|Subtitle: "How NOT to act at live events"|
The main draws for us were Girls Day and After School (because we like Orange Caramel, if I'm being honest) but there were plenty of big names performing, including BAP, 2PM, Teen Top, and Boyfriend.
I think that's where our first warning should have been.
When we arrived the venue was mostly empty, and we got talking to some lovely ladies from Israel who had been travelling around South Korea for the best part of a month, and had picked up some tickets on a whim. Apparently there was a foreigner's section somewhere but we'd gotten for the domestic section.
As the venue started to fill up a bit, the lights dimmed, and the most alarming music started to play. I'm not really sure what happened because it wasn't introduced very clearly (and if it was, it was in Korean) but a group of girls in bizarre clothing rushed out onto the stage and started to sing and dance. It took us a while to realise that the ParaPara style dancing, unusual getups and distressing synths went together with the fact they were singing in Japanese and inexplicably we were witnessing a J-pop concert.
They were very cute, if not scary, and after a couple of songs they were replaced by another J-pop band of girls in hockey masks and furry rave boots. I'm not sure what was happening and from the looks on a few peoples' faces, they weren't either. But it was enjoyable, and when they introduced themselves at the end we got to watch the most adorable show of one girl forgetting all her Korean, panicking, and resorting to crib notes WRITTEN ON HER WRIST. It was SO cute. It turns out several of them had a skin-based cheat sheet because the panic spread and they all ended up just reading from their wrists. I know that feel, bros.
Then, after a short break, we had an introduction from two very glamorously-dressed members of some of the Korean bands, and then finally some fashion! I'm sad that I didn't realise it would be okay to bring a larger camera, because my phone camera - wonderful as it is - definitely couldn't handle the brightness of the stage lights, so I ended up with very few shots that are actually usable.
As it was Autumn/Winter collections, there were a lot of nice-looking winter coats, and sports clothes, and fairly muted palettes.
It was fairly standard fashion show fare, the lovely models would come out and show us some clothes, we'd quietly make fun of the male models (they just all look so angry and upset!), then they'd all come back out with the designer for some applause.
I will say, for recent graduates or students who haven't even graduated yet, I really appreciated how great all of these collections looked. I preferred them a lot more to some of the brand-name parades that came out wearing just screen-printed sweatshirts and beanies.
Every few runs, there'd be a break for some music, and that's actually (sadly) what sucked all of the joy out of this event for me. It turns out that obsessive music fans are internationally rude and inconsiderate, not just ones at home.
This is very rapidly going to turn into a rant, because I really wanted to enjoy this show but thinking about it, I can't remember anything. Well, other than the terrible people that stood around me. That's really sad.
Part 1: Cameras.
As soon as the act came on, my great view (which actually became less great as time went on) would be totally obscured by thousands of phones and cameras rising into the air. Not just for a couple of snaps, either. People would spam the shutter button or just film the entire set, so I ended up more than once just having to watch it through a screen even though I was RIGHT THERE.
A level-up on this horror was the fact that a large number of people actually brought DSLRs to the show. Considering the last couple of things I've been to have been governed by SM Entertainment, where there's a strict no photos policy, I was pretty shocked to see them.
But I was even angrier for two reasons.
a) When I saw they didn't know how to use these hugely expensive and weighty cameras. The one in the photo above was something like a Canon 50d or 5d, and had an enormous telescopic lens on it. All in all it's AT LEAST £1000, but very likely much more. And she was abusing it. I could see the settings on that thing and they were wildly inappropriate for the location. Sorry not sorry for photo snobbing. I'm by no means a great photographer, but when your subject is moving very quickly on a very brightly lit stage, even I know that you don't have your ISO on upwards of 800 (but usually somewhere in the 1000s) and you really need your shutter going faster than 1/25. Really. Or if you're going to stick with that, don't look angry when all of your photos are blurry. And why are you reviewing and deleting while the show's going on?! Do it later! You're missing out on so many good shots! Running out of space? Get a memory card more suited to your camera or clear it out before you go to a show. *internal screaming*
On the flip side were the many others totally spamming that shutter button. Holding it down on continuous in the hopes that ONE photo will be okay. You...you do realise your camera has a finite number of shutter clicks...right? You do realise that you're slowly killing your hugely expensive piece of equipment that I would kill to have, because you haven't made the slightest effort to learn how to use it, right? *more screaming*
b) I'm tall. I know I'm a pain to stand behind at gigs and events. I don't like it any more than you do because I spend the whole time wracked with guilt and my back aches and generally I'd prefer it if I could get seating or shrink a few inches. But that's life. I'm sorry that my height is inconveniencing you and your blurry photos but your way around this problem should NOT be this:
Yeah, she's resting that lens on my head. Yes, she brought a footstool to a gig, yes she also brought a huge backpack and was shoving people around left right and centre.
At more than one point one of her beloved boybands ran from one end of the stage to the other, and she followed at a high speed...through my head. I'm not going to lie, I actually turned around and shouted at her for that, because she'd already hit Nick and another poor guy in the head with it AND she's risking that beautiful lens, like come ON.
Her response? She bowed. And just carried on doing it. Gaaaaarghhhh!
Part 2: Crowd Etiquette.
So, here's the problem. You've got a 100% standing gig, packed with teenagers lusting after their favourite pop stars, in a venue that's pretty much just a free-for-all.
As soon as any band finished, there'd be a shift in the audience as people would decide to give up their spaces close to the stage either due to exhaustion, crushing, or just because they only came to see a specific act. Whenever this happened, there'd be a painful surge as everyone would then try to fill it, like some sort of weird human bottle of sand. The problem being that you've got about 1000 people trying to get into the space of maybe 50 people.
It was painful.
More than once I was elbowed and shoved, and more than once I went into a borderline panic attack because I was genuinely struggling to breathe from the crush. I don't want to think about what was happening to some of the poor girls there who were half my size. Part of the problem was people like the aformentioned douche, setting up photo studios in a packed crowd. A variation on this were the girls that were fed up of standing, so they'd decide to just sit. On the floor. Regardless of trampling.
One girl had to be removed through the crowd because she was collapsing. I don't know if she was swooning or just the heat and crush up at the front got to her, but the security guard ushering her through looked pretty fed up. When she got to the place where we were standing she genuinely fell to the floor and couldn't get up, and I was pretty much the only person who bothered to try and help her get out of that hell hole. Everyone else just seemed annoyed and some even kept trying to push past her.
Finally, the lack of sense you need to possess to try and push to the front when there's literally no space to fill is unbelievable but rife in the audiences of many events. Sigh.
Anyway, that's enough complaining, I'll finish up with the handful of photos I managed to get considering I allow myself only a few clicks for each artist.
|For some reason, video had a lower exposure, so I tended to film the fashion walks.|
I didn't mean to just rant for a whole post but I guess that's all I could remember. Girls Day were adorable but also clearly very popular because I definitely couldn't see for selfie sticks and mobile phones, compared to some of the other acts. Then again, their performance was far more slick and appealing than the others, too. It's funny, you really can see the difference in quality between groups at shows like this. That's not to say that the others are bad, but some are definitely stronger than others.