ADOY, the Hongdae-based genre-bending indie band, showed up and showed out for the second stop of their first-ever North American at the intimate (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City’s iconic Greenwich Village neighborhood. After COVID-19 forced the majority of the tour dates to be canceled, the show was a welcome opportunity for longtime fans and casual attendees alike to be immersed in dreamy synths, melodic guitar riffs, and wistful vocals for an unforgettable night courtesy of members Juhwan (lead vocals, guitar), Geunchang (drums), Zee (synths) and Dayoung (bass).
Kicking off the night was New Jersey-born, New York-based songwriter Evan Wright. Accompanied by his band, Wright set the vibe with songs from his debut full-length album, Sound From Out the Window. Starting with the melancholic album opener, “People,” Wright’s soft, old-fashioned croon against modern synths immediately engaged the audience. Throughout his set, Wright melded classic acoustics with a newer, electronic twist – laying the foundation for ADOY to take the stage with their own distinct, decade-spanning sound.
Bathed in red, purple, and pink spotlights, Dayoung, Geunchang, Zee, and touring guitarist Jarry took the audience into an otherworldly, synth-heavy intro that crescendoed to build anticipation, then tapered off into a pause just short enough to set the scene for Juhwan to run onstage to excited cheers for a magnetic performance of “I Just Can’t Forget Her.”
The chill, near-supernatural energy of the intro breathed a sense of awe across the room as the band kicked it back to reality with the lush, lighter blend of bass and synths. As the song closed out, Juhwan shifted into a bouncier vibe, encouraging the crowd to put their hands up and clap as the band transitioned into the faster-paced “San Francisco.”
Taking a break in between songs, Juhwan took a moment to introduce the band to the Manhattanite audience, reading his prepared English greetings from his phone.
“We are so happy to be here for our first time in the U.S.,” he said to cheers of support from the crowd. “I hope we can make a great four months together.”
The crowd was clearly smitten with the personal connection, evidenced by the whoops and cheers that followed every time Juhwan paused during his opening statements, resulting in soft smiles from the entire band. Closing his opening statements, Juhwan then introduced “Wonder,” a fan favorite recently covered by TOMORROW X TOGETHER’s Beomgyu. From there, the band moved into another viral hit, “Simply,” a subdued and romantic track that radiated a sense of comfort. Next up was, “Pool,” a slightly more upbeat song with tropical vibes that brought the crowd into soft sways and joyful bops reminiscent of a summer day. The harmonic reverb and peaceful auras of each song tied the section of the set together and captured the audience with a nostalgia for love gone by.
“Since COVID, many musicians have had a hard time, and so have we,” Juhwan said, slightly forlorn as he read from additional notes on his phone in another interlude. “A lot of things have happened to us as well before we came here. Still, I’m very thankful to be able to perform in front of you like this.”
The message resonated with a city that had seen the effects of the pandemic firsthand and is continuing to recover and regain its footing. The audience responded with cheers and even a couple of shouts of mutual gratitude to the band. With the acknowledgment of the pandemic out of the way, the band switched to a more lively mood, letting showgoers lose themselves to the tune of “Antihero” from the band’s latest EP her.
Zee took the mic next, giving the audience a formal introduction to ADOY’s members and sharing his own personal remarks. “It’s an honor for us to really be here. I thought the tour would be canceled because of COVID, but thankfully some venues allowed us to reschedule so we’re really grateful,” he told fans.
“I honestly expected, like, I was scared if there were less than twenty people,” he continued, provoking some laughter from the crowd, which stretched from the stage all the way to the bar in the back. “But this turnout is amazing. Thank you so much for coming.”
With the lightened, more optimistic mood across the venue, ADOY transitioned into “Ugly” for the last half of their set. Juhwan then picked up his own guitar for the next song, “Laika,” featuring a guitar solo by Jarry that earned impressed head nods from attendees. Geunchang then led the band into the relaxed track, “Runner’s High” with a steady drum intro. In the interlude following, Juhwan scrapped English and switched to his native Korean, getting to know the attendees and earning support from them whether they understood Korean or not..
At this point of the show, attendees were fully enamored by Juhwan’s personality and the band’s strong performance and not wanting the night to end. As he engaged with the audience, Juhwan announced that they were at their last two songs. Responding to the sad shouts from attendees, and teeing up the emotional “Saint,” he said, “We hope to see you again someday, somewhere.”
For the night’s finale in “Don’t Stop,” Juhwan showed off the more powerful side of his vocal range, belting soulful acapella “whoas” into the mic. After the first riff, he moved to each side of the stage and instructed the spectators there to repeat the tune back, then walked back to center stage and motioned for the entire venue to chorus the “whoas” together. Once the audience mastered the tune, the band jumped into the hopeful song in full force. With the room’s joyful energy at its peak, audience members jumped and danced around the floor. Couples, friends, and solo concertgoers alike moved to the beat without worry or care in the world.
As the show came to a roaring end, the audience happily chanted for “one more song,” to which Zee replied with a laugh that they actually didn’t have one. But he promised that ADOY would certainly be back to New York in the future. As the band took their last bow and attendees began to take their leave, it was apparent that ADOY made a lasting impression. Regardless of whether attendees were longtime fans or just music lovers in the neighborhood, that ADOY was undoubtedly pure, good vibes – evident in the excitement pouring from the venue as LPR attendees filed out onto Bleecker Street.
The show was a welcome refresh from the hustle and bustle of the city. ADOY can be rest assured that New York City will be anticipating their return.