So, it’s been quite the season for Korean hip-hop in the Pacific Northwest–last month, it was Dynamic Duo in Vancouver, and this month it was AOMG in Seattle.
(And the only reaction the line outside the venue got from passers-by was them honking their horns and whooping at us. Because we were going to party! It was a slightly less Asian crowd than Dynamic Duo but still largely Asian, so yeah. Seriously, I don’t know what’s going on in Vancouver, but whenever anyone complains that Americans are too politically correct about race, remember that there are worse things to be. Like hostile.)
Anyway, I hate to start off on a negative note, but I really disliked many things about the venue. The Showbox SODO is a club, not a theater, so the stage was like this:
It was not that high compared to where we were standing, the floor did not slant up so that you could see over the people in front of you, and the layout was narrow and deep, so that you were always far from the stage. (I’m not going to have great pictures. Which is a shame, because SOMEBODY finally took his shirt off!)
Not helping matters was the AOMG light stick, which was this large tube with multicolored lights. They look really cool:
But they’re thick and long and block your view like a motherfucker.
The lineup was Simon Dominic, Loco & Gray (who performed together), and Jay Park, with DJ Pumpkin as, you guessed it, DJ.
It started with the Reading of the Rules. I found this confusing, because it went like this.
CONCERT GUY: Flashing is not permitted.
ME (shouting): What sort of flashing?
CONCERT GUY (looking judgmental): I didn’t hear that.
He then made us repeat “No flash!”–and then he made a joke about flashing us. Even now, I have no idea if they meant that flash photography was not permitted, or if taking off your clothes was not permitted.
Rule #2 was that we should “respect the artists” and not throw anything at them.
Was either rule followed, and if not, what happened? Read on to find out!
Simon Dominic started out, and he was fucking amazing. He’s one of these guys who never seems to even breathe–he sounds like he could rap non-stop for the entire three minutes of a song without any trouble whatsoever. His English isn’t very good (which REALLY amused the two young Korean guys standing next to me), but he said nice things about Seattle and being happy to be here.
Then Gray and Loco came out–I think it was Loco first, then Gray, but they basically performed as a unit. Since their voices are at about the same range, they even split songs so that they could both perform them. At one point Loco screwed up and rapped when Gray was supposed to–it was pretty funny because Gray was just like, Dude! and Loco ended the line and Gray picked up the next one.
I was able to get fairly close to the stage, but as their set went on people started to crowd in because they were expecting Jay Park, and I got hotter and thirstier and hotter and thirstier…. Finally I realized that the one advantage of the venue was that their was no way for the performers to see if you snuck off and went to the bar for a bottle of water and a really horrible Cape Cod, so that’s what I did. (And that’s where I took the second picture from.)
After I drank, I went back down–I didn’t want to get into the scrum again, so I went around to the other side, and I was actually able to get fairly close.
And Jay Park came out! He went from the sweatshirt to the tank top to no shirt at all, which was glorious (no lie–he looks really good), but unfortunately none of the shirtless photos came out, so you’ll have to be satisfied with this.
He was great–the problem was that he didn’t perform as much as I would have liked. In fact, he had two Seattle rappers come on up there and perform their songs.
Now, I appreciate that Jay is a generous and wonderful human being who wants to promote new talent. That’s swell. But I bought a ticket to see AOMG, and instead I got four songs performed by people who frankly were not at that level. (Simon Dominic didn’t perform many more than four songs, and trust me, he shits better rap than these guys.)
The first guy was not too bad, but the second drove me into a stall in the ladies’ room, where I waited until he went away. Then I came back out, and Jay Park was like, I want to show you my AOM b-boy crew!
Well, I was thrilled–I’m always up to watch b-boying, and Cha Cha Malone was there–but there was a small problem: You couldn’t see the dancers. This had been a problem even before Jay Park came out, because (being AOMG) there were these really great backup dancers who would periodically come out, get low, and disappear entirely. Then when Jay came out himself, well, of course he loves to dance, so they’d all do stuff that looked like it might have been really cool, if only you could have seen it.
With the AOM crew–it was like a sick joke. They’d toprock (not that you could see their feet), and then they’d vanish. Then you’d see their little sneakers kick up in the air. Then you’d see Simon Dominic and Loco (who brought their cameras) smile with delight at whatever the fuck was going on there.
At this point, I was seriously contemplating just going to my car and heading home.
I didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t, because the final part of the show was all four of them doing songs like “Bo$$” and generally burning down the house. It was really great–Simon Dominic spent an entire verse dragging Gray around by the face, it was hilarious.
And now: What happened with the Rules?
Was their flashing? I believe so, and of both kinds. I did notice someone’s phone flash go off once, although the person promptly fixed it.
I also noticed Simon Dominic looking very happy at someone close to the stage–he was grinning like a serious perv. Then he’d put his hand up in a sort of No/I’m blocking my view gesture. Then he’d drop his hand and grin some more. Then he’d put his hand up again.
Were objects thrown at the performers? Definitely yes. Someone threw a bra at Jay Park–and not a sexy bra, either, but a HUGE beige support bra. This kind of bra, except with the even-less-sexy foam-lined cups.
What did he do? Well, first he tried to put it on Loco, and then he tried to put it on himself, and then he left it up on the turntable.
They’re kind of into mixed messages over at AOMG….
Anyway–I am glad I went, and I would go see them again, but I would greatly prefer a different venue. (ETA: Am I jealous? Yes.)