It’s been two years since Korean indie-rock icons HYUKOH was last here, but the adorably awkward quartet had no trouble filling up all four levels of the Esplanade Theatre on Monday, which was literally packed to the rafters.
On the back of their latest EP 24: How To Find True Love And Happiness which was released last year, the four-piece has been making the rounds on their first ever world tour. The diverse crowd that turned up was vastly different to your typical K-pop concert, but everyone was instantly captivated by the band when they kicked off the show with ‘Skyworld’. They then launched into the massive hit song ‘Wi Ing Wi Ing’ from their very first album, before going back to their newer tracks.
Their off-beat fashion and don’t-care attitude resounded with the fans, who lost themselves in the music. With a quick greeting from lead vocalist Ohhyuk because “they told to me to say something on stage” which prompted huge laughter from the crowd, the charming singer then shared that he named the latest album “How To Find True Love And Happiness” because he wants to find it – and a part of us hoped that he found it here on this very night. With the release of 24, the band has found their signature sound of guitar-heavy ballads and stuck to it as themes of love, loss and life feature heavily on their latest album. The songs are slightly more upbeat than their previous albums, but are equally raw and emotive.
Hyukoh performed every song off the record and more, and even treated us to the live version of Superorganism’s remix of ‘Gang Gang Schiele’. It only took a gentle prompting from Ohhyuk as he shyly told the audience “You know, you guys can stand up if you want”, before the whole concert hall took to their feet. HYUKOH’s energy seemed to rocket to another level as everyone started dancing together, while the band powered through their songs relentlessly. Ohhyuk then showed off his trilingual chops as he sang in Chinese for an epic rendition of ‘Wan Li’. And what we found particularly amazing was that, no matter the language they sing, it didn’t stop anyone from humming along to the songs – proving that music is truly universal.
Other fan favourites like ‘Hooka’ and ‘Gondry’ were also on the setlist, and everyone brought out their flashlights for Tomboy to create a sparkling sea of yellow lights. The night ended off on a high note with the upbeat ‘Love Ya’, a tribute to all the lovers out there.
Despite the few words and limited interaction with the crowd, HYUKOH lets their music do the talking. Drawing energy from the fans, Ohhyuk even shyly asked the crowd if he could play one more song after the encore, which he promised was “really the last, last song of the night”. Obviously everyone screamed yes, and we were treated to an encore where they showed off their instrumental prowess before finally bidding goodbye.
It’s no secret that JYP has perfected the girl group formula. Just take a look at their history of female-fronted acts like Wonder Girls, Miss A and TWICE, who are inarguably among the most influential girl groups of their respective generations. Following in the footsteps of their predecessors, the entertainment behemoth is back to reclaim their place on the charts with a new team of young pop mavens – and they are poised to lead the next era of K-pop.
A five-member outfit consisting of Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong and Yuna, ITZY dropped their debut track ‘Dalla Dalla’ to immediate success and fanfare – their music video has already broken the record for most views in its first 24 hours for a K-pop debut, and has since racked up a whopping 53 million views as of 20 February. And if these rapidly-rising numbers are any indication, they’re only about to get even bigger in time to come.
Before they officially take over the world, we bring you up to speed on all things ITZY.
#1 They’re different.
As the title of their debut album It’z Different aptly suggests, ITZY isn’t your typical girl group. An enjoyable departure from TWICE’s usual brand of bubblegum pop anthems, these sassy femmes played into the girl crush concept that seemingly draws influences from Wonder Girls and Miss A. Their banger of a lead single ‘Dalla Dalla’ incorporates an infectious blend of EDM and hip-hop, which makes it sound experimental yet insanely catchy all at once. Now, BRB while we hit replay.
#2 They have a message to tell.
While many modern day K-pop acts tend to stick to the tried-and-tested formula of lighthearted love songs accompanied with a repetitive hook, ITZY is all about being different. At first glance, ‘Dalla Dalla’ might seem like just another bop – but read between the lines and you’ll realise that it’s actually an empowerment anthem that encourages fans to love themselves rather than succumbing to society’s expectations. Besides, what’s more attractive than a group of confident ladies who aren’t afraid to be different?
#3 They’ve got the moves.
Can we just talk about how lit the choreography for ‘Dalla Dalla’ is? From the powerful hair whips to the killer floorwork, the girls hit every move in perfect synchronisation with the beat – all while oozing major swagger and attitude. Check out their dance practice below!
#4 You might find some of them familiar.
Prior to their debut, some of the ITZY members have already gained a ton of attention from their appearances on several TV shows. Ryujin previously competed on YG’s reality programme MIXNINE, while Chaeryeong took part in JYP’s survival show SIXTEEN back in 2015. Yeji also had a brief stint on SBS music variety series The Fan, where she captivated audiences with her smooth rap and dance skills.
#5 Two of the members starred in BTS’ MVs.
If you’re a fellow ARMY, you might’ve spotted Ryujin and Yuna in BTS’ Love Yourself highlight reels. Ryujin was the girl who danced alongside J-Hope and Jimin, while Yuna played Jungkook’s partner and even had a hospital romance going on. Now that they’ve made their debut, we sure hope ITZY and BTS get to meet on the same stage one day!
Are you ready to stan ITZY yet? Drop them some love in the comments below!
If there’s anybody that knows how to throw a party, it’s the team at Skechers Sundown Festival. Touted as “Asia’s definitive music and arts festival”, the annual extravaganza is back for its 10th and biggest edition yet.
To be held at Siloso Beach Sentosa from 19 to 21 April 2019, festival-goers can look forward to a larger-than life 3D2N party unlike anything you’ve ever seen before – complete with an exhilarating lineup of international and homegrown acts that aim to celebrate the diversity of Asian music.
Just last week, the organisers have already welcomed a handful of stellar artistes such as Korean rap collective MFBTY (Tiger JK, Yoon Mi Rae and Bizzy), Chinese hip-hop outfit Higher Brothers, Japanese heavy metal band Crossfaith and Taiwanese DJ Shogun. Local favourites like Charlie Lim, Sam Rui and Shigga Shay are also set to join in the festivities.
While it seems like the bill couldn’t get any better, Sundown Festival has just announced the final wave of big-name headliners to round up the festival lineup. Fronting the stage is K-pop boy band iKON, who are making their return to Singapore shortly after concluding their 2018 Continue Tour back in November. Alongside iKON, there will also be performances by Korean-American DJ TOKiMONSTA, Vietnamese EDM producer Hoaprox and Taiwanese singer-songwriter Karen Cici.
Here’s the full music lineup:
SHIGGA SHAY & GCC
TAKU TAKAHASHI (M-FLO)
YUNG RAJA & FARIZ JABBA
For music lovers with a penchant for arts and films, you can also enjoy the screening of award-winning films, while immersing yourself in the array of sustainable art installations across the festival grounds. To cap off the festival vibes, Sundown Festival is offering a dedicated glamping experience at Campville, which will come furnished with comfy beds, fresh linen and can accommodate up to four people per tent. Or if you’re a camping enthusiast, you can choose to pitch your own tent at Freedom Camp.
Forget Fyre Festival – Sundown Festival’s the real deal.
Skechers Sundown Festival runs from 19 April to 21 April 2019 at Silosa Beach Sentosa. Tickets are available at www.sundownfestival.sg.
Nearly half a decade after their last gig in Singapore (including a long hiatus that followed their second album), modern rock quartet Kodaline is finally returning to our shores this March with new music under their belts. Having dropped their latest compendium Politics of Living last September, the rest of the world has been waiting with bated breath to see what the four-piece has in store for us.
Before the show, we caught up with bassist Jason Boland in a phone interview to find out what the band had been up to, thoughts on potential collaborations, and how this bunch of “excited teenagers” – frontman Steve Garrigan, guitarist Mark Prendergast, drummer Vinny May and himself – from Dublin has grown to become the Kodaline we know today.
Hi Jason! It’s been four years since Kodaline last stopped by for a show. Is there anything you particularly miss about Singapore?
We’re going to try more street food – that was my favourite part of Singapore back then. We didn’t have the time to explore the country last round, so I want to spend some time exploring with my camera. I just want to walk as far as I can and see what I can find.
What was your favourite Singaporean dish when you tried the food here last time?
Chicken rice. Absolutely incredible.
You dropped Politics of Living last September, but you were on hiatus for a while. What have you guys been up to?
Both Vinny and I got married to our wives recently, so we had a lot of time to spend with our family and friends – just getting back to our roots. We were still making music, but by the time we actually got back to making the records, it already had been a year or so.
I think it’s a very even mix. When you’re on the road, you just want to go home, but when you’re home, you just can’t wait to get back out.
In this album, you also collaborated with plenty of notable producers. As singer-songwriters yourselves, how was it like working with them and how was the entire process like?
Whenever we work with anybody, it’s really about the relationship so these aren’t just our friends at work. If we were to let someone into the Kodaline process, it takes a lot of time because you have to get on with each other – it’s like having a fifth member of the band more than having an outside person. But it was an exciting experience; these guys bring incredible colour to the table and it was nice to be able to try different things.
Despite the number of collaborators on the album, it’s not often that Kodaline works with fellow artistes. Are there any acts you wish to collaborate with in the future?
We’ve never really gotten the opportunity. I think Nina Nesbitt is the only female singer we’ve done a collaboration with for ‘Hold You’, and after that we did ‘Raging’ with Kygo. I think we’re very interested in trying out couple of things – we’d love to collaborate with Zedd one day. We’d also like to work with a big YouTuber. Someone like Ninja (American Twitch streamer) would be nice.
In a previous interview, you mentioned that it’s an album about growing up. How has Kodaline changed throughout the years?
I think at the heart of it, you might find that we’re still a group of big kids who get to play music and can’t believe their luck. So much of it is just us being excited teenagers – that’s what we really feel like, even though the life around you might not look like that anymore (laughs). We also listen to a lot of different genres of music these days. We’re huge fans of pop music now, which we probably wouldn’t have been at the very start; it’s just that your musical tastes develop as you grow up. When we first started out, we set out to be a classic band so we listen to the likes of The Beatles, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. But now, the meaning of what a band is has changed so much. As long as the music sounds like you, it doesn’t really matter that much.
You guys are no stranger to selling out shows all over the globe, yet are still able to maintain a relatively low-key image despite your fame. How do you keep the balance?
I think it’s a very Irish thing that no matter how well you do, the moment you come home, your friends bring you right back down to Earth. They don’t let you get too big for your boots. We’re very lucky that it’s kind of our culture – you might see Bono from U2 walking down the street, but nobody is going to care or stop him in his tracks. You can have celebrities out and about in Ireland and no one will bat an eyelid.
What about other countries? Would you get stopped if people recognise you?
We only get stopped on show days; when people kind of expect to see us. I walk around with my camera – it has a pretty good camera flash and no one expects a guy in a band to be taking pictures, so it works out well (laughs).
You’ve achieved so much within the span of Kodaline’s career, but what’s your ultimate goal as a band?
I think the dream is just to be able to do this for as long as possible, you know? Obviously, we want to play at the biggest shows in the world and we’d love to eventually get to stadiums, but even if that doesn’t happen, just being able to play for people everywhere would be the best job in the world. We’re really grateful that we get to do it now.
Any words for Singapore fans who are anticipating your concert?
We just can’t wait to get out and see you guys! Sorry that it has been so long. We’re so thankful that you’re still supporting us, and that makes it possible for us to come all the way around the world and play for you. There’s going to be a ton of great music and loads of fun.
Lastly, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
We’re touring up until the summer, then we’re doing a lot of festivals. We’re hoping to get some new music out by the middle of the summer or end of the summer – maybe an EP or a single, we’re not really sure yet, but we’ll definitely make something new.
Featured image credit: LAMC Productions
Catch Kodaline at their one-night-only show on 5 March 2019, 8pm at [email protected] Box! Tickets are available via SISTIC.
Okay, let’s get this straight: BLACKPINK is huge. And by huge, we’re talking about their ability to command a 9,500-strong crowd at their sell-out concert in Singapore as part of their 2019 World Tour [IN YOUR AREA].
If that’s not enough to prove their rising popularity, the K-pop quartet had just made their U.S. TV debut merely days prior to the show. In yet another history-making move, the girls are also set to perform at Coachella later this year, making them the first Korean female act to play at the legendary music fest. For a barely three-year-old group to achieve success on such a global scale, there’s really no doubting their immense star power at this point. And we can definitely see why from the amount of BLINKs in attendance at their Singapore show last Friday, which enveloped the entirety of Singapore Indoor Stadium in a sea of heart-shaped lights with their hammer-bongs.
“It’s our first time in Singapore and it’s way better than I’d imagined. So many of you are here to see us!” Rose exclaimed in delight at the massive turnout. Despite their limited discography that consists of no more than nine songs, the ladies of BLACKPINK made up for it with their exuberant performances, top-notch stage presence and truckloads of fan love throughout the two-hour show – which inevitably left us yearning for more.
But as much as we’re in favour of quality over quantity, we certainly hope the four-piece will be back with a fuller repertoire of songs that will do them justice during their next visit (which they hinted could be anytime soon). Till then, relive the highlights with our review below!
#1 When they served us some solid live vocals
We’ve been to our fair share of concerts to know that not all acts perform live due to the sheer intensity of their choreography (and that’s perfectly okay in our books, FYI), but BLACKPINK proceeded to prove naysayers wrong with their flawless vocal capabilities – all while effortlessly slaying the dance routines on stage. Take that, haters!
#2 When Lisa and Rose swapped roles with each other
In an adorable attempt to showcase their vocal versatility, we spotted Lisa playfully passing the mic to Rose during her rap portion of ‘DDU-DDU DDU-DU’ – to which the latter nailed the part perfectly. Shortly after, Rose sought revenge by letting Lisa take over her high note. Even though the pair was merely goofing around, it couldn’t hurt to imagine the members changing up their roles for real one day.
Although Jennie’s the only member with a solo release (aptly titled ‘SOLO’) thus far, the other girls also got their moment in the spotlight with their own individual stages: Jisoo with a soaring cover of the Zedd-assisted ‘Clarity’, Lisa with a sizzling dance performance of Jason Derulo’s ‘Swalla’, and Rose with an enthralling mash-up of Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’/Park Bom’s ‘You And I’/Taeyang’s ‘Only Look At Me’. Here’s hoping that Papa YG will grant the rest of ’em their well-deserved solo debuts soon!
Both top-tier girl groups in their own right, BLACKPINK hit us right in the feels when they delighted the audience with a nostalgic cover of Wonder Girls’ 2008 hit ‘So Hot’. What else can we say, we love queens supporting queens!
Coming from YG, most people would probably expect them to perform a 2NE1 track but imagine our surprise when they paid tribute to the former JYP outfit instead. Hey, perhaps we can expect a Girls’ Generation cover at the next concert?
It was Rose’s birthday a few days ago on 11 February and local BLINKs decided to surprise the 22-year-old with a birthday song during the encore. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as loud as they expected it to be. After several attempts, Rose finally heard it and showed her gratitude by cutely thanking fans. Guess the project was a success after all!
after many tries, rosé finally heard SG BLINKS singing happy birthday to her
#6 When they reciprocated the love with tons of fan service
After finishing up their ending ments, the members launched into an emotional rendition of ‘Stay’ during the encore stage – and boy, did they indulge BLINKs with some heart-fluttering fan service. From picking up support banners to noticing fans in front rows, the night was made more memorable thanks to BLACKPINK. Our favourite moment? When Jennie bent down to comfort a crying fan, despite being teary-eyed herself.
i was crying here 😭😭😭😭😭 jennie knealt & said ‘dont cry, love you’.