[GUEST POST] [FAN ACCOUNT] KCON 2013 - M! Countdown: What's Up LA? Concert Review - Part 1

When KCON 2013 was announced, I was dead set on not going.  I'd read all sorts of bad stuff about KCON 2012 and thought, "What could possibly change in a year?"  Next thing you know it was announced that G-Dragon would be showing up, as well as people like EXO and f(x).  While I wouldn't fly across the country just to see EXO, I was pretty disappointed that I wouldn't get to see GD perform by himself (as well as shocked that he'd be attending KCON at all.  I mean, what??).  I also heard it was a lot of fun this year so... bummer.

Well my fellow non-KCON attendees, I've got the next best thing: A detailed fan account of the M! Countdown: What's Up L.A.? concert by the incomparable Leaf of My Kpop Obsession.  She describes herself as "gripped by Kpop", which I'm sure we can all relate to.  Leaf's blog is a stream of consciousness type of thing that you only want to go to if you have a couple of hours to spare, and by that I mean that it's really good and you won't want to leave.  I speak from experience!  

This is part 1.  Be sure to check out parts 2 and 3, which will be posted shortly.  Enjoy!

Wooo! Leaf's first glowstick!


KCON has come and gone, and I've lived to tell the tale -- which I will do shortly, but I want to start with an account of the concert...so humor me!

This will be quick and dirty
no flowery prose or attempts at cleverness!

Also, there are like NO high quality photos
of the concert out yet
so I'm making do with screen grabs...

Q: But what is M! Countdown?? 

A: A weekly music show in South Korea -- that sometimes has special episodes abroad. (Turkey? Malaysia? Did I imagine this? But this was the first broadcast in North America!)

I was excited by the recent news
that Kim Woo Bin was the new MC, 
but thought there was little chance
they'd send him over for KCON
-- and I was right!

But Danny Im did a fine job.

First of all: the stage itself was AMAZEBALLZ!!! Mnet obviously poured a lot of money into that beast. The pic above doesn't do it justice -- watch the broadcast when it happens -- the stage is a thing of beauty!

Second of all:  Mnet should have sunk some of that money into the sound system -- it was ABOMINABLE!!! So glad I brought ear plugs -- the audio was a nightmare throughout the entire concert! But despite this major, glaring atrocity, everyone seemed to enjoy the show.

Preshow: Jeff Bernat & Chad Future

As we like to tell our children: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. o_O

...and we'll just leave it at that.

But it got a LOT better!


f(x) performing at kcon 2013
screen grab from Rum Pum Pum Pum below

 Set: Electric Shock -  Rum Pum Pum Pum - Hot Summer

No surprises in the set list...

The girls were kinda stiff on stage -- they had excellent precision, but lacked showmanship and a connection with the audience. They kept their entire performance ON the stage -- it was still 30 million times better than the opening act, but not magical (for me, at least - I LOVE Pink Tape, the vocals are amazing - but the girls never wow me on stage.) But judging from all the fangirl screams, I was probably alone in this view. And it was pretty cool to see that Amber was the crowd favorite.

Remembering I'd never seen idol groups live in-person
I was about to fear for the whole of the concert
 -- BUT THEN...

Dynamic Duo 

 Set: BAAAM (above) - ?????? (with bikes and skateboards!) - Friday Night

...AMAZEBALLZ!!!! So thrilled I got to see these guys -- if not for the KCON appearance, I'd probably never have the opportunity. I doubt most of the kids in the crowd were actually familiar with Choiza & Gaeko, who are really authentic k-hip-hop artists, not idols (and the lack of youtube footage of their performance is reinforcing this assumption about the fans not knowing) -- but that didn't matter -- their music is great and their stage presence is fantastic -- they fed the whole audience with their energy.  My only complaint was ending with Friday Night -- the song is ok, but maybe not the best to end on for a Western audience - after the previous numbers, I was expecting a stronger/more exciting song for their final.

And if someone knows the name of the 2nd song
please tell me! 
I haven't figured it out yet!

Also, I enjoyed their set so much
I had to embed BAAM above!

screen grab from YanisRei vid of One Spring Day

These boys totally surprised me! I don't follow them at all -- I think I've maybe bumped into one or two of their songs/mvs -- but it's all so romantic ballady and I'm just not into it. BUT they know how to perform live!  Their opening video, which counted down the days to the concert, was adorable, they opened with that Bruno Mars song, sung in English -- and sung damn well, and then stood on some flowery cake boxes and sang their hearts out, and then came downstage and sang their hearts out some more. Their performance was simple - no flashy choreography - they just stood and sang -- but these boys know how to emote (without over-doing it), and how to work the crowd and the camera with subtlety! Especially Jo Kwon and Changmin -- these boys are sly, sly devils out to steal fangirl hearts! 

I get it 2AM fans. I totally get it, now.  (I'm still not into their music -- but I can recognize their appeal.)

Henry (of Super Junior)

henry lau at kcon 2013
screen grab from YanisRei's vid of 1-4-3

Set: 1-4-3 (ft. Amber) and Trap (English version)

The Super Juniors also seem to know how to put on a show, and Henry was not lacking. Even arriving out of a trap in the floor! I don't particularly care for either of these songs (I especially dislike the English version of Trap, but whatevs) -- but he knows how to give himself to the crowd -- and he made both of these songs a lot of fun to watch live. I did enjoy his set.

Crayon Pop

crayon pop at kcon 2013
screen grab from a fancam

Oh, Crayon Pop! Champions of Relentless Cheerfulness! Their songs drive me up a wall, but they were HELLA fun to watch live! So glad they were added last minute! No, srsly, they were actually really great live -- a great addition to the show!

Yu Seung Woo

fancam screen grab

The collab with HeeJun Han was cool -- but the staging for Hello was unexpected and delightful! I had seen giant white globes in the hall near one of the ladies' rooms before the show started and wondered if they were installation art or some sort of prop for the concert. Well, I found out! They launched the giant "marshmallows" into the audience and sent them bouncing around -- they were fun, but also a bit distracting, and the marshmallows nearly knocked him over a couple of times! It was cute, but honestly, I don't think he needed it. (I think he could have held the audience on his own, without the theatrics. I had actually watched his mv a couple of weeks ago and found it quite charming - it's totes sweet and adorable.) Ye Seung Woo also gets point for the jumbo-tron screen time Mnet gave to a couple of his screaming, crying fans as he took the stage -- soooo cute! The girls looked all of 15 -- it was precious!

Ok, the final three four - Teen Top, EXO, Missy Elliott & G-Dragon - are going to have to go in a separate post...


Read more of Leaf's work at her blog: My Kpop Obsession.  You can also find her on Twitter

Leave us a comment to let us know what you think, and stay tuned for more!

Source: Written by Leaf of My Kpop Obsession.  Take out with full credit. All fancams and images credited as tagged.

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