Saturday, May 24, 2014

Asian Music Festival in Seattle Experience

The Asian Music Festival Korean Hip Hop Series Vol 1 is currently in tour in New York, Seattle and L.A. I was so shocked to see Korean artists coming to Seattle, that I had to jump on this rare opportunity no matter the artist! While I was a bit hesitant to go because I'd feel out of place, I had two reasons for going:
  1. To support the fact that there are fans in Seattle waiting for Korean artists to perform, and
  2. The artists have ties to Infinite, so I must go!
The artists are Bumkey (who was featured in Infinite H's "Special Girl"), Verbal Jint (Infinite H covered his song "You Look Good" in Infinite's first concert), Beenzino (who I don't know), with special guest Kanto (who featured Sunggyu in "What You Want").
The Seattle concert was on Friday, May 23 at 7PM. I got a general admission ticket for $61.50; my ticket was 438 out of 1130 total tickets. There was also an early entry ticket that cost about an extra $25. The venue is located directly across from Pike Place and can be a bit sketchy outside; once inside the venue, it does seem a bit small and rundown, but it goes unnoticed once the concert starts. Also there is a bar to the side of the stage, which is the only section with seating. As for the rest of the layout, there's the floor, and then a slightly elevated platform in the back half of the pit area.
While the ticket says that doors open at 6PM, it wasn't until 6:50 when the general admission line started to pile into the venue. I got in line at around 5:50 and it had already snaked around the corner, yet by the time I got inside, I was a decent 15 feet away from the stage. DANakaDAN was the opening act and had already started; he performed meaningful raps in English for a good 30 minutes. I really liked his personality and the way he controlled the stage and connected with the audience. He really knew how to get everyone in the mood, even the most socially awkward concert goers like myself!
The next half hour was Beenzino, who spoke and performed in only Korean but knew how to get everyone bouncing on their feet and shaking the floor! At one point he even sprayed water on us with his water bottle. He was the most hardcore rapper of the night.
Next was Bumkey, who communicated in both Korean and English. He was very versatile, performing songs in Korean and some old school English songs. To my surprise, he even asked for someone's hand (which led to a major pit shift) while he sang purely without instruments or a backtrack! To top it off, Bumkey also performed a medley of the songs he was featured in, including none other than "Special Girl"! Everyone started screaming and singing along. Here's my fancam of it^^ I was surprised that he sang songs he was merely featured in, but I'm so thankful he did, as it was one of the three songs of the night that I knew -.-
Afterwards, Kanto joined Bumkey's act and together, they performed "What You Want," with Bumkey singing Sunggyu's part! Many people started singing along to this number too, including myself! Here's my fancam. May 23, the day of this venue, was also Kanto's 20th birthday, so Bumkey asked us to sing "Happy Birthday" to him in English. It's crazy that he's just a few weeks older than I am! The two performed a few more songs, spraying water on us along the way, and threw out Troy hoodies to the crowd. Bumkey was on stage for about 45 minutes when he and Kanto finished.
Last up was Verbal Jint, who was on stage for about 50 minutes, performing many old and new, unreleased songs. He spoke in English and Korean and touched many fans' hands. He also accompanied several of his songs by playing the keyboard. A highlight was when he did an almost acoustic version of "You Look Good" (which can be seen in my fancam), then he performed it normally.

After Verbal Jint left the stage, the crowd shouted for an encore, and soon enough, Verbal Jint and Bumkey came back on stage to perform one last song. They left the stage again, and people weren't sure if it was really over, then I think Bumkey came running back on stage, but then left again. Then the lights dimly went up and we all exited at 9:40.

Overall, I'm so happy to have been able to branch out in the music world and experience hip hop music! I cannot get over "Special Girl" and "What You Want" and will forever treasure seeing these two songs live. I love that I saw Infinite H perform "Special Girl" and now I've seen Bumkey perform the chorus, so it's almost like seeing the full song live. Now if only I can see Sunggyu perform "What You Want" live to see that song fully live...

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