London is going through a bit of a K-Pop boom recently! A few weeks ago we had they lovely Boys Republic come and perform as part of their European tour and in the beginning of October we have the amazing Infinite coming back to London for the second time in two years. Last Friday we had Topp Dogg perform at the Troxy in Shadwell- a show many of us have been looking forward to for the best part of half a year!
Before the show because I was invited to sit down with the boys beforehand for an exclusive interview (of which will follow later this week!) just for a short while to talk about the European Showcase Tour and how they felt about finally being in London. The boys themselves P-Goon, Kidoh, Gohn, Sangdo, B-Joo, Hansol, Xero, Yano, Nakta, Jenissi, A-Tom and Hojoon were evident in their excitement in being in the UK, lamenting the fact that they weren’t here longer to enjoy the city more. However some of the members did treat fans waiting outside to an impromptu show of them having a pillow fight next to the queue! Definitely something that you wouldn’t see in a larger concert environment.
Although I had never been before I knew the Troxy was a large venue so I was dubious to seating and space but kudos to the venue, as it was set up in a way where it wouldn’t seem so vast for a group who still just about have Rookie status in the K-Pop world.
As we took our seats (and I took a well-timed trip to the bar) we were introduced to a video showing all the locations around the world that they boys have been to so far, including the USA, Malaysia and Japan. And with big letters stating “Hello London!” the boys ran onto the stage to perform their first song, “Open The Door”.
A showcase set up was certainly better than a full concert. With so many members within the group, a full blown concert could end up with certain quieter members being lost in the background with the stronger talkers being in the forefront of conversation. But each member was able to talk about themselves, share banter with the other members and engage in fan service (we were gifted with abs within half an hour of the show’s start!) What I particularly enjoyed was how there was a split between group performances and then break offs where the Rapper line would do a few songs (which got the crowd particularly hyped) and the Vocal and Dance lines showing off their talents. Also, to give the boys a break there was an entertaining video where six of the team had to hunt for their possessions in a bravery challenge in the dark.
One moment I was particularly fond of was their live cover/rearrangement of Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do”. They reiterated that they wanted to do something special for the UK fans and cover a song from a UK artist and Ellie’s massive hit from this year was the song of their choice. I will admit when I first saw the video I wasn’t too convinced but it is certainly a production that works well live- I was indeed impressed and thankful for the care that they took to impress UK Topp Klass.
Of course, there were a few issues but most of them cosmetic. The stage simply was not big enough for a group of that magnitude so there were times where it seems where certain members were not participating in a section of a song they were floating rather obviously at the side waiting for their turn which was distracting. And at least from my position, when it came to the video screening, because the video itself was quick dark it a lot of the reactions of the boys were missed. Also, having seats sort of detracted from the hype a little bit, similar to the feel that Donghae & Eunhyuk had when they had their showcase at the London Korean Film Festival. Where we were, we were all standing and dancing for the most part of the show. In the VVIP section everyone was pretty much seated unless told to stand up and dance.
Otherwise? Despite the fact that they had been performing in Italy only the day before, Topp Dogg threw as much energy as they could into all performances. The cover dance breakouts were a particular favourite of mine, so were their performances of “Follow Me” and “TopDog” which involved us throwing mad shapes in the aisles (and even had a few of the door stewards dancing along also!)
All in all, Topp Dogg proved why they were popular overseas with their warm personality, fun games and banter and great performances. They stated at the end of the show that they want to come back to the UK to do something bigger and better (and stay here longer)- British Topp Klass will certainly welcome them back with open arms!
Photos (c) SurfinHaruru of JaK Wave 2015