Exclusive Review: The Bright Future Of K-Pop Confirmed With Stray Kids Concert In London
Eftychia LianeriKpopmap Contributor
Stray Kids debuted back in 2018, swept the Rookie awards of that year and are rightfully considered by many one of the most promising K-Pop groups.
Formed by the entertainment powerhouse, JYP, it is not a surprise that the nine members of the band gained traction almost instantly, even before debut. However, their company is not the only reason for their success. With a little over a year of activities, the members of Stray Kids have proven with their impressively large discography, that they have something unique to offer, producing and writing lyrics for their songs by themselves almost exclusively.
Constantly working on new music and in between music releases Stray Kids wanted to showcase their music and test it against a live audience on a worldwide scale so they emerged into their first world tour “I am…”.
After Asia, Australia and South America, Stray Kids headed to Europe and commenced this leg of the tour on the 28th of June in London. The O2 Academy Brixton was Sold Out, an impressive achievement for a group that is still considered rookies. The lines of fans were circling a whole block, patiently waiting to finally see the people they so dearly idolise.
The excitement of the adoring fans was so intense that even passerby had to stop and ask about the performers. Some of them, familiar with other K-Pop artists, were so intrigued that they promised to check them out later. Soon it was time to enter the venue, thanks to the security and MyMusicTaste staff this process was incident-free and smooth.
The show started with their first digital single ‘Hellevator’ and the set list was almost in chronological order from the older songs they released to the newest. The nine members, (WooJin, Bang Chan, Lee Know, ChangBin, HyunJin, Han, Felix, SeungMin, I.N) are in their late teens and early twenties; their young age is reflected not only in their fresh faces but also their music. Their sound and lyrics convey messages that most fans their age can relate to. The songs like ‘NOT!’ and ‘Awaken’, written by the member for their first EP, were questioning their place in this world and the industry while they tried to discover their own identity as they matured into young adults.
Stray Kids are exploring the world introspectively and expressing it through their lyrics in a quite revolutionary way. Some of their more impactful songs for example ‘My Pace’ speak about trying to break traditional values and stereotypes, how they fit into the system, their dreams for the future, their struggles as young artists and the pressures they face.
During the first part of the show, their performances were strong and powerful but during the second part, they were simply marvelous! The crowds were going completely wild and with catchy songs such as ‘Victory Song’ and ‘Miroh’, even the uninitiated would find themselves rocking to the infectious rhythmical sounds. These songs emitted feelings of confident, aggressiveness and ambition. It was almost like witnessing Stray Kids grow up through their music, upping their production, while continuously delivering songs with messages that felt personal to the members.
Musically their sound is still not 100% defined, their songs are a very balanced mixture of rock, hip-hop and dance/electronic/EDM sounds. It was quite apparent that delivering powerful and energetic tracks is what Stray Kids can do best. With a surprisingly high number of members having very strong rapping skills as well as impressive robust vocals, dynamic songs is where I could see them excel in the future.
The most impressive performance of the night came from the song ‘Who?’ a very artistic interpretation of the lyrics through staging and dance with a frame representing a mirror and the members masterfully playing with the concept of their reflection. Stray Kids appear to be in top form, dancing enthusiastically, being hyper and very interactive during the Ment sections of the show. Fresh with sometimes childlike innocence, the nine guys looked like they were impressed and inspired by the enthusiasm of the fans, cheering them non stop, shouting their names, singing along the lyrics and waving their bright lightsticks illuminating the venue with a light blue tint.
Standing on the brink of adulthood Stray Kids might not be fully developed performers yet but from witnessing their show in London it is very apparent that they are diamonds in the rough. All the elements are there, the talent, the creativity, the passion and the support from the fans. If they stay on the right track the future of K-Pop will be bright with Stray Kids dominating the genre.