G-Dragon, Girl's Generation, VIXX, B1A4, CNBlue, and more take on LA during KCON 2014 (1/2)
Arguably the best part of KCON for fans is the MCountdown! concert that comes as part of the package. Each year, a different lineup of k-pop artists come to United States to treat fans on this side of the pond to a fantastic show. This year was special... MCountdown! hosted "2 Nights in LA", a special 2-day event, which, while it didn't bring more groups quantity-wise, definitely allowed for higher quality sets and more songs. Saturday's concert featured VIXX, IU, B1A4, Teen Top, and G-Dragon, so let's talk about the show!
The night started with the preshow, as it has in the past. The stage gave way for special guests Jeremy Thurber and Jun Sung Ahn. Many people may have wondered who these guests were, especially after seeing them perform so flawlessly in front of such a large crowd, so here is a little background. Jeremy Thurber is a singer/songwriter originally from California. He has seen international success with his work, writing for all manner of groups, including k-pop artists TVXQ. You can learn more about him HERE. He performed three songs at KCON, starting with "Drive" and "Yo Ho Ho" before transitioning into "Falcon". I was impressed with his stage and I look forward to seeing more of him.
Jun Sung Ahn is a violinist and dancer from originally from South Korea. He also works in film and photography. During the preshow, he performed a violin cover of Taeyang's "Eyes, Nose, Lips" that was as dynamic as the original. He also performed dance cover of BEAST's "Good Luck" which was on-point. I am certain many will start to compare him to Henry in the years to come, but he has a lot of talent that is all his own. More of his work is available HERE.
After hyping the crowd, VIXX took the stage where they performed five of their hit songs. After emerging separately from underneath the stage via lifts, the set started with "Voodoo Doll", "Light Up the Darkness", and "Only U". After a bit of time speaking to the audience, the group moved to "Eternity" and "On and On". This was my first time seeing VIXX live, and they did not disappoint. Their singing was beautiful, they took time to engage the audience during the performance, and the dancing was amazing. At the end of their set, it seemed as if they didn't want to leave the stage, but alas the concert had to go on.
IU stormed the stage with her theatrical performance of "The Red Shoes," which is a very catchy song! It was quickly followed by "You & I," a slow tempo, jazz-inspired song. During her talk to the audience, she tried her best to use as much English as she could and admitted that she was nervous to be performing in the U.S. for the first time. She ended her performance with "Friday," which featured Teen Top's Niel, "Good Day," and the rock version of "Hey". IU exceeded my expectations, so if you are a fan of her dramas, definitely check out her music!
B1A4 loves to be a bit confusing for the K-pop world. Taking to the stage in outfits that could be considered schoolboy-inspired, rock knee socks with shorts and button ups, it was no surprise to everyone when they opened with light songs like "What's Happening," their ballad track "Lonely," and their current single "Solo Day". While the group definitely has a cutesy side, the crowd went crazy when they performed the energetic, rap-heavy "A Glass of Water," complete with spraying the audience with squirt guns, and "Baby Goodnight." They also announced their first world tour during their stage! You can find information on their 4 U.S. shows here!
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Teen Top was next to the stage, making a return following KCON 2013 and their world tour, which included stops here in the U.S. I have to say that while I was on the fence about them last year, the past 12 months have served them well. There is no other way to say it other than "the boys went hard." Performing "Rocking," there was a noticeable snap in their choreography that they did not possess before. "To You", "Crazy", and "Rock Star" were also extremely polished. If the boys felt fatigue, you could not see it in their performance!
G-Dragon also returned to KCON for his second year, and following the trend, his set was infinitely better than last year. He was armed with new songs as well as loved favorites from last year. He emerged as king of the stage, high in the air on a pedestal, starting off his set with "One of a Kind" and "MichiGO." After expressing his excitement to be back in Los Angeles and hoping to return with the rest of his BIGBANG group mates, he went into the lighter "Who You?" and "Crooked." Finishing off his set was "Crayon," my personal favorite from him. I enjoyed his focus on the stage and the fact that he seemed intent on fully engaging an already excited audience.
What was your favorite part of the Saturday portion of KCON's MCoundown! concerts? Was there a group that blew you away? Any songs you wanted to hear that were left out? Let me know in the comments below or tweet @Hallyu_Tanya. Don't forget to stay tuned for Part 2 detailing Sunday's performances from Girl's Generation, Bangtan Boys, CNBlue, and more!