Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I like to party ~ with 박재범

I'm not sure if you've noticed but I've kind of adapted to the Korean culture, so it's only natural that I finally got myself to a concert.  A few weeks back I saw the One Hip Hop Festival being advertised, thanks to Jay Park's instagram feed, and immediately sent the link to my friend Caitlin.  I knew she is also a big fan of Jay Park and was hoping she'd be up for going with me.  Unfortunately he wasn't the headlining performer but there was a load of people worth seeing and the headliner wasn't too terrible *cough* Nelly *cough* Thankfully Caitlin was on board  as was our friend Sara, so the three of us were soon (a few weeks later) on our way to Seoul.

15 hours of music, ready for this? 
 I didn't realize how long the festival actually was until the week of, turns out the performances started at 2pm and went until 5am the next morning, definitely worth the ticket price. Once the line-up was posted we had a better game plan for the day, realizing that we didn't care about the first few acts we took our time in getting to the venue, first getting settled at the hostel and enjoying lunch in Hapjeong before heading to the shuttle bus.  Unfortunately the 4pm shuttle bus was already sold out when we arrived so we had to kill about 45 minutes before getting on the next one, not so bad when you come up with ingenious, cheap cocktail recipes - thank you GS25. 

You know it's gonna be a good day when it starts like this 

Cool elephant sculptures near Hapjeong station 

You can't deny the amazingness of this picture

The venue was located in the Northwestern part of Seoul so it was about a half hour ride before we arrived, not terrible despite thanks to the fact the bus driver was playing the most bizzare radios station (Gloria Estephan, Madona, Beetles....?).  The festival was being held at the Kintex building which is actually a huge venue with multiple different halls/meeting rooms but it seemed that the hip hop festival was one of the only things going on there that day.  It was thankfully not crazy busy and everything was well organized, shortly after arriving we had our tickets, wristbands, return shuttle bus tickets and were inside ready for some music, but then we found a problem.

First glimpse of the stage 

As we stood near the back of the room listening to a collection of artists we kind of knew, we realized that we might need a few more drinks to push through the crowd finding ourselves at the front of the stage.  Again if you know anything about my blog or Korea you'll know that soju is the most effective method of drinking in Korea. Cheap, delicious and readily accesible - unless you're at the Kintex on the day of the Hip Hop festival.  I'm not sure if it's because the stores were located within the Kintex or what the reason but there was no soju to be found! I never would've guessed finding alcohol would be our one problem of the day, but we now had a mission ahead of us.  We ventured outside the grounds amongst restaurants and apartments before finally coming across a 'Gag Story' convenience store, which had plenty of soju.  We bought a few necessities, whipped up another cocktail (which throughly impressed the worker) and sat outside for a bit before heading back to the concert. 

Soju, why you so hard to find?

So hip-hop 

We were back right in time for the first of the performers we wanted to see, the day couldn't be working more in our favor. We weaseled our way closer to the stage, danced, sang, took pictures - basically we were just a big ball of awesome.  As those groups wrapped up the crowd quickly dispersed so we followed the crowd back out into the hall/lobby area so we could sort ourselves out for the rest of the night. aka drink some soju and get ready to scream like 14 yr old girls when Jay Park performed. 




칸토  special guest with 범키

I was pleased by the number of songs that I was familiar with and able to sing along to, but let's be honest how many hip-hop / rap songs can you really sing along with, even if they are in your native language.  Actually, that reminds me of middle school (?) when my friends and I were trying to rap (who knows what song - honestly might have been nappy roots) and someone suggested you just repeat watermelon over and over again to make it look like you know what you're talking about.  Don't worry I've long since abandoned that method.
Love you girls!!

After finishing our reserve soju, texting friends to update them about how awesome we are, people watching and resting our feet, we made our way back inside.  Zico (from Block B) was performing before Jay Park so we caught the tail end of his performance and began our push forward.  At some point I lost the girls but that didn't stop me, I was going to get past as many little Korean girls as I could. 



My goal was front row but there were a few stubborn girls that would not budge, totally understandable though it's not like I was moving for anyone.  I'm pretty sure I've never cared about an artist enough to fight the crowds and be sandwiched between people, or maybe it's more so that I never wanted to fight the American crowds.  People in the US are definitely a lot more aggressive when it comes to concerts, I recall lots of hair pulling, shoving, elbowing and pinching throughout my years of summerfest craziness, but this was different.  Sure there were a lot of people crammed together but people were still able to respect each-others space, ironic? Thankfully I had a few inches on the girls in front of me and long arm so I was able to get some good pictures and videos all while swooning like a teenager, which i'm not ashamed to admit. It was fun. 

Friends, meet Jay Park ~~ honestly not too impressed by his outfit selection for the night but the shirt(s) came off and really, I was just there to watch him dance. 


Although he wasn't headlining he was given plenty of stage time and thankfully played some of my favorites

Okay so I wasn't front front row 

Shirt off = happy crowd 

By the time Jay Park was done performing we were ready for another break, not to mention covered in a bit of sweat and thirsty.  We literally made it about 10 yards past the concert entrance (and still in the venue area) before falling down on the ground.  Although before long we had made a new friend and requested that he teach us some of his dance moves, which we were not very good at.  

Guy in the white T - our new dance coach

After the improptu dance lesson we ventured further into the hall area and made one more stop at the GS, this time including some snacks / dinner? before finding a nice patch of floor to sit on.  At this point it was time for the headlining acts to begin, but we didn't make any attempts at getting up. I was rather enjoying our people watching, snacking and picture taking. I guess that was also due to the fact that I have absolutely no idea who TYGA is, even after searching him on Google - so yeah, I didn't really feel like I was missing out on much.  We DID make our way back in to catch THE act of the night though, welcome Nelly and immediate middle school flashbacks. In case you were curious he is still 'stompin in his air force ones', and taking his clothes off because it's 'gettin hot in here', but no, he is no longer rockin' the band aid.  I even found a group of Korean guys to dance and sing with, making me feel even more like I was back at High School prom, oh the memories. 

Oh hey Nelly, it's bee a while 

In case you didn't believe me 

It was pretty amusing trying to watch Nelly work the crowd, I'm not sure he remembered that the majority of the crowd didn't understand 90% of the things coming out of his mouth. Actually my friends and I weren't even sure which one Nelly was at first, I guess him and his crew all look a bit alike. Our new friends were kind enough to buy us some vodka/Red Bulls after Nelly was done performing but we weren't kind enough to finish them, sorry boys - not delicious.  Even more they offered us a ride back to Hapjeong but again we declined; there were a few more acts we wanted to see and weren't too confident in their driving abilities at this hour, then again maybe they didn't drink 3 bottles of soju...

Sara did acquire a sweet new phone accessory, though

There was roughly an hour to burn before 빈지노 and Dok 2 were performing so we decided to step outside for a little fresh air, along with a million other people. We went back in for the rest but were slightly disappointed, i'm not sure if it was our tired legs, lack of food or surplus drinks but 빈지노 did not impress us.  Our favorite songs were not played and everything just sounded like yelling, time to call it a night. We caught the 3:30 shuttle, which I promptly passed out on and were soon back in the comfort of our hostel.  

Perfect place for a quick nap

When we first discovered how long the concert was we played with the idea of not booking a hostel and just staying out for the whole night. Who did I think I was, thank god we rethought that one.  I would have been a miserable human being if I went with zero sleep and little food for 20+ hours, although my hostel bed was a bit hard and I had to share a room with 10 other people I slept like a baby. Sara and Caitlin were already up and showered when I stirred, somewhere around 10. Another benefit of getting a little shut eye was being able to enjoy my Sunday before rushing back to reality in Gumi.  I was audacious and made lunch plans with my friend MiYoung and her boyfriend, whom I originally met in Bali last winter.  I took a chance when I approached them, feeling a bit stupid as I explained that I was currently living in Korea and just wanted to say hi, but one thing led to another and here I am meeting them in Seoul. It took almost 6 months but i'm glad we finally met, enjoyed lunch, coffee and lots of good conversation together - ending with an open invitation to visit MiYoung and stay in her home, cooking lessons included ~ success

Hopefully the start of a new, long friendship 

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