Korean hip-hop group Epik High took the stage by storm during the Vancouver stop on their North American tour, living up to their reputation as one of Korea’s most talented hip-hop acts. Playing a sold-out show at the Vogue Theatre, the group proved yet again that music can break cultural barriers.
Composed of rapper Mithra Jin, DJ Tukutz, and leader Tablo, the trio have been creating music that fuses hip-hop with alternative sounds for over twelve years, collaborating with dozens of famous Korean artists such as Beenzino, Dynamic Duo, Verbal Jint, and BIGBANG’s G-Dragon and Taeyang.
The concert itself can only be described as electrifying. Two parts energy and three parts charisma, the group kept the crowd jumping and completely engaged throughout the entirety of the show. The trio was able to combine older and classic songs such as “Love Love Love,” “Fan,” and “One” with their newer titles, such as “Burj Khalifa,” “Rich,” and “Happen Ending,” all from their 2014 album Shoebox. It created the perfect mix of familiar and fresh sounds, building up the anticipation of what was to come next.
The group’s stage presence was a force to be reckoned with. I was overwhelmed with how they were able to bring the stage to life, conducting the crowd from virtually all angles. That, coupled with the music and lights, kept the crowd cheering and waving their hands along with the various beats.
During the Q&A session half way through the show, the three artists responded to questions regarding their personal impressions of Vancouver and musical inspirations.
While Tablo generally kept his answers sincere, claiming at one point to be inspired both by his daughter, Haru, and by Epik High’s fans, DJ Tukutz made the crowd laugh with his humorous responses. It was refreshing, and a shining example of how Epik High’s personalities make the group admirable and down-to-earth.
One thing that really stood out to me was the passion Epik High has for their fans and their ability to interact with the audience on a personal level.
Throughout the entirety of the concert, the group was consistently asking the audience questions, dedicating songs to the crowd, and even taking numerous group photos. It felt like they were there for the fans, not vice versa, which is something I have never experienced at a concert before.
At the end of the night, Tablo voiced his desire for the crowd to feel inspired by Epik High’s performance and to feel motivated to pursue our dreams. It was refreshing to hear this from the former Vancouverite, and he repeatedly reminded the crowd that Epik High are living proof that things do get better.
With the performance they presented, I can honestly say that I believe it. The night was inspirational and captivating for me in a way that no other concert experience has ever been.