So, if I was able to fall asleep after, you know it must have been exhausting–the KTMF was four-and-a-half hours of long! But fun. Lots of fun.
Actually, the concert was four-and-a-half hours. (Bastarz sang all of three songs–if there’s only one group you want to see, this is not the venue I’d recommend.) Before the concert was the festival, which mainly seemed to be booths where they’d spin a wheel and you win stuff. Honestly, at this point in my life, I don’t feel a need for more stuff, but people seemed to enjoy it.
And there were a lot of people.
It had what I think every festival could use–a giant cup of ramen walking around.
Not shown: The concerned little girl who did not think that giant cups of ramen should be allowed to walk around.
My main regret from deciding to kind of avoid the festival side of things is that (since you can eat in the Hollywood Bowl) everyone around me had the most delicious-smelling Korean food, and I was very jealous (I made do with a lame sandwich from the concessions stand). If I do this again, and I might, I’ll have to investigate and figure out where that food came from.
This was my first time going to the Hollywood Bowl, which was really cool. (And I second the advice to walk there from the Hollywood and Highland Metro station–it’s less than a mile, and it’s a gradual slope. It only gets steep once you’re inside.)
I’m sharing so many pictures of the Hollywood Bowl because I was too far away and my phone camera was too crappy to get good pictures of the actual concert, especially once it got dark and everything was backlit.
But I did get a good one of Haha’s hair being blown so it looked silly (it was windy), while Tiffany’s hair just looked wind-blown and glamours. (They were the MCs.)
And I tried really hard with Bastarz and managed to get all of one shot:
As I mentioned, KTMF is really long–there were introductory performances as well, so I think we saw something like 15 or 16 different acts? It’s also attracts a range of ages, and the music isn’t just idol pop. (There were some grannies sitting near me, and it was funny to see what made them plotz. Believe it or not, a Black gospel choir from Crenshaw and DJ Doc both did the trick)
Because the festival was so big and diverse, it’s kind of hard to talk about it in a coherent fashion, so I guess I’ll talk about what stuck out to me.
I’ll start with them, because why not? Like I said, they only did three songs (“Make It Rain,” “Charlie Chaplin,” and “Conduct Zero”)–they were funny and weird, of course, and there were quite a few honey wands in the audience (alas, I forgot to pack my little one). There were three big video screens on the stage, and the cameramen were shooting the three of them so that each one appeared on a screen. But that actually made them look cool and organized, so it triggered the Block B Chaos Effect, and one of the feeds went dead and stayed dead for the rest of the concert. (You tempt the Block B Chaos Effect at your peril, show technicians!)
I don’t really like normal idol performances
It was interesting to see where Bastarz/Block B fits on the idol-other musician spectrum (basically: We’re trying to idol, but we’re not very good at it).
Most of the performers were not idol performers, and in all honestly I was very thankful for that, because I enjoyed the normal idol performances the least by far.
Why? Well, there’s just not a lot of actual stagecraft going on there. The boy groups (Victon, NCT 127) danced very well but didn’t do a whole lot in the way of singing, so it was like watching a dance troupe perform to a song they downloaded from the Internet. Apink and Tiffany sang more and danced less, but it was all devoid of spontaneity. No one was working the audience or getting everyone going, because there just wasn’t any room for that.
In contrast, the hip-hop groups (Skull & Haha, DJ Doc) were VERY good at riling up the audience. (And DJ Doc was just like, “GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS UP!!!”–they didn’t give a shit before they were respected industry seniors, and they certainly don’t give a shit now. The grannies didn’t mind.) The non-idol soloists (Kim Yeong Im, Cho Hang Jo, Chu Ga Yeoul, Min Kyung Hoon, and Gummy) were just amazing musically, so even though I wasn’t familiar with their stuff, I’d gladly watch any of them live again.
But all that musicality and stagecraft was just missing from the idol performances–even if I liked the songs, the idol format was just kind of blah.
Haha is a very funny man
Very funny. He barely speaks English, and yet I, who understand precious little Korean, thought he was hilarious (he and Tiffany kept sparring over the correct pronunciation of “McDonald’s”). When he came out to perform with Skull, he was wearing dark glasses, but then he whipped them off to sing “soulfully” into the camera for “Don’t Laugh”–and in the process he dropped them, so he had to retrieve them from an audience member afterward.
The English-only crowd should stay away
Not that they’d come anyway, but the whole thing was largely in Korean with only occasional English.
Which meant that the patter could get a little dull, but sometimes I understood it. Like Kim Yeong Im asked if we wanted an encore, which we most certainly did, and then she said something along the lines of how she was happy to hear it because she wasn’t sure how she’d hold up against all the younger idol groups, and then I believe she implied that Haha had given her a hard time about all that.
Then she performed and was great, and Haha ran out and threw confetti on her.
And NCT 127 will forever be to me The Group of Young Men Who Don’t Speak English Well and Are Very Self-Conscious About It…Plus Two Total Bros (yeahahahahah).
P.O actually gave English the old college try (“Yes!” “The weather is nice!”), which was delightfully awkward (although his pronunciation was very good). He read his patter from a card, which resulted in things like, “I’m so happy [pauses to squint at paper] to be here.”
So, I had a great time! And it was a handy excuse to travel someplace where you can actually see the sun, which God knows I needed!
ETA: I know some non-Americans were upset that there wasn’t a big crowd to greet Bastarz at the airport–guys, Americans don’t do that, certainly not like people in Asia. I think the members of Block B are used to that by this point.