Braving the wind, rain, and cold of a blustery Chicago evening in late October, fans of the Planetarium Records label congregated at the city’s Logan Square Auditorium, to spend an evening with five of South Korea’s most talented R&B artists and producers.
Stepping into the open ballroom, it’s immediately evident that this show is going to be different. Fans of all ages are huddled around the stage at the far end of the room, the excited energy they exude as they wait for the show, permeates the air. Listening to the chatter and laughter that rumbles through the room, it’s immediately clear that something great is about to go down.
As the house lights dim, the excited rumble of the fans crescendos into an enthusiastic roar as the first artist of the night takes the stage. With no introduction or words of welcome, the talented young singer, songwriter, and producer, Gaho opens the night with an impressive set that includes “Going On,” “Fly,” “Pink Walk,” and “Stay Here.” Capturing the full attention of the crowd, the instant he walked on stage, Gaho sets the tone of the entire evening with his impressive vocals and killer smiles. Between songs he takes a moment to welcome fans and thank them for their love and support, doling out overwhelming doses of fan service as he responds to the random shouts of “I love you” that echos throughout the room.
Next to take the stage is the equally loved and equally talented vocalist, songwriter, and composer, June, and his welcome is no less warm than his predecessors. Opening his set with “Serenade,” the crowd falls easily into the rhythm of this next set, singing and swaying along to favorites like “Gas Station,” “For,” and “Tonight.” With such sweet vocals, and easy rhythms, it’s impossible to keep from being moved by the music. There’s such soul and emotion conveyed in each song, it’s easy to let yourself be carried away by the music. The intermittent moments of fan service and cute “I love you too”s only serve to make this second set even more memorable than it already was.
By the time Jung Jinwoo takes the stage, it’s safe to say that every heart in the room is in danger. The moment this incredible singer, songwriter, composer, and producer settles into his opening number, “Satellite,” it’s clear that if there’s no hope left for those who may have been trying to resist the pull of the music. This is the point in the evening where those who have come with no real devotion to these artists have crossed over into the realm of the newly converted fan. Treating the audience to something special, Jung Jinwoo announces his next song will be one they’ve never heard before, as it has yet to be released, and the audience responds with all the enthusiasm of a crowd ten times its size. Wooing fans and stealing hearts, Jung Jinwoo glides effortlessly through the rest of his set, which included “One Way” and the obviously loved, “She’s Got Everything.”
Leaving the crowd on such an emotional high, it’s hard to imagine how any artist will be able to successfully carry that energy over into the next set but for Villain, it’s not a problem at all. Greeting fans with “Fairy,” the supremely talented singer, songwriter, composer, and producer had no problem capturing both the attention and hearts of everyone in the room. Overwhelmingly charismatic and oozing with just the right amount of bad boy charm, Villain took fans on a roller coaster of emotions as he sauntered his way through a set that included “A Piece of Work,” “Manitto,” and “Luhvin It.” As his label mates did before him, Villain took time between songs to chat with the crowd and steal more hearts. At one point, he spotted a YouTube reactioner in the audience and took a moment to call the shocked fan, by name, and then proceeded to tell him that he had enjoyed his video immensely and went on to thank him for his support. It was an unexpected moment but one that drew an overly sweet “Awww!” from the crowd. Needless to say, a lot of hearts were swayed in this set alone.
But the night was far from over and the next artist wasn’t about to let his labelmates claim every heart in the room. Opening his set with “Humble,” the rapper and songwriter, Moti, had no problem keeping the energy in the room high and the hearts of his fans happy. Following in Jung Jinwoo’s footsteps, Moti also decided to treat the audience to a yet-to-be-released and the crowd went wild. “Blue” and “Go” were included in this final solo set and the crowd cheered in delight when June joined Moti during his performance of “Go.” Once again, words of gratitude and heaps of fan service were shared between songs, a fact that only fed the ever-heightening energy in the room.
To close the evening all five artists took the stage to delight fans with a set of group songs that included “Blah,” “Hocus Pocus,” “IGOHOLIC,” and “Glue.” With everybody’s favorites on stage at once, the crowd went absolutely wild. Singing and dancing to every song, fans had no problem conveying their love for this incredibly talented quintet of artists. Wrapping up the evening with silly antics, endless smiles, fanservice galore, and the obligatory end-of-the-show group photos, Gaho, June, Jung Jinwoo, Villain, and Moti left their fans with enough fond memories to last two lifetimes.
Written & Photographed by: Leah W.