kcon 2013, g-dragon, exo, teen top, 2am, dynamic duo, crayon pop, henry, f-x, yoo seung woo
With an event boasting 20,000 audiences, 100 special guests, 18 artists, highlights can be difficult to figure out. Nonetheless, we will always find ourselves filled with wonder at the superb performances and activities offered throughout the event.
This year, everything was significant. Even the panels and workshops were all worth attending. If there was a time to wish to be in two or more places at a single moment, it was that KCON 2013 weekend. More noteworthy though is how with all these breathtaking experiences on the side, everything leads to the concert set to cap it all, M! Countdown Whats Up LA. So, just like going on a trip, where sceneries along the drive is already awe-inspiring, the wonder is almost always guaranteed at the final stop.
So, take this trip down memory lane back to KCON 2013 weekend with me and let's name the wonders witnessed at KCON.
#1 G-Dragon (and Missy Elliott)
(c) Jocelin N
We already know G-Dragon is a wonder, and so is Missy Elliott. They are both wonders in their own circles. But at KCON, we see worlds collide, and it gives you that surreal feeling. Seeing Missy Elliott Get Ur Freak On on the same stage as the top K-pop artists already feels a wee bit of a lot of thingsnostalgic, weird, awesome. Then, we see G-Dragon, as if he wasnt selling out full concerts in domes and arenas all over the world, giving us bits and pieces of his greatness. Almost to the point of thinking weve got our CrayOn and definitely gone MichiGo. Pinch yourself a couple of times and youre brought back to Los Angeles, where you begin to accept everythings as real as it gets.
And that wasnt enough.
Although we kind of expected it, actually seeing the now elusive Missy Elliott collaborate with G-Dragon on a performance is just something not to miss in a lifetime. Their choreo is still stuck in my head. It is that good.
#2 EXO is back, as one, bigger, a star on the rise
(c) Jocelin N We saw EXO-M last year in this same kind of setting. And seeing them then for the first time, only half the group, I already felt as though they really will go places soon. And so they did.
Fast forward nearly a year later, they bring the other half to form the full group. While I would still, personally, prefer to see the group perform MAMA on the same stage together, their acrobatic tree of life for Wolf and crotch-grabbing sequences for Growl was enough to explain for me why they are given all this attention now. These are twelve men with pure star power. Put them all in the same room or heck even just the same stage = explosive!
But if I decide to be sentimental, seeing EXO as one, and seeing how much attention they are receiving now was proof for me how so much could happen in a year. And that can be inspiring.
#3 Teen Top rocks
(c) Jocelin N
Let me be honest. I hear about Teen Top all the time and never really pay attention. To me, they were just another K-pop group with members wearing the oddest of hair colors. While I have friends who are Teen Top fans, and I did promise to listen to their music before coming to KCON, life had other plans for me. So, what happened was, I let the M! Countdown LA concert be their chance to make a first impression for me. And a lasting impression they did make. I like how effortless their choreography was, how natural they move about on a stage. And because of that I think Teen Top rocks.
Plus, they did let us all be the first to see their new song Rocking, so they get extra credits for that to bring them past an A+ score.
And allow me to say, last year I didnt know B.A.P either and I had the same comment about the hair colors, and after last years KCON, I turned into a fan. So this year, Teen Top is my B.A.P.
#4 2AM is loved just the way they are
(c) Dorothy A
You do know how anticipated 2AM is, right? Or maybe its just me.
Ive seen their pictures from the tour stops they made all over Asia, and almost always wondered when I will finally see them on stage in America. So, seeing them in the KCON 2013 line up was a dream come true almost. And knowing that they were limited to only 3-4 songs, I didnt get my hopes up. In their Asia tour stops, 2AM always makes it a point to sing one song that is popular in a country, and when possible, in that countrys language. I didnt think theyd deliver that in the USA. Because they are adorable, they did! For their opening song, they sang Bruno Mars Just the Way You Are and Im almost tempted to tell them that we are all singing it in our hearts back to them (Okay, I did sing very loud with them, but I dont think anyone cared). Bruno Mars, of course, is without competition. However, seeing this hit song done by a quartet of pure voiced men will do wonders to ones soul.
It was particularly touching how, as a ballad group, 2AM had nearly everyone who knew their songs sing along with them as they performed One Spring Day and Cant Let You Go Even If I Die. I think they deserve a live concert in the US, soon.
#5 Dynamic Duo cant be dissed
(c) Dorothy A
On their way to America, Gaeko got caught in the haywire that was the K-hiphop dissfest. Nevermind that the audience at KCON was mostly pop fans, Dynamic Duo delivered on stage even amid a controversy. Setting the audience to the groove with BAAAM, I realize well early in Dynamic Duos set that these two respected artists are on a mission. As Choiza and Gaeko both jumped and thumped to their beats, they were also doing another thingacquainting this majority pop crowd to the creative and slightly liberated world of Korean hip hop. Revealing a music and art form that is rarely appreciated in K-pop circles, Dynamic Duo worked their way into hearts, showing that K-pop also caters to different tastes in music.
(c) Dorothy A
#6 Crayon Pop can be addicting
Im a hype snob, I admit. I usually stop paying attention whenever everyone else begins to go gaga over something. So, this is how Bar-Bar-Bar can be new to me. More than their neon green costume though, Crayon Pop caught my eye and my ears and maybe all of me. Theres something innocent about the girls of Crayon Pop. Something boldly innocent, that they dared to go the other way, to be silly and to have fun on stage fully clothed while everyone else is all about showing skin. This makes them relatable, and thus, can get people to dance along with them.
Will Bar-Bar-Bar be the next Gangnam Style? Id rather answer that question differently. I think Crayon Pop is bringing the first Bar-Bar-Bar.
#7 Henry is jack-of-all-trades
(c) Jasmine S
No one may have noticed, but Henry was all over the place that day. For someone whos only arrived to Los Angeles on the same day (as did EXO), he was showing no signs of weariness.
Attending a panel for his movie Final Recipe in the afternoon, he revealed a side of himself less known to everyonehis actor self. Then, at night, although he was only given a 2-song set, he showed us his other sides alsothat of the composer and artist as he performed his self-penned 1-4-3 with f(x) Amber and then his dancer self as he awed us all with Trap. Its just really wonderful to see him be so versatile and multi-talented.
Henry can be one those understated and therefore underrated in K-pop. However, the fans who came to see him at his panel and were singing and dancing along during his performance prove that he has the follower base to hit it big solo.
Now, I understand how tough it is to rank experiences. Because I dont want to leave worthy performances out. So, then we have the
f(x) makes the summer hot
(c) Jasmine S
They can easily be the 8th wonder. f(x)s performance at the concert was great and their demeanor at the press conference fabulous and graceful. But, they are already f(x). We already knew they are awesome, and remain to be. It would have been nice to see them bring something special or new at KCON. Sulli's short dress could have been it, but given all the surprises and stuff coming about, f(x) kind of got a bit 'ordinary'. Nonetheless, they were still awesome
(C) Jocelin N
Yoo Seung Woo (Superstar K) and HeeJun Han (American Idol) show success doesnt elude runner-ups.
Both runners up in their respective audition shows, the pair share a common experience, and perhaps nearly a common journey to the pinnacle. What strikes me most, though, is how they both remain down-to-earth even on stage. The honesty and rawness of their performance made it memorable.
Although if I could have a diss, even as I understand its need for filming effects, I think the balloons or balls or whatever those were called that filled the arena for Yoo Seung Woos performance was kind of distracting. So, that took away my wonder, at least for a bit.
We are grateful, yet lets admit it, were also left wanting. While we appreciate the entirety of the KCON 2013 experience, just for record keeping sake, lets go and be honest and say
What we missed:
A Rock band inclusion in the line-up
If we can include ballad and hip-hop as K-pop, as was done with the appearances of 2AM and Dynamic Duo, then rock needs to be represented too. Probably my own self-confessed rocker whim. While yes, I may be alluding to including CNBLUE or FTISLAND in the lineup, another rock band (Royal Pirates, maybe?) would also have worked. Just saying.
Another girl group
While f(x) and Crayon Pop gave us two girl groups, one more probably wouldnt hurt, especially if the girl group was a bit more seasoned like Brown Eyed Girls or After School. Or if we cant have a girl group, then maybe a girl solo artist?
Nearly a week after everything wrapped up at KCON 2013, I'm already thinking of what great things are in store for KCON '14. If the organizers can do better than they did the year before, I'm pretty sure next year's line up and overall event will be a wonder all by itself.