Amoeba Culture kills it during first U.S. tour
I'm still reeling from the fact that I got to see some of the hottest names in Korean hip hop (s/o to my boo Crush) perform in New York City. If you haven't heard, record label Amoeba Culture blessed K-hip hop fans in Atlanta and NYC recently by teaming up with Music Enkor to bring Dynamic Duo, Primary, Zion.T, and Crush on their first U.S. tour.
K-pop fans know how hard it can be to see their fave music performers outside of Korea — and that's with the backing of big labels like SM and YG — so it's exciting that not only did the Amoeba Culture boys tour in the U.S. at all, but the shows almost sold out! Let's hope this means more visits in the future! For those of you who weren't able make it to either show, let me walk you through it:
Terminal 5 is a sizable venue on the west side of Manhattan, but it was packed to the brim on the night of the concert. After we warmed ourselves up by singing along to the Amoeba Culture soundtrack during setup, DJ Friz kicked off the show with a bass-heavy set that had us jumping. At that point, I thought we were already pretty hyped up, but the crowd took it to a whole new level when Crush came on stage.
Crush killed it from the start. Slinking up and down the stage in his all-white outfit, he kept us on our feet as he belted out his smooth, R&B-rich songs. His entire performance was infused with confidence — despite his age (he's only 22), it was very clear he felt completely at home on stage. After his third song, he apologized for not having a speech prepared and asked shyly in English, "How are you?" Cue audience screaming. Then this magical interaction:
Crush asks the women in the audience to raise their hands. Screaming increases by several decibels as hundreds of hands go up.
Crush asks the single ladies to raise their hands. Screaming reaches epic proportions as hundreds of hands start waving madly.
Crush dedicates his next song to all the single ladies and cuts to "Whatever You Do," the lyrics of which would melt the heart of anyone. (Enjoy here)
A few songs later — including my personal favorite, "Sometimes" — he asked the crowd what they were doing after the show. "I'm in the U.S. until the 31st and I'm just going to play. So let's play together," he said, before switching to English to shout, "Let's have fun! Lots of fun!" As the intro to his final song "Hug Me" started, he asked us, "Do you know this song?" The answer was a resounding yes as the crowd roared.
Crush was soon joined by Zion.T, and the energy level in the venue lit up again. Dressed in a bright teal sweater, a loose beret, and sunglasses, Zion.T kicked off his set with Crush-collabs "Two Melodies'" and "Just," both of which had audience members singing fervently along with the artists' crooning. Zion.T also played with the crowd, asking us, "You know this song? You ready? Put your hands up!" before admitting endearingly that it was his first time performing in such a big venue in New York City, eliciting even more cheers from the crowd. Glad to have you, oppa! He followed up with a beautiful performance of "Yanghwa BRDG," which you can cry/sing along to here.
Up into the DJ booth popped Primary, known for wearing a box mask with a bird beak on it, followed soon after by Choiza of Dynamic Duo for "Question Mark." At this point, the crowd was going absolutely insane, and Choiza amped us up even further by announcing, "To make things more fun, we're going to call in Gaeko!"
I feel seriously #blessed to have seen Dynamic Duo, Primary, and Zion.T in a live performance of "I See Through You." I'm also #blessed to have experienced Dynamic Duo, period. The hip hop veterans really knew how to work the crowd, whipping us all into a frenzy from the moment they took the stage until the very end of the night. "Aren't you curious about Primary?" they asked, forcing Primary to take off his mask. "Call and text your friends," they shouted at us in Korean. "And tell them tonight is f**king awesome!!" That, it seemed, was the theme of their entire set, which bristled with confidence and a whole lot of swag.
Dynamic Duo's first song on stage was Primary's "Johnny," which has a verse quoting a girl telling the narrator, "Oppa, I have a boyfriend now. You should have called earlier." The boys stopped singing, pleased and probably not a little surprised, to let all the ladies in the audience take over, and I swear it sounded like every single woman in the venue knew all of the words. Beautiful. Once the song wrapped up, they greeted us in English to raucous cheering. "What up, New York? Are you happy? I'm so happy right now... you so sexy."
As if that wasn't enough to get us screaming again, DD then demanded our full attention. "I've got just one question for you. Who are we??' 'DYNAMIC DUO!!' 'Who are we??' 'DYNAMIC DUO!!!!!" The atmosphere was absolutely electrifying, and what followed was a turned up set of hit after hit. DD blew it out of the park with their high-energy performance, incredible rapping abilities, and sheer domination of the stage. It was clear that they were at the top of their game, and they were the ones we were there to see whether we liked it or not (and boy, did we love it.) Example: the entire audience began singing the lyrics to BAAAM the second the music started up, before Choiza and Gaeko even had a chance to raise the mic to their lips. So much love.
The full lineup returned to the stage for the much-anticipated encore, with DD teasing their fans by letting them know they'd be in NYC until April 4, ready to do nothing but play. Good guy Gaeko complimented his music parter Choiza as the best scratch DJ around and gave a shoutout to DJ Friz for his hard work that night. Then with a shower of confetti and one final, frenetic performance of Dynamic Duo's classic "Friday Night," the night was over.
But oh, what a night.