Nov 292019
 

Every time I sit down to write about this night, I drift off to my own version of La La Land that’s located on a soft, velvet cloud floating right above Seoul. I told Chooch to make sure I actually get it done this morning for real though because we’re going on two weeks now but don’t worry, it’s not like I forgot anything — I watch YouTube videos from the show every single day.

I’ve made Henry watch them.

And Janna.

And my mom.

I tried to get Chooch to make Blake watch them too but I don’t know if that ever happened. I figured it would be a nice change from Boss Baby, which Calvin makes Blake put on 24:7, apparently.

The concert was at EagleBank Arena, which was George Mason University’s basketball arena. It was a nice mid-size venue and I was cool with that because the other closest show we could have attended was at Madison Square Garden, and I didn’t want to deal with a concert of that magnitude. (Also, please note that SuperM is the first Kpop group to ever play at MSG aside from KCON, which is an entire convention! Usually kpop groups play Newark for their “NYC” date.)

Speaking of, the first night of their tour was in Ft. Worth, but the members kept calling it Dallas throughout the night and some asshole sports writer who was probably just surly because he was assigned the show to review, wrote this totally curmudgeony piece berating them for “insulting” Ft. Worth, flailing on stage trying to stay in sync (dancing, I think that’s called?), and not having a backing band (hello, most kpop groups do not bring bands on tour with them; yes, G-Dragon and BIGBANG do, but certainly not a brand new group who basically had a whirlwind tour thrown together seemingly last minute and real kpop fans aren’t going to concerts to hear the music stylized by a live band – we’re there to see our idols sing and dance, so HUSH YOUR BITCH AS MOUTH, SPORTS WRITER). The worst part was then he proceeded to then tweet that kpop is music for thirteen-year-olds, and anyone over the age of 18 who likes it should reconsider their life. Excuse me, sir? I have liked many different genres of music throughout my life and got trashed on by co-workers and friends for every single one, so this was nothing new to me. But it still pissed me off because let people listen to the music they want to listen to! This guy got DRAGGED on twitter by journalists who actually are employed to write about kpop (h/t Jeff Benjamin) and and this guy named Jack Phan, who is a CEO and tech entrepreneur who accidentally went viral a few months ago by asking “What is MOMO?” when he was shocked to see that #momo was trending at #1 and not Apple. 

Look, I have seen bands tweet about coming to Pittsburgh and half the time, they spell it without the “h,” or when we see shows 45 minutes away at our outdoor pavilion concert venue which is closer to West Virginia at that point than Pittsburgh, bands still say “WHAT’S UP PITTSBURGH” and NO ONE CORRECTS THEM BY SAYING, “Sorry, Marilyn Manson, but this is actually Burgettstown.”

Furthermore, these seven guys are from South Korea and just know that they flew into Dallas/Ft Worth, so lay off.

Jesus, why are middle-aged men SO THREATENED by kpop?!

Anyway, Mark referred to the area as DMV several times (DC/Maryland/Virginia) so nice save, Mark!

Our seats were on the floor and Chooch was like, “Wow, these seats are great!” at the same time I was crying, “WE ARE NOT CLOSE ENOUGH!!”

“You could be in Taemin’s lap and that wouldn’t be close enough for you,” he sighed.

Anyway, the stage had a catwalk with a smaller stage at the end, which that security guy in the yellow shirt is standing next to in the picture above. So anytime the guys were on that part of the stage (which thankfully was a lot!), our view was divine. But when they were on the main stage, we had to rely on the screens at times. Which was fine, I guess. IT WASN’T FINE. I AM NEVER HAPPY.

I brought my Taemin lightstick from his Japan tour! No, I wasn’t at any of the shows, but someone from a Canadian Shawol (SHINee fan club) group was selling an extra one that she had left over from a group order and I was like WHY NOT I MIGHT ACTUALLY NEED IT ONE DAY but never thought I actually would!

Oh, and guess who was sitting next to us?! The older woman who was in line behind us when we were checking in earlier that afternoon! We started talking and she’s actually originally from Pennsylvania and works remotely from a Pittsburgh-based company! What a small world. She is also a huge Taemin stan, so I was in good company. She was wearing a Taemin headband and I had major remorse for not making one, or at least a sign, like I kept saying I was going to do. Why am I so lazy!?

Well, friends, here is the part where I lose my mind, forget that I’m a 40-year-old mom, and become the best version of my 16-year-old self that will never be put to rest because I’m pretty sure that’s when I peaked.

I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to react when they took the stage. I have all kinds of different concert personalities: leaning against a wall in quiet introspection, sitting at the bar being too-cool-for-school, standing in the back with my arms crossed, in the middle trying to dance/jump/something, paralyzed and crying.

When I saw G-Dragon, I was “paralyzed and crying.” Literally just stood there, stunned, mouth agape, staring at the stage in disbelief for two and a half hours.

So I wasn’t sure which Erin was going to be present on this night, until the intro video ended on the screen and SuperM rose onto the stage amidst the fog and flashing lights, and I saw Taemin for the first time in real life and not on a screen. That’s when the rare “FULL-THROTTLE SHRIEKING BANSHEE ERIN” came out. I couldn’t stop it. It just happened. It was like this, “Oh….MY….GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYWQIOR9328492!!!!!!”

I was a motherfucking mess. Chooch was like, “Here we go” and I’m not being hyperbolic at all when I say this, but he had to grab my arm twice because I was screaming so violently that I was knocking the wind out of myself. That couldn’t have been healthy but ironically I can’t remember when I last felt SO ALIVE.

I managed to avoid (most) setlist spoilers so I didn’t even know that their first song was going to be Can’t Stand the Rain, which is THE JAM. However, right after that, the lights went down and I was like, “OOH WHAT IS GOING TO BE NEXT??”

Taemin’s motherfucking solo, that’s what! I WAS NOT PREPARED. I really didn’t think this was going to happen so soon into the concert! I heard people in line outside saying something about “Sherlock,” which is a SHINee song, so I was confused and thought they meant he was going to perform that on his own, but what actually happened was that he did his debut solo song, “Danger,” with elements of “Sherlock”* – it was so good and the whole time I was blinking back tears and thinking over and over, “Holy shit, I’m watching Taemin dance. That is LEE TAEMIN dancing a few hundred feet away from me. How did I get so lucky?!”

*(Some parts of “Sherlock” were swirled into “Danger” and it was brilliant, really.)

And then the next song he did was “Goodbye,” and that choreo is legendary. I did cry for this one. Like, full-on scrunched up my face and let the eye water run like a faucet. Oh, I was a mess.

Here is a good video of it:

After that, Taeyong came out and performed his brand new unreleased sole “GTA.” Like I said, I did a pretty good job staying ignorant to the set list so I had no idea that new songs were prepared for this tour, so I was excited to hear them for the first time since I avoided it all on Instagram and YouTube!

Next, Mark, Taeyong, Ten, Baekhyun, and Taemin came together for “Super Car” which features Taemin’s legendary “vrooom”:

I COULDN’T STOP SCREAMING MY FACE OFF.

Next, Ten graced us with his effortless dancing when he performed his two solos, “Dream in a Dream” and “New Heroes.” I yelled, “I LOVE THIS SONG!!!!” at Chooch’s bleeding ear when “New Heroes” began. Honestly, even if Taemin wasn’t in SuperM, the chance to see TEN would have had me tossing my wallet into the sky and dancing beneath the raining credit cards with wanton abandon.

This one is actually my video:

Next, we had Chooch’s highlight of the night, Lucas’s unreleased solo “Bass Go Boom,” which was adorable and entertaining (I only know Lucas from NCT reality show-type videos on YouTube so I don’t have a very good feel for him as a performer – this was a really good showcase for him!), and then Baekhyun came out with “Betcha” and “UN Village,” which I love and the whole time I was thinking, “Wow, this is really Baekhyun.” I have never seen EXO and at this point, I’m starting to think I’m never going to now that a bunch of them are in the military and for some reason, SM Entertainment likes to deprive America of their artists.

I’ve said it hundreds of times, but I think EXO deserves more attention and accolades than BTS, the group they are always pitted against. Seriously, those two fan bases harbor extreme feelings of hatred for each other, it’s chaos.

Afterward, the whole group reconvened and hit us with an acapella intro to their new song, “Dangerous Woman,” which I am desperate for them to record and release because I think it’s my new favorite SuperM song!? Also, that dick-noodle sports writer who said SuperM lipsynched through the whole concert can suck a dick, because they were clearly singing. Granted, I will admit that there are times where they rely on the backing track but that’s because they’re busy dancing their fucking faces off. We made Janna watch one of their videos and she was like, “Whoa, look how sweaty they are!” YES JANNA IT’S BECAUSE THEY ARE WORKING HARD TO GIVE US THEIR ABSOLUTE BEST BECAUSE THAT’S HOW DEDICATED THEY ARE TO THEIR ART, GOD!

This song is EVERYTHING to me. Watching Taemin sing so joyfully, so close to us, it just sent me over the edge. I had the vapors. Pass me my fainting couch, thanks.

Next was 2 Fast, and then Ten and Taeyong performed their NCT U duet, “Baby Don’t Stop,” which I totally called months ago when this tour was announced! The one thing I also called that I’m really shocked didn’t happen and really think SM slept on a golden opportunity, was to have Taemin perform “Pretty Boy,” one of his solos which features Kai! WHY, SM?!!?

Mark got to take the stage next with his brand new solo “Talk About” and Chooch went nuts because Mark is his bias. Mark is so talented! SM had him in every NCT subunit and there was this joke when it was announced that there would be a Chinese unit that they asked Mark to say hello in Mandarin, and that was enough for them to put him in WayV, lol. Shockingly though he’s not actually in WayV!

Kai also got a brand new solo to perform, “Confession,” and when he coyly lifted his shirt at one point, I was like, “OH DAMN HENRY IS REALLY MISSING OUT!” I did get a short clip to send him though and he was like, “Wow, thanks” afterward. He won’t own up to the fact that Kai is his bias but I think it’s cute because TAEMIN AND KAI ARE BFFs.

“No Manners” was next and I died because they performed this on our part of the stage and prior to the concert, it was my favorite song on the SuperM release!

AGAIN, CAN I PAUSE TO SCREAM MY FAT FACE OFF???

Ugh, these boys! My heart! They have it! They took it back to Korea! OH WELL, GUESS I’LL HAVE TO GO BACK AND FETCH IT.

Another new song was next, they were really blessing us hard with the new-new. This one was called “With You” and it was so uplifting and light-hearted! During this song, they each had a basket full of balls that they were tossing out into the crowd and I wanted one SO HARD. Here’s Chooch’s instavid of this song and it’s hilarious how fast he put his phone away once he realized it was the FREE SHIT portion of the night:

WHEN TAEMIN DOES THAT CUTE HIP SWIVEL OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

Breathe, Erin. You can do this. You made it this far! One more song!

The finale of the show was obviously a performance of their big single, “Jopping,” which I will admit I wasn’t SUPER BLOWN AWAY WITH when I first heard it but goddamn if that song didn’t grow on me faster than the 11th toe I picked up from that one time I accidentally dipped my foot into the Trump supporter gene pool.

This isn’t the greatest, but here’s someone’s recording of the big screen during “Jopping.” I just can’t enough of this choreo….and Taemin in those plaid pants. There was this girl who came over before the show started to talk to the girl next to my new friend and she had recreated his outfit from this song sooooo perfectly. I complimented her on it and in hindsight I wish I had asked to take a picture of her because it was pretty impressive.

That’s some dedication!

And that was it – an hour and a half of pure Korean bliss. My whole body was buzzing and Chooch and I were smiling so big by the time we met up with Henry at the car that we probably looked like our faces were splitting. I can only imagine how deranged we looked!

I wish that I had been able to also go to the NYC show,  or that any of the shows on their second leg of the tour were close enough for me to attend. I would just get cheap seats! I don’t care! I just want to be there again! I heard that they slipped during the NYC show and said something about seeing us again in the spring….so maybe there’s hope after all?!

Oh my motherfucking sweetly-spanked Mussolini, I can’t believe that I saw Lee Taemin. I saw him in real life, his precious angel baby face, and I heard his smoky vocals and saw him dance like the devil himself had stepped into his body. Holy fucking shit, I will never stop being grateful of this moment in my life.

“I was trying to get Taemin to wave to me just so I could say ‘haha Taemin waved to me and not you,'” Chooch said at one point on the way home and I was like fuck off, nerd alert.

****

We were supposed to spend the night in Fairfax and hang out in DC the next day, but dumb Chooch told us a few days earlier that he had PSATs on Monday and that nerd was actually crestfallen when I reminded him  that we weren’t going to be home, so that is why we ended up canceling the hotel, making a quick stop at the local Fairfax H-Mart for makgeolli and other Korean goods, and then driving straight home through the night.

Henry ended up going to work that next day, but I kept my day off and spent it lying around wistfully with an arm slung across my forehead, watching videos from the concert and sobbing to the point where I had to take my contacts out. It was a bad scene.

Then Chooch came home from school and screamed, “OMG THE PSATs WAS THREE HOURS LONG! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!”

Get the fuck out of here.

No really, you can go now. Until next time!

Nov 272019
 

Image result for SUPERM GROUP PICTURE WITH NAMES

Before I post my review of the SuperM concert, I think it would be beneficial to do a quick explanatory post because I’m in teacher mode and you know how I love to drag shit out. A normal blogger: goes to a concert, recaps it that night/the next day in 500 words. Maybe includes a video.

A hyper Erin blogger: goes to a concert, dwells on it, drops little teasers that no one cares about for 3 days, makes a post crying about how she misses the concert, spends a day YouTubing concert footage, starts to sort through the pictures on her phone, takes a break to look for enamel pins from whatever kpop group she just saw, starts to finally write about it, gets distracted by FEELINGS, exercises instead, forgets half of the things she was going to write so just types out a bunch of CAPSLOCK sentences to convey excitement but instead succeeds in annoying the two people left reading this shitty site.

I guess right now I’m at the point where I finally started uploading my pictures to WordPress, so…progress. But then EXO had their comeback today and I got sucked into that and I decided to do a breakdown of the SuperM composition instead.

OK, let’s pretend Thanksgiving came early and DIG THE FUCK IN.

SuperM is a super group comprised of various members of boy groups from the kpop agency SM. SM is HUGE, one of the biggest, and their groups are powerhouses in the genre. They’ve contributed a lot to Korean tourism, and even have this interactive museum of sorts called SM Town where you can see awards won by the artists, costumes, photos, eat at the SM-themed cafe, etc etc. Yes, we visited both times we went to Korea and I have no regrets!

SM carefully selected members of four groups and curated an elite conglomeration of talent, and then gave it the “meh” name of SuperM. Yeah, it’s not the greatest name and I was a bit underwhelmed about it, but let’s be real: it’s about the music. And they delivered.

The members are:

  • TAEMIN (SHINee)
  • BAEKHYUN (EXO)
  • KAI (EXO)
  • MARK [NCT127/NCT U/NCT Dream (formerly)]
  • TAEYONG (NCT127/NCT U)
  • TEN (NCT U/WayV)
  • LUCAS (NCT U/WayV)

Related image

l. to r.: Lucas, Mark, Taeyong, Taemin, Kai, Baekhyun, Ten

You know it’s Taemin that brought this girl to the yard, but in all honesty, I’d be here for SuperM even if that lineup didn’t include Taemin, because SM produces quality jams and all of those guys up there are beasts. Ten is my favorite, second to Taemin!

So, let’s dip into some videos of each member’s groups, shall we? I already posted a whole damn post last week dedicated to Taemin’s oeuvre so here we’ll enjoy him with SHINee instead!

SHINee is an iconic kpop group, and it pains me every day to think about how I have never seen them perform live. Out of all the groups that the members of SuperM belong to, SHINee is the elder.

Next, let’s talk about Baekhyun and Kai’s group, EXO, which come next in order of seniority. I personally think that they deserve international fame more than BTS does, but I digress! They have what I can only describe as a more “mature” sound, more r&b and soulful than a lot of the boy groups out there. They’ve also had several members leave, one who is still considered part of EXO but hasn’t been involved in the last several promotions, and they also have several members in the military right now, so their lineup is always in flux. Anytime I make EXO cards for my shop, I never know who to put on it!

Here is their newest MV, which just came out today! Kai is the one with blue hair and the bondage-y croptop, and Baekhyun has the white-ish hair:

And here’s an older one from one of the end of the year award shows, which I really like because it has some of their best choreos IN MY HUMBLE OPINION:

Baekhyun had a solo release over the summer, and what a great time to enjoy the video together:

Chooch and I have actually seen Mark and Taeyong twice since 2017, thanks to NCT127 playing back-to-back KCONs. I went from knowing nothing about them to immediately getting sucked in from the moment they took the stage. Mark and Taeyong are the rappers of the group, and Taeyong is also the leader. I swear, this group gets better and better with every comeback. Mark is Chooch’s favorite and he also happens to be Canadian so he did a lot of the speaking during the concert. Anyway, here are some NCT vids, but you should honestly just go on YouTube and put on an NCT playlist because these boys are a FUCKING DREAM.

 

NCT U is an NCT unit that has revolving members, which is an interesting concept. This particular song has Lucas, Mark, and Taeyong in it, but no Ten:

And here is an NCT U song that features the duo of Ten and Taeyong – and they performed this on the SuperM tour! I had a feeling they would and I shredded my throat when they started singing it!

Ten and Lucas were, I dunno, “drafted” I guess? into what is kind of like the Chinese sub-unit of NCT, except that it includes some rookies who aren’t affiliated with any of the other NCT groups. One of the members of NCT127, Winwin, was also chosen to be in this group, so it definitely as an NCT-feel. Anyway, I love WayV a lot and who knows if they will ever come to the US, so being able to see Ten and Lucas with SuperM was a real treat. Ten is SUCH A DISGUSTINGLY GOOD DANCER. Almost Taemin-levels, but his style is different.

OK, now I feel like I got this Kpop Lesson out of my system and can finally start to squirt from my heart all the flowery SCREAM-WORDS about the concert onto this blog.

Nov 262019
 

After lunch, I wanted to go back to the George Mason campus so we could walk around and digest which really just means I wanted to burn off all the nervous energy I had coiled around every last muscle in my body. YES EVEN MY TONGUE, YOU DON’T KNOW.

We were creeping near the basketball stadium where the concert was being held because we saw all the tour trucks. Look, I’m sure motherfucking Lee Taemin was not skulking around the loading dock, hauling amps out of the backs of the trucks, BUT YOU NEVER KNOW – maybe he wanted to step outside and breathe in the basic Virginia air!? Chooch got a bit too brave and one of the security guards was like YOU CAN’T CROSS OVER HERE YOU GOTTA GO AROUND and Chooch was like, “yeah, I knew that, I wasn’t trying to do anything funny MY MOM MADE ME DO IT I’M FUCKING SORRY OK.”

Whatever, there were gaggles of girls standing across the street being just as creepy as us, but at least they’re in the proper demographic I guess.

We had to walk over to this one pond—I guess it was like the “centerpiece” of the campus—just because there was duck floating in it. Just the one. But Chooch has to talk to any duck he sees, so there was no way around it.

Somewhere by the pond, Chooch found a stick and wtf is it with boys and their constant need for walking sticks!? Like, when does he outgrow it? I guess never because don’t grown men like sticks too!? Anyway, he was annoying me so badly with this jackass stick that when he eventually dropped it (this part is always inevitable) and it started to bounce down a set of steps, I raced him to it, got there first, and stomped on it with my foot.

The sound of splintering wood was so satisfying!

Would you believe me if I told you he made himself cry over this? Probably. You know he’s my son, after all.

He wanted to buy glue so he could repair it, LOL I love doing mean things to Chooch. I MEAN, LIGHT-HEARTED MEAN THINGS.

God. Whoever called CPS on me in 2011 probably has a publishable log kept on me at this point.

Chooch was obsessed with these adorable robot food deliverers. Some COLLEGE GIRL caught him chasing after one and waving, and she smiled at him which made him blush. The last time he was at a college was a few weeks ago with his school when they visited IUP and he said some college girl acted all disgusted and scoffed at him in the cafeteria when he exclaimed, “OOOH, PIZZA!”

I mean, I can only imagine how annoying he was being.

Then Henry had to “go to the bathroom” and found the student union building, so Chooch and I sat on a couch and talked about how embarrassing Henry is, shitting at a college, and for some reason I was telling Chooch about the time that me, Janna, and our friend Wonka went to Buffalo, NY and Wonka and I tucked a phone book under Janna’s mattress while she was in the bathroom to see if she noticed and the verdict was:

SHE AIN’T NO PRINCESS YO.

I don’t know why, but Chooch and I got super giddy in this place and couldn’t stop laughing and then Chooch got the hiccups so by the time Henry was DONE, we were walking over to meet up with him and Chooch hiccuped SO LOUD and people were like, “the fuck. get out of our college.”

Anyway, I really want Chooch to go here now because guess where else they have a campus? OH, INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA, BOY.

By now, it was almost 3 so Chooch and I decided to walk back to EagleBank and get in line for check-in.

Thankfully, the line wasn’t too long, and we were entertained by chatting with the friendly people around us, including a woman even older than me who also loved Taemin! Every once in awhile, we would see people go running frantically through the courtyard because someone would appear and begin handing out freebies. I kept using Chooch as my runner so we wouldn’t lose our place in line. Once, he came back with a little package of Taemin stickers. I sent him back to get some for the lady behind us but they were all out by then; he said people were like mobbing the girl handing them out and screaming, “DO YOU HAVE BAEKHYUN! KAI! TAEMIN!” K-pop is a real scene, you guys.

Another time he came back with a homemade “SuperM” bead bracelet, which he said he was keeping for himself. Rude. We also got a banner for Baekhyun and Mark, made by their fan sites.

My other scene was not like this at all. Granted, we used to get a lot of free swag at Warped Tour, but that was mostly from local bands giving away samplers or clothing companies doing contests, etc. This is all stuff from fans, and it’s so awesome. I love how much the fans love each other and their idols. Especially in this case, with SuperM bringing together 4 different fan bases.

When he wasn’t being lackey, Chooch stood quietly in line, reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, which is a real uplifting read.

Anyway, the doors opened promptly at 3:30, which I loved, and we were inside at the check-in table in no time. I loved how organized it was! Once we claimed our VIP merch (a collectible VIP lanyard, canvas bag, bandana, hat, and a reallllly high-quality tour poster that I would classify more as a print and is going to get matted and framed here very soon), we got to go to a special merch booth to purchase additional goods without having to wait in line with the common folk, lol. Chooch really wanted the official SuperM lightstick and I really wanted him to have it because it just feels wrong going to a kpop concert without a lightstick, but it was $60! It pained me, but I bought it because, I don’t know, YOLO or whatever. We wanted to show our support for SuperM so it was worth it in the end!

On the way back to the car (Henry was like, “Fuck no, I’m not waiting out there with you”), soundcheck started and we were able to hear part of Can’t Stand the Rain and Jopping! This is Chooch’s “Hark, is that Mark’s part I hear?” expression. We were REALLY GETTING STOKED NOW!!

But…we still had two hours to kill. Henry suggested we walk across the street to Dunkin’ Donuts, so we hung out there for a little while with some other SuperM fans pre-gaming with Coolattas and breakfast sandwiches. I kept trying to get Henry to buy himself one of the single nosebleed seats that were still available, but even the $50 tickets came out to be almost $80 by the time Ticketmaster was done inflating it like a trendy unicorn pool float. I think he was beginning to feel a bit of FOMO because no matter what anyone thinks, Henry likes k-pop and SuperM and yes, Taemin singularly too.

By the time we got back to the EagleBank parking lot, I was ready to keel over with nerves. Chooch and I ended up getting in line around 5:30 and of course the dumbest duo of moms waddled over behind us and proceeded to say, “THEY NEED TO JUST OPEN THE DOORS” and “WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO LET US IN” and “THIS IS RIDICULOUS” back and forth to each other like some weird SNL skit that forgot to be funny and I was like, “Doors don’t open until 6, though?! It clearly stated that on the tickets? Why is this confusing?” I swear some people get off on complaining. We are such an angry nation.

Guess what time they opened the doors? 6:00. BOOM.

NEXT POST: THE ACTUAL CONCERT OMG HOLD MY HAND AND TELL ME IT’S GONNA BE OK.

Nov 222019
 

I woke up Sunday morning sick to my goddamn stomach. 100% pre-show, I’m-seeing-Taemin-today wad of electric nerves in the pit of my gut. The last time I felt this sick before a concert was in 2017 when I saw G-Dragon, and the time before that was in 2000 when I saw The Cure in Australia.

So, now you know.

The concert was in Fairfax, Virginia. I got ready, put my Taemin socks on, stuck my arrived-just-in-time Taemin “Jopping” pin on my sweater, and we were out the door by 7AM.

The pin is based on this frame from the “Jopping” video – Taemin’s signature King of Dance pose:

I always forget how close the DC area is to Pittsburgh, I guess because we typically find ourselves going east into New York or west into Ohio/Chicago for concerts or whatnot, and rarely south. I wish more Kpop concerts played DC because I would gladly choose those ones over fucking NEWARK, please Lord don’t give me any reasons to travel to Newark in the near future unless it’s something that I can’t deny, like a Taemin solo concert. I’d become a Newark resident if that’s what it took for me to see Taemin again, and that’s maybe a tiny bit hyperbolic, but YOU DON’T KNOW ME AND MY SNAP DECISIONS.

Step off!

Our drive was pretty uneventful. We ate a sleepy to-go breakfast from Sheetz, Chooch slept, and I kept chanting “omgomgomgomgomg” while Henry drove with glazed-over eyes.

I took a mirror selfie in some truck stop gas station so I could always remember what I wore when I saw TAEMIN FOR THE FIRST TIME HOLY SHIT. I’m not then type of person who gets all slutted up for concerts or wears band shirts or whatever. I wore the aforementioned Taemin socks and pin and felt that was sufficient, although I did have remorse for not making a Taemin headband like I had briefly considered, especially after we got to the venue and I saw so many various bias headbands and wow, I’m a terrible kpop stan.

Also, “stan” is such a fucking stupid word, isn’t it!?

We arrived in Fairfax, Virginia around 11, I think. Check-in for the VIP tickets was at 3:30 so we didn’t want to go to DC or do anything else too involved, in case something went awry BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW. So we went straight to the venue to scope it out (it was at the basketball arena on the George Mason University campus) – there were numerous parking lots and they were all free so Henry was extremely stoked about that.

I was so excited to see that some of my kpop brethren were already gathering around the arena gates and then the waves of acid in my stomach went from “baby splashing in the bathtub” to “FAT GUY JUST BELLY-FLOPPED IN THE POOL.” Look, it was really hard for me to enjoy any of the minutes preceding the concert because I was in this nervous haze, my heart rate was up (FitBit told me so), and I had the sweats. Maybe similar to the meat sweats? I DON’T KNOW, I DON’T DO MEAT.

Do you get like that before a concert, ever? I very rarely get THIS WORKED UP, but I would always accumulate moderate pre-show nerves, especially ones that I was going to solo. People will tell you that after you do it for awhile, you get used to it, but those people must be way more numb inside than me because I never got used to it, although I was always OK once I got inside the venue and staked out a spot. But man, those moments leading up to that were stressful and semi-sickening.

But this one…this was so different. I never thought I would get to see Taemin in real life, and I know I keep saying “Taemin Taemin Taemin” like he’s the Marsha of SuperM, and I do feel bad about that, because SuperM is dope for real and even if he wasn’t in it, I still would have got tickets to this show. But Taemin. I would pay the price I did even just to see him walk out on the stage and wave for a minute and leave. Just to know that I was in the same state as him, the same building, under the same roof, breathing the same air. He is just such a brilliant artist and I go on about him so much on here because I think everyone should know about him!

After scoping out the venue, we decided to get an early lunch even though food was the last thing on my mind which happens very rarely so you know I had it bad. Come back later for a LUNCH REVIEW. Annyeong.

 

Nov 212019
 

I’m still processing my thoughts (i.e. trying to piece my heart back together #sodramatic) so I’m handing this bitchblog over to Chooch, who is going to share his favorite part of the SuperM concert. HAVE AT IT, SONNY BOY.

*****

The tour was overall an astonishing concert, but there was one part, the one part that changed it all:

the main reason in particular that I enjoyed Lucas’ portion of the night was because of the cute background video of him dancing. Not only this though, but also because the song is just, in general, good. Now this song is stuck in my head… good luck! I used a video from Chicago because of the better quality sound and view of the background.

Nov 162019
 

Tomorrow night, I will finally be in the same room as Lee Taemin, under the same roof, BREATHING THE SAME AIR. This has been my dream for quite some time now and while I’d have preferred to see him with SHINee or solo, seeing him with the other 6 members of SuperM is just as wonderful and I feel so grateful for this opportunity!

I’ve been trying to not binge on SuperM in the days leading up to the concert — this is hard considering I follow a ton of SHINee & Taemin accounts on Instagram plus the Taemin hashtag so my feed is full of videos from the shows that already happened this week and it’s killing me not to watch them! But I want to be surprised! I don’t want to know what else is going to happen in addition to the SuperM songs but I do know that there will be at least one Taemin solo and it doesn’t matter WHAT song it is, I am going to lose my goddamn mind.

I usually have a playlist of all his performances on the TV for background noise when Janna is over here visiting and she has even admitted to getting distracted by his mesmerizing (OMG I had to look up that spelling, I am really suffering) moves and vocals. He is really so much more than just “Kpop.” He is a dancing genius, and his voice is so distinct.

We were watching some of his live performances last night, and through tears I blurted out, “Taemin’s voice is like the sizzle from the flames of the fire you set to painful memorabilia.” Henry gave me the “okayyyyyy” sneer, but I stand by this comparison. His sultry vocal husk is warm, cathartic, satisfying.

Other things I have compared Taemin’s voice to:

  • the fog that covers the road on a late October night while you’re driving with a date through the woods to a haunted hayride;
  • an opulent, ridiculously expensive rich old lady’s shawl from the 1920s, mauve with various elements of silk, crushed velvet and lace. Delicate, but will keep you warm while making you feel pretty.

So, in honor of finally seeing this beautiful artist tomorrow night, I would like to share some of my favorite live solo performances of his and I really think everyone should watch them because he is A DREAM.

“Rise” is in my Top 3 favorite Taemin songs and if I ever got to watch him perform this in real life, I might not survive. It’s one of those times where a song truly transcends language – the first time I heard it, I obviously had no idea what he was singing about, but my heart and brain knew to be moved to tears. This song. This damn song.

It took a minute for “Artistic Groove” to really hit me, but once my mind caught up, I couldn’t stop listening to it and watching every single music show performance of it. The choreo and his sweet baby angel vocals are like a baseball bat to my knees. He is really really putting out some sick 1980s jazz vibes and no one else comes close to matching this! So really, we need to stop calling Taemin “kpop.”

I watched this Music Bank performance approximately 87,000 times during November 2017 and I now associate Thanksgiving with Taemin’s glorious hips. I mean….But in all honestly, this was the song that REALLY MADE MY EARS PERK UP to his unique, smoky voice and who needs turkey when you can just fill up on Taemin’s vocal feast. Keep the mashed potatoes, give me more pelvic pops. I mean, velvet vocals.

YOUNG TAEMIN. This song makes me feel like I’m in high school again, falling asleep to Quiet Storm on WAMO after talking to MY FRIST LOVE JUSTIN on the phone (sorry Henry). I made this comparison once and Henry was like, “THE FUCK” but Taemin’s voice in this song reminds me a bit of Anita Baker. There, I said it, and I will defend it.

“Day & Night” WAS SO UNDERRATED AND UNDERHYPED. Why did so many people seem to sleep on this song?! When I was looking for this video on YouTube, I saw a comment that said so many general kpop fans pass Taemin by, but all of the other idols gather around the stage to watch him record these music show performances. He is a living legend among his peers, you guys.

This was my first favorite Taemin solo song, and I know for damn sure I have posted the actual MV and various live stages of this because I love the dance so much, but this one really shatters that misconception that “kpop idols can’t sing.” Um, plus the end where he takes off his jacket.

OK, I could do this all day but I’ll wrap it up with this medley that Taemin showcased at the 2016 MAMA Awards. I honestly can’t watch him dance to “Goodbye” without silently crying. I am obsessed with people who can express such strong emotions just by moving their body, and Taemin pretty much pens an entire romance novel with one goddamn hip swivel, how does he get away with doing this to us?!

BONUS! Here is Henry’s favorite live performance of Taemin!

I wanted Henry to write two sentences — JUST TWO — about why he chose this video but he’s being a dumb moron about it, and all he will say is that he likes Taemin’s full, plump lips.

So on that note, please enjoy these beautiful performance art pieces from my beloved Lee Taemin.  <3

Oct 302019
 

So many new songs have been released over the last week, keeping my playlist fresh, yo. So today, I’m going to dump several of them on this bitch-blog, because there is like a handful of you that actually enjoy when I do this, according to my blog stats, lol.

OK, here we go, some glorious kpop that you can ride into the weekend with.

  1. WINNER – SOSO

Oh yes, daddy, bring that Winner comeback over here to mommy. I love them so much, and as much as I liked their last two comebacks, I’m happy to have this mid-tempo slow-burner, you know? Also, Mino can rap in my face whenever he wants.

2. TAEYEON – SPARK

Sadly, I think this might be the only girl on this week’s list, but—TAEYEON. In case you don’t know, she’s from the legendary Girl’s Generation, and her solos are strong and elegant. I love her so much. Stan Taeyeon, you guys. (Also, I hope my favorite Kpop fitness channel, which is actually from Thailand, makes a routine to this song!)

3. TXT – RUN AWAY

I still haven’t gotten to the point where I’m ready to straight stan BTS’s little brothers, TXT, but this song is SO GOOD. I love the retro party beat – it makes me ache for Friday nights at Spinning Wheels. This will get stuck in your head, I promise you.

4. MONSTA X – FOLLOW ME

They released two videos this past week but the other one is really depressing (good, but sad!) so I’m posting this one instead to keep things upbeat ’round here because basically everything sucks in the world.

5. SUPER JUNIOR – SUPER CLAP

Henry’s ult group! Very few groups out there are as fun as SuJu. (NEVER FORGET WHEN WE SAW THEM ON A SIDEWALK IN NYC!)

If you watch this video, allow yourself to fall down the Super Junior rabbit hole – you won’t be sorry (sorry sorry sorry).

Fun fact: one of the member’s has the most difficult name in the world to pronounce (Ryeowook, but don’t let that romanization fool you) and no matter how many times Jiyong tries to walk me through it during our language exchanges, my tongue just doesn’t want to cooperate, and if you ever pass me on the streets of downtown during my lunch break walks, you might catch me chanting his name over and over which basically just sounds like I’m having an epileptic seizure.

6. D-CRUNCH – STEALER

OK, this wasn’t just released this week, but I wanted to include it because there was just news that they were supposed to perform the other day in Kuwait and their concert was canceled when Kuwaiti authorities heard rumors that the group was gay. 

So let’s give their videos tons of views to support them. <3!!!

7. WAY-V – MOONWALK

OK, this is my favorite song on the whole list, I am so in love with all NCT units, and I’m so happy that Way-V has been given three chances to shine this year since their debut. Chinese kings! Plus, my ult NCT bias is in this group – Ten! I can’t wait to see him in a few weeks with Super M!!!

***********

DID YOU LIKE ANY OF THESE?! LET ME KNOW. I’m starving for e-interaction. (Not real life interaction, though. Please don’t call me or stop by.)

Sep 252019
 

I need to take a break from my regular postings and share the new Twice song because I think it’s something that WE ALL NEED IN OUR LIVES RIGHT NOW. What I love so much about this song and video is that, when you just listen to the song (or, read the English translation in most of our cases, lol), you’d assume this about a significant other/partner/spouse/crush, etc. But then when you watch the MV, you realize that no, it’s about FRIENDS.

Many of the members of Twice have been publicly going through some hard times lately and I really like that JYP gave them this opportunity to express that artistically. Also, one of the members (Mina) has been recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and instead of being all “the show must go on” and forcing her back into the spotlight, JYP made an official announcement over the summer that Mina would be taking time off and even with this recent comeback, she’s in the video and on the album, but has decided to sit the promotions out. Thank you, JYP, for putting the mental and emotional well-being of one of your artists over the business. I can only hope that it sets a precedent for more of the agencies to follow. (You know, SM?)

Janna and I just had a conversation not too long ago about how lucky we are to fit into someone else’s circle/life, and it’s so true. I have very few good, close friends and that used to kind of bother me; but really, the friends that I do have are high quality and low drama. So I’m OK with not having a veritable Rolodex of casual contacts, if we’re being honest here. The people who make time for me are the real ones.

All you need is one loyal friend. One supportive family member. One sympathetic Internet friend. One kind co-worker.

To feel special.

And I really hope that everyone reading this has that one person. Life is hard enough. <3

Sep 052019
 

After a sweaty day dripping perspiration around the streets of Insadong, we came back, freshened up, did a wardrobe change, and then set off for Digital Media City where we (just Chooch and me, Henry is lame) would be attending a live taping of a Kpop show! First, we had to have our traditional crack-up in the elevator though – we always played the “get on the elevator and leave Henry” game so that he would have to wait for another elevator and be all grumbly by the time he joined us outside.

It never got old!

(Well, it may have for Henry.)

Waiting outside for Henry — I hate when Chooch makes this face!!

Digital Media City is only one stop away from where we were staying in Hongdae, but we still left around 3:45 to ensure that we arrived at the SBS Prism building by 4:30, which was the designated check-in time.

A few months ago, we watched a video about this area of Seoul, and it’s literally built on top of a gigantic garbage dump that had, at one point, grown so large that it was 34x the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the fuck….In 1996, Seoul launched stabilization projects to fix this and prevent further environmental contamination, and now this area is home to many broadcasting headquarters, housing, and beautiful parks!

The Prism building had a bunch of people waiting outside, but it was all of the locals who line up in hopes of getting to attend the shows.

So, each network has their own weekly Kpop shows, where the artists who are currently promoting new songs come out, perform their comeback or debut song, and then usually at the end, there is a voting system (they go by digital streams, album sales, online popularity voting…I’m 100% sure it’s rigged, but it’s still fun right?!), a winner is announced, no one is surprised, confetti pops off, the trophy is passed around by the winning group members and all of the other artists on stage bow respectfully to each other. Then the winning group does an impromptu, informal performance of their winning song which usually involves them fucking around with each other, doing weird dances, interacting with the crowd—it’s just fun to watch!

Every show will let in a certain number of fans, but most of them are first come, first serve, so people will literally start lining up at like 2am. I would have loved to attend Inkigayo because in my opinion, that’s the best one, but I’m on vacation, man. I’m not spending my limited free time in Korea sitting on the ground with a bunch of kids. No offense, kids or Korean ground!

Some shows have a lottery system, but you have to register on their website which is all in Korean and a lot of times you have to have a Korean phone number too, and again — it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get in!

So when I saw that there is a special ticket just for foreigners to attend SBS MTV’s The Show, I was like, “Paid. Done.” This was literally right after we booked our flight in March! It was the very first thing we had our itinerary, lol.

It cost about $150 for the two of us, and I noticed that the prices went up as the date got closer, so I would encourage anyone who is interested in this to book it early! There are limited seats and the shows do sell out, so don’t wait until it’s only a week or two out, because you want to have a better idea of the artists that will be there that night!

For us, there weren’t any groups that we’re major stans of (except Pentagon), but the experience itself was still gold! Here was the lineup that was released earlier that morning:

Fun fact: I won a hi-touch for KNK at the first KCON I went to and I realize while typing this that it might as well be an trig equation for most of you reading this so I’ll break it down in non Kpop-speak: In 2017, I went to a Kpop festival in Newark and won a opportunity for what is called a “hi-touch” which basically means a Kpop group stands behind a table on a stage and fans are herded past in a single-file line and you get to quickly high five / hand touch each member. I know, right? You can read about my experience here!

It was starting to drizzle so we went inside the building. I was so nervous and I have NO IDEA why! Our spot inside the studio was secure, but my stomach was doing The Flops. Check out the older gentleman behind Chooch – he was totally there alone, and I thought it was awesome because kpop isn’t just for young girls and desperate old broads like me. There was even this totally metal dad there with his teenage daughter, and I mean METAL. He looked like someone in one of the Swedish metal bands my friend Alyson likes, though I think he may he may have been German?

I’m telling you, when you’re in Korea, whether you’re a Kpop junkie or not, I really feel like this is part of the experience.

At 4:30, four different tourism company representatives stood up with signs, and everyone had to line up behind the one they purchased their tickets from. Of course, the lady from Trazy, where we got ours, was barely holding up her sign so it cause confusion because what else is new?!

But it ended up being fine, because everyone received a number after checking in with her so we were able to go back and sit down until it was time to line up again.

Basically, it was a lot of waiting and standing in (dis)orderly lines.

We kind of befriended the young girl in front of us because she was just as nervous and confused as us. At one point, Chooch announced that it smelled like a shoe store in there, and she started giggling. “That’s so random!” she laughed.

Then she started talking to the girl next to her (again, the line was NOT straight), and that’s how I found out that she is only 16, from Spain, lives in Equador, but is currently studying in Korea, and the girl next to her is 23, from Australia and a student at one of the universities in Seoul.

It truly was a vast collection of foreigners up in there and it made me happy to see that we were all coming together for one shared love. While we were standing there, several of the groups walked by upstairs and everyone screamed. I had no idea who were clamoring over because I have the eyes of a 80-year-old who spends most of her life in a cave, but it was sure exciting!

I found out later that it was Limitless and CIX!

Finally, we were taken outside the lobby and into a side door, up several staircases, and down a hallway that just screamed, “YOU ARE BACKSTAGE.”

Oh yeah, Henry left after we taken into the studio. He had big plans to go to a grocery store but instead he just went back to the room because he’s a lamer.

Anyway, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures or video once the actual recording started, so I took this picture before it started, when it was still “legal,” and then I put my phone in my purse for the rest of the evening so I wouldn’t give the security any reason to believe I was being That American and have me ejected.

Seriously — I got kicked out of a Chinese restaurant once years and years ago because I was falsely accused of eating crab legs off the buffet without paying and I was like, “OK bitch, I’m a vegetarian?” but that didn’t matter and me and the dumb broad I was with were actually escorted out and it was so humiliating. And ever since,  I take great strides to make sure that I don’t get kicked out places.

#NeverForget #CharacterBuilding

In that picture above, you can see the small rectangular holding cell — that’s where the people who were picked from the crowd get to stand. Us foreigners got really nice, comfy stadium seating in the back, and the view was actually perfect.

Hang-y light things!

The show started promptly at 6pm and it was nuts to watch all the cameras swiveling and the different fan site representatives sitting a few rows in front of us, editing photos in Photoshop seconds after the pictures were taken. This shit is serious business.

The hosts of The Show are Yeeunfrom CLC and Jeno from NCT Dream, which I forgot about originally and when I saw all the girls with their NCT lightsticks, I was briefly hopeful that NCT Dream was going to be there since they currently were having a comeback.

Image result for yeeun and jeno the show 2019

They were standing SO CLOSE to our side of the seating too! Whenever they were MCing, they were facing us with their backs to the stage and it was fucking exciting, even though we had no idea what they were saying because in case you weren’t sure, subtitles don’t appear in real life.

Each artist performed one song, and they moved it along with razor-sharp precision. It was perfect for someone like Chooch who enjoys things like this….to a point. He does lose interest quickly, but this was fast-moving and fun and there was NO downtime, so he didn’t even have a chance to drift off.

We both really loved all of the performers, but my favorites were Dongkiz, VAV, CIX, Saturday, and Pentagon. However, since VAV, CIX and Pentagon were the three top groups that were competing for the trophy at the end, their performances were actually pre-recorded, so we only got to see about 1 minute of a live performance and then they would stop dancing, wave to the crowd and walk off the stage. KPOP SHOW SECRETS REVEALED! I knew that bigger groups, like BIGBANG and EXO for instance, typically pre-record their performances and I always wondered how that worked since they are always there at the end.

I don’t know. It’s still confusing to me.

Like, some of the groups performed two songs, but we only saw one because the second one was recorded earlier.

Here are the videos of my favorites from the night:

CIX: They were the winners of the night! They are a brand new group that recently debuted over the summer, featuring members of the defunct Wanna One (RIP) and some YG trainees. I think they’re going to go far! This song was stuck in my head for the rest of the time we were in Korea, and the dance IS SO GOOD.

Pentagon: I’m still bitter that E’Dawn isn’t with them anymore, but they never fail to make me smile. I was so happy to see them perform again after seeing them at KCON in 2018! If you don’t think this song is fun, then GTFO.

(J/K, you can stay the fuck here, I’m trying to be more inclusive LOLOL.)

Saturday: THIS SONG REMINDS ME OF THE STUFF THAT GOT ME INTO KPOP! The adorable, quirky, sugary girl group bops. The whole time I watched their performance, all I could think was, “This is peak Korea for me. It can’t get any more heavenly than this.”

(But then a few days later, it did.)

Dongkiz: I have never heard of these guys before this night and they’re not even really a rookie group anymore, but this performance won me over. They are so joyful! And the Ghostbusters sample! And the actual ghost mascot! And their cute dance moves! Chooch and I fell hard for them.

OK, honestly I could sit here all night posting videos and then it would eventually just be every single stage because they were all so entertaining! There wasn’t one group that made me go, “Eh, they’re not for me.” I enjoyed them all!

It was over around 7:30 and as we stood outside in the courtyard of the Prism building, texting Henry, two girls ran past us in a Big Hurry.

“Something’s going on!” Chooch yelled, peeling out of the lot in his Mystery Van.

We ran (crowd mentality) in the same direction, around to the other side of the building, and that’s where we saw some fansite paparazzi standing on actual ladders, taking pictures with their gigantic $878947293874 lens of the idols being interviewed inside the lobby.

I texted Henry and told him what was happening, and he eventually meandered over to us, because he had already returned to the Prism building – he must have missed us!

It was a good thing that we followed those girls, because even though we had to wait and be patient for about 45 minutes, some of the idols actually exited the building  right by where we were standing! (The path from the doors to the road were roped off and security was there, so we couldn’t stampede them, even though I’m sure if certain other groups were there that night, a dinky rope wasn’t going to stop anyone.)

It took us forever but I think we eventually decided that this was Dongkiz?! I don’t know enough about them to know for sure! It could be 1Team too.

But here is a collection of videos that Chooch snagged because let me tell you, that boy got caught up in the excitement and was acting like he STANNED every single one of these idols!

View this post on Instagram

Kpop idol sightings outside of The Show on 7/30. It was so much fun!

A post shared by Erin (@ohhonestlyconcerts) on

The other group in the video is for sure VAV. And in the first Instagram video I posted earlier in this literal novella ends with CIX driving past and it is so cute (we actually figured out that they were leaving through a different door so we ran over to the other exit just in time to watch their car pulling away!).

You guys, this was exhilarating! I felt so legit! This was a bucket list item FOR SURE.

I wonder if Chooch will tell his kids about it someday…

…and I wonder how weird they will think it is…

Afterward, we went back to Hongdae. Chooch and Henry ate at Mom’s Touch but I was pouting because I wanted Isaac Toast but THEY WERE CLOSED. Like, since when does anything close at 9pm in Seoul.

Chooch was fucking exhausted, lol.

We watched some buskers on the way back to our room and then tortured Henry with Slaphappy Hour.

This was hands down the best birthday of my whole entire life—OK, tied with the one two years ago when I went to see G-Dragon in Toronto, was second row from the stage and got to be like FIVE FEET FROM HIM during his performance of “Untitled.” That too was a pretty fucking bar-raising birthday.

NOW WHAT WILL I DO FOR MY FIFTIETH?!

Aug 202019
 

I’m killing time before leaving for Kennywood and thought wow, what a great time to share some of my current favorite kpop songs with the dark abyss of the Internet.

Meanwhile, I guess Jonny Craig has done something pathetic/stupid again because my blog stats are blowing up courtesy of Google searches and all of my anti-Jonny blog posts of yore. So if you’re here because of whatever shitstorm he’s kicked up, stay awhile and check out some good music from good people who aren’t raping women, doing drugs, and scamming their fans!

************

The song that has been stuck in my head the most lately is definitely NCT Dream’s Boom and here I will be sharing one of their live performances because I am ob to the sessed with the choreo.

The next song is the solo debut from my Winner bias, Jinu! I just love his soft voice so much. My friend Jiyong told me that in Korea, they call him 사슴진우 because his eyes are like deer eyes. It is so true! I’ve watched this video an embarrassing amount of times since it came out last week.

Chooch and I got to see CIX when we attended the live recording of The Show in Korea and this song was on a constant loop in my head for the rest of the trip. I’ll write more about The Show soon!

And is it even summer without a Red Velvet comeback? I love this song and video! RV always delivers the eye candy & ear worms. It’s like injecting happiness straight into your brain.

Ok well now I’ve fallen into the Taemin Japan concert footage rabbit hole and I’m crying so I guess I should end this now in order to scrub the mascara from my face before leaving for Kennywood.

(SM ENTERTAINMENT: PLEASE RELEASE A DVD OF TAEMIN’S LATEST JAPAN TOUR I WILL BUY IT AND LOVE IT FOREVER.)

Jul 072019
 

One of the biggest downsides to being a kpop fan (and avid kdrama-watcher) is that eventually your faves are going to have to enlist in the military, which is mandatory for Korean men regardless of celebrity status. Being American, this was maybe one of the biggest culture shocks when I started really deep-diving into all things Korea and while it’s a HUGE reminder that the Koreas are still technically at war with each other, it’s also refreshing to see that at the end of the day, make celebrities are still Korean citizens who are required to serve their country.

4/5 of BIGBANG have been in the military since 2018, but TOP was the first to enlist in 2017 so he actually was just discharged yesterday and friends, what a big fucking sigh of relief.

TOP is better than entire rap-lines of other groups put together and his talent transcends kpop and Korea entirely. FIGHT ME.

The Korean media is always seemingly routing against BIGBANG and loves to drag their name through the mud. And TOP had a big drug controversy shortly after enlisting. Allegedly, he had smoked pot at his home with a kpop trainee a few months before enlisting and “someone” narc’d on him later on, causing him to have to leave the military and go to court (marijuana is a big deal in Korea) and then he ended up in the hospital after taking too many pills so this is how stressful and high-pressure it is to be a celebrity in Korea. In America, no one would give a shit if they found out their fave was smoking! But it’s a different culture and as an American, who the fuck am I to judge.

Thankfully, TOP recovered and the military accepted him back as a civil servant, but his discharge date was pushed way back to make up for the time he missed. It was really sad and scary, not knowing what was going to happen to him and I was so afraid he was going to try and commit suicide.

Because of this, the korean media has been rabid about his discharge and a huge crowd of them surrounded the facility he had been assigned to, waiting for him to come out. What they didn’t know was that one of the BIGBANG fansites has arranged a secret meetup between VIPs and TOP, who snuck out through a back door, totally ditching the media, and arrived at the secret location where he greeted the special group of fans who were privy to this! I watched a bunch of videos of it and it was so fucking heartwarming!

My favorite Kpop group’s fandom did this. They came together in an intimate, organized manner, gave the man his space while showing him support and love at the same time. VIPs are so amazing.

Now that TOP is back, I hope he takes as much time for himself as he needs, plus some. And then when G-Dragon is discharged this fall, I hope the two of them pair up and deliver the biggest clapback that Kpop has ever seen.

May 092019
 

I love it when there is an incredible comeback on days when I’m working from home because I can fucking blast that shit full volume on repeat all day and answer to NO ONE. (Except maybe our next door neighbors when I wake up the babies.)

Today, the Chinese subgroup of the NCT conglomerate—WayV—released the MV for their new comeback song and I would say “I’m here for it” but I was doing a PopSugar workout the other night and one of the background broads said that an estimated 58 times and it was nauseating so now I’m trying to completely freeze that out of my repertoire. But, you get the idea.

I was not prepared to like it as much as I do! Halfway through the first viewing, I was struck by the Arrow of Obsession. I don’t delve into other Asian pop very much; I recently tried to watch a Chinese drama and couldn’t get hooked and I honestly think it’s because the reason I’m so into Kpop and K-dramas is literally because my ears are embroiled in a steamy love affair with the Korean language. It’s a linguistic thing, you guys. But WayV…I don’t know, maybe it’s because I was already familiar with some of these members because of NCT, or maybe it’s just because SM Entertainment is really that masterful at churning out polished hits, but something about this collection of talent really grabs my attention and it suddenly doesn’t matter to me that they’re not singing in Korean. I do like how the Chinese language (I don’t know the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese, so I’m not sure which this is) has a lot of “sh” sounds since “x” is so predominant in their words….OK, sorry, I got carried away with typing out the conversation I was having with my other personality inside my head.

My WayV bias is Ten and he is NOT PLAYING AROUND in this song, you guys. My favorite part of his starts at 1:37 and I also love the dance breakdown later on! I AM SO ENTHRALLED WITH THIS VIDEO!

I was going to write something deep and meaningful on here today, but my one-track mind is occupied with a train to WayV Town, so maybe tomorrow. LOL j/k, I never have anything deep and meaningful to share on here. I’m all roller coasters and Korea. Byeeee.

Mar 042019
 

So many good songs dropped over the last several days that I have no choice but to share them on here today. Seriously, no choice. It must be done.

And the first one on my list is this new one from SHINee’s Key, which came out the day before his military enlistment (*tears*) and features Soyeon from (G)i-dle. The first word that came to mind when watching this MV last night was “smooth.” It goes down smooth like honey and the color palette is, oh my god I’m going to sound like some prattish lifestyle blogger here, inspiring. I want a room with green and black orb things protruding from the wall now and my house is definitely lacking in the red department. HENRY, GET THEE TO HOME DEPOT.

We went rollerskating yesterday and THIS is what was missing. This would be such a cool mid-tempo jam to glide around to. Dumb American skating rinks.

Since that last song featured Soyeon, let’s talk about her group’s new comeback song! Henry is on the fence with it, but the more I hear it, the more I love it. Really, I just love Soyeon.

I never really liked or disliked Spanish music before (I mean, I liked Shakira for a hot sec though) but there is some kind of magic that happens when Korea meets Spain, man. It just works somehow! So far, I have really loved all of (G)i-dle’s music – I love how their effortless edginess, their concepts, Soyeon’s rapping, and that interesting “fwoofwoo” sound that they make in this song and also in HANN. What is that!? I don’t know, but it sounds cool and unlike anything else, and it’s so much better than just saying “lalalala” or “Whoa.”

Next up is a slow-burner coming from JUS2, the new subgroup of Chooch’s favorite Kpop group Got7, featuring JB and Yugyeom.

I am all about this song. It’s so chill! It reminds me of when the local urban radio station had a late night program called Quiet Storm where they played all kinds of slow and smooth r&b and I would lay in bed, that on in the background, writing in my journal about whatever current boy I was essentially preying on.

Look, I love Got7 a lot (not as much as Chooch does, probably) but if these two want to take some more time off to serve up the public with more juicy JUS2 jam sandwiches, I’ll allow it.

This next song is a POWER JAM, my chingu. Henry’s grandson Calvin is here right now and is straight up celebrating while this song plays on the TV. I like to imagine that Shindong and UV are walking next to me, cheering me on the entire way to the trolley platform every morning. (Calvin just put a unicorn headband on me and then, after inspecting it, said “Eh” and toddled away. Oh Calvin, if only you knew how accustomed I am to that reaction.)

And this last song is the killer: Queen Sunmi is back with another awesome song and even better MV full of social media commentary. Those images hit home, man. This was me at one time. I cared so much about the Internet and the image I portrayed, and I was turning into a gross caricature. Everything got so much better in my life and my head when I left Facebook, which I truly believe is the WORST of them all. Instagram is getting there for me, too: I refuse to participate in IG stories. I sometimes go days without posting anything and it doesn’t stress me out like it would have in the past. And even this thing here that I’m writing on – I don’t care who reads it – I mean, if you’re reading it, I do appreciate it but I’m not losing sleep over losing comments; leaving Facebook really makes you realize how disposable you are as a human being–the “out of sight out of mind” mentality people have these days is out of control!

On that note, squirm uncomfortably at how fucking fake the world has become with Sunmi’s beautifully raw “Noir” video:

Well that’s all for this edition of “Erin Posts Kpop Videos for Her Imaginary Blog Audience.” Annyeong, dingdong!

Feb 232019
 

Yo yo yo, I’m back with another kpop concert blog recap and I know you’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know Erin likes kpop” but it’s true. I do. Now you can’t say I never told you any secrets.

So this particular concert was for Red Velvet, a five-member girl group from Kpop juggernaut SM Entertainment, and also one of the very first groups I started to pay attention to at the beginning of my k-aerobics journey. The first video of theirs’ I ever watched was for “Dumb Dumb” and I was instantly entranced by the creepy quirkiness of it and immediately shared it with a bunch of my co-workers for Friday Video and even they were like “This is weirdly good.”

Over the years, we’ve seen numerous comebacks from Red Velvet and they have really evolved into something special. They have a dual concept: the cute and poppy “red” side, and the sultry r&b “velvet” side and it really works well for them. It makes them more well-rounded, multi-dimensional, and less of a one-trick pigeon-holed pony.

Chooch also really likes Red Velvet a lot so when they announced their first North American tour a few mths ago, I apologized to my bank account, begged for financial forgiveness, sold Henry’s right kidney on the dark web, and bought us two tickets, which were nosebleed even though I sat there for 45 minutes before tickets went on sale, staring at the countdown page.

There has got to be a better system. Someone, please give us a better system. Can we go back to, I don’t know, standing in line outside of Kaufmann’s, waiting for the ticket office to open? Am I dating myself? DO I CARE?

You know, it’s not even so much the price of the tickets that kills me, it’s the fact that these shows never come anywhere closer than Newark or Toronto, so no matter what, we have to road trip, so now on top of the ticket prices, we have to add in the cost of travel and hotel rooms and then skip a few meals but whatever, it’s all for the experience and the chance to talk about it at some funeral wake twenty five years from now, am I right or wrong.

This damn concert landed us in Newark again which is fine, whatever. I was just happy that we had the opportunity to see these awesome girls!

I even had our clothes all picked out in advance!

In honor of their song “Red Flavor,” I bought Chooch this cool watermelon shirt which will be mine once he outgrows it, and I wore my Strawberry Milk sweater. Henry was like, “Yes, I get it” and then begrudgingly took our picture.

The concert was the the NJ Performing Arts Center, right near our hotel. It was literally a two minute walk, but Henry said that on his way back (we made him walk us there, lol), there were people at our hotel getting an Uber to take them there?! Hopefully they just didn’t realize how close it was, otherwise, I have officially lost all hope for mankind.

This picture is super blurry because I was walking when I took it, but this is the fucking merch line. It wrapped around three floors! We got there right after doors opened, and it was already like this. That’s a big hard NO. Also, when we were still in the lobby, someone behind the merch table started yelling that all the white shirts were sold out, so I wasn’t even about to get in line at that point. Luckily, a limited number of shirts were made available online a week later, so I was able to get a black one then. Sucks that I had to pay for shipping, but at least I didn’t have to wait in that line just to be disappointed!

We were all the way up in the fourth tier, but! We were in the second row smack dab in the middle, so it was actually a great view even though we were up high. And the people around us were inoffensive. There were three Korean girls behind me, probably in their late 20s, and I heard them gushing about Taemin’s comeback before the show started! I had this strong urge to turn around and butt in, but I hate talking to strangers and also Chooch was like PLZ DON’T EMBARRASS ME.

He’s at that awesome age where everything I do is embarrassing.

Or am I at that awesome age where everything I do is embarrassing?

Guys, this old couple in the row in front of us was so fucking cute, I couldn’t stand it! Who knew there were such old ReveLuvs (the name of Red Velvet fans) in America!? I love it. Kpop is for everyone.

The show started at 7:00 with a video of Red Velvet at EVERLAND and we were excitedly whispering, “We were there!” to each other. The video was adorable and tied in with the whole “Redmare” concept by showing them waking up from naps and having weird things happen to them, like disappearing and appearing on a stage in….Newark (sorry girls but at least NYC is nearby!), turning into animals and being hunted by zoo keepers, and getting lost in a haunted house. It was split up into several parts and shown throughout the show. As soon as the video started, I had tears streaming down my face. I have zero hold over my emotions anymore. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN I HIT MENOPAUSE????? I can’t think about that now.

The first song they performed was Russian Roulette and it was a strong choice! Everyone was screaming their dumb faces off, me included. I had the dumbest face of all the faces probably.

I might be way more into boy groups these days, but in the beginning of the descent down the kpop k-hole, it was all about the girl groups for me and I have to say, this concert was everything that I didn’t know I needed — the girls just bring a totally different charisma and charm to the stage. Obviously, it was fun to the maxxxxx, but it was also a huge sense of camaraderie – there is nothing quite like the feeling of being in a beautiful venue with thousands of other people who understand how invigorating and joyous Korean pop music is.

This song is special to me because it came out right after I had a Korean lesson on “here, there, over there” so when I heard this song for the first time, I screamed, “I KNOW WHAT THEY’RE SAYING THERE!” and then I explained it to Henry who gave negative fucks about it. But for me and my remedial Korean education, it made a big impression.

They did a bit of talking here and there – Wendy is Canadian so her English is fluent, and Yeri gave a strong effort. The rest of them relied on an off-stage translator at the end when it was time to talk about their feelings, and I’m glad that they were able to have that opportunity to communicate with us their excitement and appreciation. I’m going to be honest here – I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like this show because their KCON performance was so short and some of the Korean performances I had seen (music countdown shows, award shows, etc) sometimes came off feeling a bit stiff and emotionless. But on this night, they were IN IT and the emotion was strong. There was a video floating around of Seulgi losing her hairpiece during one of the songs and Irene couldn’t stop cracking up—it was so cute to see them looking so relaxed and enjoying their time on the stage!

Seulgi is my RV bias, but I came super close to Henry’s bias Yeri. HER HAPPINESS IS GODDAMN PALPABLE.

Chooch was so engaged and invested through the entire show, whereas he was definitely losing interest at the BTS concert and even during parts of all the KCON concerts we’ve attended. Red Velvet had his undivided attention though!

We both agreed, at the end, that it was 100% worth the trip to Newark.

SETLIST:

ENCORE

***

Before we left the venue, I texted Henry to come and meet us so we wouldn’t have to walk back alone. He said NO!? That he was TOO COMFORTABLE?! I thought for sure he was kidding, no way he’d let his precious cargo stumble along the dark streets of Newark alone.

NOPE, HE WASN’T KIDDING. We got back to the hotel and he was watching The Princess Bride in his underwear.

Jan 132019
 

What’s up, Diva cups, I’m checking in to show you the new non compos cards Valentine set for 2019. I have had this collection on the back burner for a minute now and am so pleased to finally have finished it this weekend.

The Cure is my all-time favorite band, as in: cash in your savings account and fly to Australia to see them after they hastily announce that they’re not going to tour again after that but that was in 2000 and you have since seen them like 6 more times because Robert Smith lied but that’s ok!

True to form, this is a cringefest so get your groans ready.

The set contains 16 different mini-cards, just like the kinds we used to pass out in elementary school except much cooler because, you know, The Cure.

Henry was like I DON’T GET IT and I’ll tell you why – it’s because he’s not actually a “fan” of The Cure.

This set is now available in my shop and I am so happy about it! Part of me wants to track down all my old friends from the long defunct chatroom I used to frequent in 1998/1999 called Darkchat and send them all one of these cards (and by frequent I do mean I used to stay up until like 5am private messaging with all of my goth paramours). God, those were the days! Now when I tell people that The Cure is my favorite band, the general response, “I don’t know who that is.” Well, just break my goddamn heart.

I think this set goes wonderfully with all the serial killer ones, the vintage porn star collection, the Golden Girls series and of course all the Kpop varieties in my Hello Hanguk shop too! I’ll repost all of those ones throughout the week in case you missed them last year. I love Valentines so much!

Interested in purchasing a set of The Cure valentines for all the lovecats in your life? Click right here!