Contributing Writer drowningn00b took to the streets of New York City last month (June 25, 2011) and rolled into ‘Crimson’, the “very sexy and trendy venue” that played host to Brian Joo’s latest Unveiled Tour around the US of A. Here is drowningn00b’s review of the event.
K-pop artists keep most of their promotional activities confined to South Korea, so it’s a treat when they expand beyond those borders. Even more so when it’s in the city one resides in, so I jumped on the chance to see Brian Joo at his club tour stop in New York City, Saturday June 25.
I was unaware of Mr. Joo’s solo career before this, but knew him as one half of Fly to the Sky – the duo with Hwanhee – and after doing my homework, I started to get my bearings on what makes Brian Joo, the artist. But did it translate to a live club setting?
The venue that held the event (hosted by GSeoul Entertainment) was Crimson, a club/lounge spot with the regular fixings: black leather couches, drapes, and dark red lights, with a noir 50’s style décor. Musicians perform in a small alcove on the second floor (which was a problem that I’ll explain later). The concert opened with DJ Yup, an up-and-coming DJ who spun the required hip-hop and dance music commonplace for urban clubs. I would’ve liked some k-pop mashes to be sprinkled throughout, as it was a k-pop event, but that’s a minor gripe.
Later, two new artists performed, the first of which was completely forgettable. The second act was JohnnyPhlo, a new k-pop rapper who will soon make his debut in S. Korea. What made him stand out was his mixtape-style covers of GD&TOP’s “High High” and Taeyang’s “Wedding Dress”. His rap style was in line with GD’s; fast and clipped. He does have the talent to make it, though only time (and netizens) will tell whether JohnnyPhlo will be a name people will talk about.
Finally, Brian Joo hit the stage in a black jacket ensemble with metallic accents and spiky hair. If he wore something that stood out more, it would’ve been better, especially in a dark club. He opened with “내 여자”, off his electronic album ‘Manifold‘, and continued with “It’s Over Now”, the English version of his latest single “사랑하다 끝났어”. He followed it up with “Domino”, the English version of, “눈물이 마르면…” and ended with “In My Head”, a song collaboration with Jason Derulo (who wasn’t present).
Brian Joo is a seasoned performer, so listening to him live was great. He has the vocal chops to wow the crowd and the persona to pull off some of the emotions in his music to a live audience. However, a club setting was not the ideal place for him to perform. He is not someone I would think of at a party, so a small bar with a band would have been a better fit for his ballad-style pop. The problems with the venue continued, as the feedback continuously showing up, the mic’s batteries wasted, and the spotlight was stationary the entire time; the light could not be manually maneuvered and no one had the foresight to remotely control the light. This became a bigger issue with the more party-centric songs, since the artists would move around the “stage” and would get lost in the shadows in their dark clothing. It did help, however, that a cameraman was present and had a bright light attached, helping us out.
Overall, this was a good introduction to Brian Joo as a live act. JohnnyPhlo lives up to his name, and Brian Joo has vocal skills outside of the recording booth. There were style, song selection, and venue decisions that I would have made differently, but Mr. Joo worked well with what he was given. He can put on a performance, and I hope to see what Brian Joo does next.
Hi! My name is Xtian, and I’m a total pop music whore. I’m from NYC and can be seen dancing in the streets with headphones permanently glued to my ears. I may not have had a musical background, but I’m a lover of all things music, so I’m excited to be bringing a new voice to the McRoth’s funhouse. Y’all can email me at email@example.com, or better yet, follow me on twitter, where I do most of my social media-ing, @drowningn00b. See y’all lataz!