome. Do you think that Turbo gives a big no to performing those old songs?
This is where things get sticky. You wonder, why are there no pictures of these groups singing? Uhhh…yeah. Someone didn’t plan very well. Usually my camera battery can get me through the whole concert and then some. What I didn’t plan for? The Turbo fan engagement. The Red carpet. We hit Turbo and both the battery on my cell phone and my camera were almost dead. And we still had 3 freaking bands to go. GAH!
Back to Turbo. Finally Kim Jong Kook…I mean the band comes out and starts to perform. As I’m watching it through the eyes of my friends, The McFeeley’s fandom of Kim Jong Kook, it was a great time. They sang their latest song, then another song and another song and another song and another… or maybe that’s just what it felt like? In a good way. They did talk to the crowd a bit, talking about how happy they were to be there, differences from back when they first started to today, Kim Jong Kook’s gym time and ended with them singing the song I call the Running Man Song. McFeeleys would have been pleased.
Oh noes! It’s time for the Block B main stage! However am I going not take as many pictures here so that I will have some juice left for Shinee??? It is an impossibility.
Seriously guys, Block B is so good. They have a good sound, a good energy. I don’t even care that they sang some of the same songs they sang last year. I loved them then, I love them now. I left there with the same thought I had last year, “why don’t I listen to them more?” and I swore, from now on, I am going to put them into my rotation. As soon as I put music back on my phone as also through the concert I was dumping albums left and right in order to make more space for pictures.
Now I wish that Block B would come back and do a tour here in the states. Before they came and I didn’t go as I had just moved here and they were out in Long Island, which is really far and complicated to get there via public transportation. If they promise to come back though? I promise to hoof it wherever they decide to land. I swear guys, just come back!
So, when sadly, it was time for them to get off the stage, we were still excited, as this meant it was Shinee time! Like I said in the intro, I like some Shinee songs, they aren’t a band I choose to go out and listen to, but I was a huge fan of Married to the Music and I remain a huge fan of Key—I think of him whenever I take off my make-up as I use his makeup removal technique.
They rose out from the center like the headlining band they were and proceeded to sing.
Eh. I wish I could say I was blown away, but they chose a bunch of slow songs. I don’t mind a slow song, but if you only have a really short time to capture people’s attention, you’d think they’d greatest hit it. Or bang it out. I’m sure what they did was awesome. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. Their dancing though, was a lot of fun. I hear that they are one of the best dancing groups out there. Or they have some of the strongest dancers? I don’t know, but they were good.
And Key was there so it couldn’t be all bad, right? When they announced the last song, Molly freaked out as she thought they were announcing the last album. Oh Molly, you are too cute. The last one was a fast, fun, older one that I actually really do like and listen to, which left the whole set out on a high.
So, no final bows with everyone as, by that time, all my equipment was dead dead dead. Boo. But the cool thing that did happen? As I was in the wheelchair of gloom and sadness, I had to be led to and from my seat by staff. Awkward. Upside? They led us through the bowels of the venue and we rolled past the dressing rooms and catering, and the green rooms. Unfortunately, no, we did not see anyone, but just knowing they were somewhere in there was pretty awesome.
Let’s take a head count. Who did I like the best? Amber. Block B. And surprisingly? Turbo. Who was my surprise of the night? Quincy Jones. Just kidding. Dean. He was great. I can’t say I will run out and buy his stuff, but if he were to come around for anther concert? I’d go. Actually, any of those top ones I’d go to see a full concert on. Just tell me where to sign up and I will throw pretty-pretty money at you.
While my camera did die. I did manage to get a lot of photos, see below for the full gallery.