The line of fans waiting to be let into The Brooklyn Monarch for the tenth stop of Korean Canadian R&B artist JUNNY’s North American ‘blanc’ Tour was full of murmured excitement and anticipation. Stretching around the block, some fans (regardless of whether they had purchased a meet-and-greet VIP ticket or not) had arrived hours before the show was scheduled to start. The wait was worth it – tucked away in industrial East Williamsburg, fans, lovingly known as JUNNIVERSE, were treated to an intimately thrilling show that captivated attendees from start to finish.
Opening the night was special guest XENZU, a Chinese rapper and singer signed with Jackson Wang’s record label, TEAM WANG x RYCE Entertainment. Fresh from competing in the latest season of reality competition The Rap of China and a special guest appearance at KCON Los Angeles, XENZU hyped up the crowd with “One Life,” “Journey,” and “Copycat,” from her debut album Burn Book & Glow Up. In addition to performing songs from her album, XENZU showed off her confident, DGAF attitude with the soon-to-be-released single, “Jelly.” She finished with the party anthem, “Dom Pérignon,” heading into the crowd herself to dance with attendees. Most of the crowd was unfamiliar with XENZU at the start of her set – by the end, people at the barrier were asking her for her social media and when they could expect more of her music to drop on Spotify.
Next up was DJ Minjeong on the beat. She entered the stage quietly with no introduction, but her bass-heavy set took attendees by surprise. Launching into a house/club set that consisted of remixes of Korean artists like DPR, aespa, and NewJeans blended with American artists like Bruno Mars and Cardi B, Minjeong effortlessly set the tone for the rest of the night.
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When the venue lights suddenly dimmed at the same time Minjeong abruptly stopped, the audience, who was so completely immersed in dancing and vibing, were momentarily perplexed. It was soon clear that this was intentional as the stage lights went bright and JUNNY ran onstage to screams as he and Minjeong launched into “Color Me,” his retro-pop duet with CHUNG HA. Getting right into the flow, JUNNY established an immediate connection with attendees by shaking their hands and taking selfies and videos on the phones offered by JUNNIVERSE at the barricade.
As he sang, the screams of fans only got louder as JUNNY rolled up his sleeve to reveal his infamous arm tattoo and to accept a rose from a member of the audience during his rendition of “Obvious,” the second track off the tour’s namesake album. Surrounded by fans at all sides of the stage, JUNNY made sure to greet everyone. Climbing the sound system pillars to get as close to the crowd as possible, it was clear that he was going to make sure everyone was having fun and singing along.
Once JUNNY paused between songs to introduce himself, he was met with chants of his name. After thanking the hundreds of people in the crowd for coming (and laughing along when someone called out for him to “take off your shirt” when he commented on the heat inside the venue), JUNNY introduced “Not About You,” the sentimental title track from blanc. Instructing attendees to shout the lyrics, “But I ain’t talking ‘bout you,” during the chorus, fans diligently sang along during JUNNY’s acapella practice round and during the full song. Backed by retro synths courtesy of Minjeong, JUNNY’s adlibs and soulful riffs made the performance a standout.
Throughout the night, the moments that JUNNY addressed the crowd in between songs felt like personal conversations; every interaction was dripping with fondness and even a little flirtatiousness. He delivered the ultimate fan service whether it was wishing fans happy birthday, singing the chorus of fan-favorite “solo” upon request, or recording a video for a fan’s mother to ask that she not be mad at her daughter for coming to the show without permission.
“Brooklyn, I gotta do everything you want!” JUNNY said. Reining in the crowd back to his main set, JUNNY introduced “Mugshot,” self-described as “the perfect goodbye” for an ex.
The screams following the performance were deafening. “This is actually my fifth day in a row on tour today. And to be honest, I was pretty gassed up,” JUNNY said as he took a break to catch his breath and grab a towel. “But as soon as I saw you guys and as soon as I heard you in that green room, the fucking energy went up.”
Shortly after, a fan handed JUNNY a blown-up screenshot of a conversation they had with him on Instagram in 2020. They asked when he was coming to New York, to which he responded, “I wanna go…” After reading it, JUNNY replied with a smile: “It happened, it just fucking happened! This means so much to me, and you guys mean so much to me.” Dedicating the next song to his fans, JUNNY then transitioned into “AURA,” the hit collaboration with pH-1.
Next up was the highly-anticipated, “nostalgia,” a collaboration with GOT7’s Jay B. Showcasing the range of his vocals from saccharine to powerhouse, JUNNY also took the opportunity to briefly walk into the crowd. To the delight of JUNNIVERSE and Ahgase in attendance, JUNNY took a GOT7 lightstick handed to him by a fan and waved it as he sang.
JUNNY spoke with the audience a bit more, thanking them for welcoming his first-ever visit to New York. As a treat for fans, he sang the chorus of “By My Side” acapella, emphasizing his impressive falsetto before wading into the full, accompanied version. The song was clearly a beloved one – the sound of fans singing the words flawlessly nearly drowned out JUNNY’s own voice.
Inviting audience members to turn their phone flashlights on, JUNNY then set the scene for his hit single, “MOVIE.” This cheerful yet chill song paired with the brightness of the lights gave the venue a magical feel. He then threw it back to his earlier releases with the sensual and smooth songs, “Distance,” “Trust,” and “Say.” In the words of JUNNY himself, it was “full-on sexy mode,” accentuated by a few body rolls that had fans swooning.
Leaning into the club vibe and heavier bass, JUNNY then moved into energetic performances of “Zone” and “Feel That,” where he let loose and sprayed water into the crowd. Riding the intensity of the crowd’s excitement, JUNNY walked into the crowd again to jump into the fun and upbeat song, “For The Weekend” – perfect timing as the concert fell on a Thursday night.
For the last songs of the night, JUNNY brought fans back down to Earth with the heartfelt and sobering “OH!!” the last song on blanc. “This is very important to me, it’s a very special song,” he remarked. “It’s dedicated to you guys. If it’s your first time listening, please listen to the lyrics – it means a lot. And if you do know the song, please sing along with me.” Fans didn’t need to be told twice as they sang and put their hands up to the melody.
After “OH!!” JUNNY revealed that he had a secret song up his sleeve just for Brooklyn – “Get Ya!” a funk pop/hip-hop blend that had the audience dancing along.
To close his set, JUNNY expressed his gratitude with “Thank You,” an earnest track highlighting the fans who have been with him throughout his career. Tears could be seen among the audience as they sang, “Thank you for today / tomorrow, yesterday / every day and night” at the top of their lungs. After taking a group photo, JUNNY once again thanked the crowd, took a final bow, and left the stage.
But the JUNNIVERSE wasn’t ready to leave. Shouts for “one more song” filled The Monarch. As some attendees began to file out of the venue thinking that the show was over, suddenly JUNNY ran back onstage as he conceded to the request for a surprise encore. Fans who had left stampeded back inside when they realized. After talking with Minjeong, JUNNY began to sing “NEW GIRL,” a buoyant song that illustrated his velvety vocals as a final treat for attendees.
The connection made between JUNNY and Brooklyn attendees was so strong that he didn’t even leave the stage after finishing, and even as Minjeong and Monarch staffers began to clean up. He happily stayed behind for nearly twenty more minutes signing autographs, taking photos, and chatting with fans until he absolutely had to head back to the green room.
All in all, it was a uniquely personal and positive concert experience. Enamored by the performance, many waited behind in the hopes that JUNNY would come back out. The post-show buzz was real with attendees excitedly raving about the night as they walked down Meadow Street.
Though JUNNY’s first time in New York City was just a short visit, the city will be ready to welcome him back with open arms for a second, third, and hopefully, many more visits to come.