Just over a month after their New York shows, the international K-pop convention KCON heads to Los Angeles this weekend. As usual, along with the actual convention, part of the show is the evening concerts. Similarly to how KCON NY had their concerts in the famous Madison Square Garden, the two nights in LA will take place at Madison Square Garden.
Spread through the two evenings is 15 acts. Last year the city had 18 groups and soloists, with the unofficial headliner being JYP girl group TWICE. This year there aren’t any acts that have the level of fame that TWICE has, but people in LA got their fair share of the group when they played The Forum back in July. With the first day of convention events today, let’s look at the lineup for the first concert, which takes place tomorrow.
Preview: First Night of KCON Los Angeles
Visa Issues Hurting KCON
It’s worth noting right off the bat that KCON will be missing some of the billed talents. Boy group ONEUS’s appearance on Friday is currently up in the air as visa issues stop the group from entering the country. They were taken off the “KCON Rookies” event which takes place today, while they continued to work on the visa conflict. It’s been known for a while that girl group EVERGLOW will also not been seen at KCON LA, with their visas situation not working out either. The group’s absence was one people could see coming, as the group failed to appear at KCON NY due to the same issue.
Rookie group AB6IX have quickly established themselves as a potential frontrunner for rookie boy group of the year. With their debut title EP B Complete, the group reached second on the Gaon Album Chart; which was a strong start for the group. They’ll likely perform their well-known title track “BREATHE,” along with one of their well known b-side songs.
Another boy group on the show that has been electric through their first year is ATEEZ. Already releasing three mini-albums and five singles, the group has been very active. This won’t be the group’s first appearance in Los Angeles. Back when they were just trainees, ATEEZ members visited LA on a variety show titled “KQ Fellaz American Training” prior to their debut. Their last EP Treasure EP.3: One To All produced two singles in “Illusion” and “Wave,” which could be played at the concert.
Winners of survival show Produce 48, IZ*ONE are approaching their first year as a group. And as no surprise to anyone, the group will be performing at KCON LA. Being owned by CJ E&M, the organizers of KCON, the group has taken the stage at the New York show, and are also billed for the Thailand event in September. The 12-member girl group has two major singles in “La Vie en Rose” and “Violeta,” along with Japanese songs like “Suki to Iwasetai” and “Buenos Aires.” Their third Japanese release “Vampire” will not have released by the time Saturday rolls around.
LOONA’s American Debut
In what could be one of the most long-awaited American appearances, LOONA will be playing on the first night of KCON. The group, which is small but established in Korea, has a cult following in the United States which has become notorious in K-pop forums and social media platforms. Sometimes even spilling out of K-pop fandom, the term “Stan LOONA” has become an infamous cry from the fanbase. The underdog group has been tirelessly pushed by it’s devoted fans who see pure talent in them.
LOONA’s out of the box style of building up their group and their unique music has made the group a dark horse in the industry. For those who don’t know, LOONA is a girl group of 12 members, who were revealed one at a time with soloist songs for each member, and sub-units for every three members. Debuting in August last year as a group of 12 for the first time, the group released the song “Hi High.” They have since also put out the title track “Butterfly.” In the final few days of the group’s rookie status, they will see the American fanbase, which has done anything but neglect them.
MOMOLAND will be the only returning girl group from KCON NY last year. Their appearance last year was much more anticipated at the time because of the group’s massive success through their songs “BBoom BBoom” and “BAAM.” With their only big song since then was “I’m So Hot,” the group isn’t the same hot ticket that they were in the year before. With that being said, their EDM/dance-centric music is very concert friendly and should hold a similar level of hype when performed like last year.
Last year, Los Angeles witnessed NU’EST W, a sub-unit of NU’EST perform, while the missing members took the stage with temporary group Wanna One. Now that Wanna One’s contracts have ended and everyone has returned to their home labels, NU’EST will appear as a full group at KCON this year. Since they came back together, the group has released the song “Bet Bet.” While that song is likely to be performed, the group’s large discography that dates back to 2012 gives them lots of other options.
The final group on the first night is SF9. The established boy group has put out tons of music, but their current focus is to promote “RPM,” a song which comes from the identically titled EP. The group has consistently charted in the top 10 of Korea with every project that they put out. And while they’re not a pillar of the boy group industry, they have certainly had their success.
Like all KCON events, the concerts will be live-streamed on the website. The second night has no shortage of talent, with groups like ITZY, Stray Kids, SEVENTEEN and more in the lineup. Check back on lwos.life tomorrow for a preview of the second night.