“Stray Kids Everywhere All Around The World,” shouted fans in the Pasadena Convention Center on Friday May 17 as they waited for rising rookie boy group, Stray Kids, to take the stage in their first ever stop to Los Angeles for their stateside UNVEIL Tour “I Am…” Since their debut last year, the nine members, Bang Chan, Woojin, Lee Know, Hyunjin, Changbin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N., affectionately call their fans, “Stay,” for they are the reason behind why Stray Kids stay and don’t stray. The concert powered by SubKulture Entertainment explored the group’s five albums including ‘Mixtape,’ ‘I Am Not,’ ‘I Am Who,’ ‘I Am You‘ and their most recent album, ‘Clé 1: Miroh.’ Through their name and discography, Stray Kids have realized that they cannot fit into society’s constraints. Through their career, they embarked on a journey to figure out who they are as individuals.
The concert, which is part of their self-exploration, began with four high-energy songs, “Hellevator,” “Grrr,” “Awaken,” and “District 9,” their debut song. Following the lively opening, the nine members spoke, starting with their Australian leader, Bang Chan. It quickly became apparent that even through the intense anger felt in their early tracks, they still held a boyish allure that was impossible to not love. Throughout the introductory ment, the members asked if the Stay in attendance were okay, and encouraged them to scream their loudest. While other members spoke, Han engaged with the front-row fans, eagerly waving to them and making faces, something he did periodically throughout the show. Felix did the same, but was more subdued and slightly flirty with his small waves and smiles as he held eye contact with those in the front. Bang Chan most notably encouraged all of the Stay to plunge into a journey of self-discovery with Stray Kids by first looking at themselves in the “Mirror.” The members fought with their own reflections in a mirror on stage while trying to understand who they were not.
One could argue that the ments and performances lasted the same amount of time as it was clear that Stray Kids put a focus on interacting with their fans, which is part of who they are as individuals and as a group. They explained that they read Stay’s fan letters and online messages, and Bang Chan noted one fan who overcame obstacles after listening to their music. That fan is likely not the sole Stay to feel that way. Changbin, one of the five members who spoke English, encouraged the fans to ignore other people while on their journeys, for it is important to go at their own pace. Those words led into the liberating anthem that was “My Pace” before which the nonet encouraged the audience to sing “Na Na Na Na Na Na.” Much to the fans’ pleasure, main dancer Hyunjin delivered body rolls during a slow section.
Stay have seen the maturation of this group since pre-debut on their reality survival show, Stray Kids, created by JYP Entertainment and MNET. Through the trials that they went through on the show as well as through their current self-contemplation, Stay have been by their side. Fans peppered the convention center throughout the ments with “I love you” and words of encouragement while the members’ goofy, awkward, and charming personalities glowed in interactions with the crowd. Stay could not get enough of Felix saying, “Stay,” in his alluring deep voice. Lee Know did nine push ups flashing finger hearts in between each one. Maknae I.N. ripped off his jacket to say “I love you.” Bang Chan reiterated that the group itself is trying to find out who they are and asked for Stay to support them along the way. The VCR following the final leg of the show continued to show the vulnerability the group possesses in showing their struggles from pre-debut to now.
After the completion of the I Am… series and through the ‘Clé 1: Miroh’ comeback, Stray Kids show more confidence in who they are, and the “Victory Song” choreography showcased just that through abrupt, chaotic movements with flashes of chiseled abs from Han and Bang Chan. Oddly enough, the group was surprised at the energy Stay showed throughout the concert and exclaimed that the world needed to see their energy. Of course, they made sure to ask Stay again if they were okay, making the fans once again sing along and dance prior to the start of their latest title track, “Miroh.”
Although the group stated about three times that the concert was over before heading into another few tracks, the true ending ments from the members encouraged Stay to chase their dreams tirelessly and to not be afraid of the future because Stray Kids are by their side doing the same. The boys called the fans beautiful and the reason for why the rookie JYP group is so successful, which delighted every fan. With as much interaction and attention that the genuine, youthful, and awkwardly endearing Stray Kids give to their fans, it makes sense why Stay will make Stray Kids stay for a very long time.