BlackPink at the Los Angeles Forum

You heard it here first, ladies & gentlemen. Your local K-Pop fan of 10 years has finally attended her first K-Pop/BlackPink concert; what a shocker.

Lucky for me, I was able to fight off ticket prices of over $600 to see BlackPink. I’m sure the name of this group sounds familiar to a few individuals, but if you aren’t certain, I’ll explain.

BlackPink is a 4 member girl group in South Korea from the notorious, YG Entertainment. They began their debut as a group in 2016 with their hit song, “Boombayah.” The members include: Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa. What makes this group so unique, besides their girl crush concept, is where these girls are from.

Jisoo comes from South Korea, but the other 3 girls came from different areas. Though Jennie was born in Korea, she was raised in New Zealand. Rosé was born in New Zealand, but was raised in Australia. Lastly, Lisa was born & raised in Bangkok, Thailand, which makes her the first non-Korean K-Pop artist from YG Entertainment.

But enough about their background, let’s get to the fun part: the concert.

First of all, buying tickets for this concert made me feel like I was on fighting grounds with resale ticket sellers as they were trying to sell tickets in the highest level of The Forum for $600 dollars a seat. Like most people, I decided to wait it out…but not without complaining, of course. By the following week, I was able to snatch the cheapest tickets of $110 per seat, to which I was grateful I memorized my debit card number by heart.

Fast forward to last week April 17th, it was time for me to get ready. Like most fans, I had owned a BlackPink t-shirt and pin to show that I was part of the fandom known as Blinks.

The Official BlackPink light-stick with people entering the venue

One thing that most people won’t tell you is that K-Pop concerts use something called a light-stick for fans to interact with their idols. Now, this particular light-stick for BlackPink had an interesting feature. Besides the fact that this light-stick looks like a toy hammer, guess what; it squeaks like one too!

Side view of the Official BlackPink light-stick

As I go up the flights of what I like to call “cardio central”, I get to my seat in the middle row of nosebleeds. Being able to have my seat near the aisle was by far the luckiest thing in the world because I didn’t have to worry about bothering people to get out of the row and I had space to dance the whole time.

Before they set the stage, there were screens showing their music videos and blasting the songs to the fans to prepare them for their idols appearance. Not going to lie, hearing a collective scream of fan girls & boys really made me feel like I wasn’t at their level.

After exiting the concert, fans discover this small gem

By the time the concert began, I was excited to see what song they would play to start the night and lucky for me, it was one of their more well-known songs called, “DDU-DU DDU-DU.”

The rush of adrenaline was one thing, but it honestly felt like I was dreaming.

I’ve practically waited for this moment for 10 years and to finally be attending the concert for a group I enjoyed so much…you have no idea how much shock I was in. The peak of my night was hearing the 4 girls talk to the fans about how excited they were to perform in Los Angeles for the first time. Even though they performed at Coachella that previous weekend, they reassured fans they would sing every song.

Each one of them performed a solo act on stage to show their talents & creativity in front of us. Jisoo covered Zedd’s “Clarity”, Jennie sang her solo release, “Solo”, and Rosé sang a variety of songs from YG Entertainment’s past artists Taeyang & Park Bom. Though, the moment we were waiting for was Lisa’s dance solos which she danced her viral dance cover of Jason Derulo’s “Swalla”.

Of course, BlackPink sang all the songs from their newly released album, Kill This Love. With songs like, “Don’t Know What to Do,” “Kick It,” “Hope Not,” and “Kill This Love,” these girls performed with such professionalism, elegance, and vibrancy. By the end of the night, BlackPink ended the In Your Area Los Angeles Tour stop with the song, “As If It’s Your Last.” I personally didn’t want this night to end as I was enjoying myself so much. Luckily, BlackPink surprised us for an encore of their songs, “DDU-DU DDU-DU” & “Stay.” Though it didn’t make it any easier to prepare myself to go back to San Diego afterwards.

After their encore, the group takes a photo to commemorate this moment in Los Angeles

So, what’s my opinion & what’s my life like now after this concert? Honestly, it’s changed my life in the extent of post-concert depression of almost a week now.

One last photo to save on my phone and in my mind forever

But in all honesty, I felt like I was welcomed and treat respectfully by everyone at the concert. I was worried that I would have encountered fans who were boisterous or ignorant, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, I felt like I belonged in a sea filled with pink BlackPink light-sticks. This concert was a reminder as to why I loved K-Pop for so long.

Now that I have returned back to reality, I have plans for my next concert…but let’s just hope I can afford it first.

Written by: Sofia Gomez

Gothic Tropic at San Diego’s Lantern Street Festival

Gothic Tropic Frontwoman

Gothic Tropic’s Headlinging Punk Performance at San Diego’s Lantern Street Festival Rocked and Banged the Night Away.

It’s a cool 70 degrees at approximately 5:35 p.m. The sun is shining down on San Diego’s Lantern Street Festival at Liberty Station headlined by Los Angeles band Gothic Tropic. Opening act Pretty Polly gracefully takes the stage, kicking off the evening as festival attendees are checked-in and given their lanterns. An all ages event, the festival is home to dozens of food stands with lantern decorating station taking over the back of the courtyard. The show has only just begun.

As a crowd of over 5,000 cycled in throughout the cool evening, opening performances by Pretty Polly and BELLSAINT warmed up crowds who were already filled up with delicious food. The time is now 8:30 p.m., Gothic Tropic is slated to take the stage in a few moments. This is their first headline performance, ever. Which begs the question, who is Gothic Tropic?

Gothic Tropic is the indie pop band of Southern California you’ve never encountered.

It is the creation of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and Los Angeles native Cecilia Della Peruti. Della Peruti was recently chosen by Fender for their American Series Campaign, exemplifying the power she holds when a guitar is in her hands. Similar to what Prince’s band The Revolution was first known for, a guitar is a vessel for Della Peruti to express herself while putting a focus on the music instead of the artist.

Gothic Tropic’s debut album “Fast or Feast” was released on May 19, 2017 and has since established their name in Indie Rock and Pop. The quality of the debut shined a light on Della Peruti, being recognized by Beck and asked to join his touring band. Della Peruti stated that playing for Beck, “really elevated my understanding of what the gig is.” Della Peruti went on to
say:

“This artist is somebody I profoundly respect and admire and actually really look up to as a songwriter and an artist. Now I feel like I’m finally doing something right.”

Cecilia Della Peruti

Touring with Beck was an astounding achievement for the Gothic Tropic frontwoman…

But despite this, she still stays true to her methods. Humility, consistency, and transparency are the tools driving Della Peruti and Gothic Tropic to the top, at their own pace.

“Nothing’s changed in my approach or practices, but what informed me now watching him was how generous he is. And how easy-going and respectful of everyone an artist of that caliber can be.”

Cecilia Della Peruti

Fans are anticipating their next album, expected sometime before summer, and Della Peruti is as excited as the fans. “I’m really excited! I’m just so stoked.” said Gothic Tropic’s leading lady.
She is also working on a collaborative project called “Bloodthirsty” with Italian Composer Daniele Luppi and writer/producer Alex Goose.

“So it’s like punk as f*ck, but with like all this beautiful melody. And it’s very Italian, and I’m Italian!”

proudly declared by Della Peruti.

It’s now nine o’clock at the Lantern Street Festival. Gothic Tropic was supposed to be onstage 30 minutes ago.

Unfortunately, technical difficulties have been frustrating the band and the crew for the last hour. Eager to play, Della Peruti does a lap around the stage after showing a bit of frustration. The backing tracks are not coming through, making it difficult for the band to perform new songs, let alone any at all. The tracks are not coming in anytime soon.

“We’re a punk band tonight!” exclaimed Della Peruti as she ran on stage, signaling the band behind her.

The crowd watches.

The crowd has been ignorant to the technical difficulties up to this point; Soon, Peruti takes control of the crowd’s attention. “We’re Gothic Tropic, tonight it’s a punk show and we’re gonna play a new song called drunk on a rhythm.” Della Peruti shouted into the mic.

All the frustration is let out by her initial guitar strum; the headliners are here to rock the show. As the beautiful hand-decorated lanterns shone across liberty station, Gothic Tropic lit up the stage with their electric performance. Drummer Sheldon Reed was speechless after his first festival performance. Della Peruti melted faces of all ages with her masterful guitar solos
throughout. The transition of fan favorites from “Feed You To The Sharks” to “Your Soul” stole the ears of audience members. Closing out with their notable track “Stronger,” Della
Peruti’s exhilarating almost 3-minute guitar solo left the crowd cheering and Gothic Tropic’s frontwoman with nothing else to give the audience but a wave goodnight.

Written by: Alexis Camel

88Rising Music & Arts Festival at Los Angeles State Historic Park

This year marked the first ever 88Rising Music Festival: Head in the Clouds.” More importantly, this was the very first Asian-American music festival in North America.

With an attendance of 2,500 or so, 88Rising does not rival the big dogs such as Coachella or Lollapalooza, whose attendance is in the hundreds of thousands. However, this is not to say that the touring festival was not filled with an equal amount of passion. 

It was held at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, a fitting location considering the festival is a major milestone for Asian-Americans. 88Rising is a mass media company that covers all aspects of a musician’s life, from management and production to everything in between.

By representing artists such as Rich BrianKeith ApeHigher BrothersJoji, and more 88Rising is becoming more known and respected in the music industry. It is a one of a kind company that truly aims to support Asian artists and underrepresented people in music. In addition to their star-studded lineup, 88Rising brought out Anderson .Paak and MadeinTYO and had them perform some of their own original songs. L.A. natives DUCKWRTH and Dumbfoundead represented their city and introduced their fellow artists to their hometown (several of them had never been to Los Angeles). Nonetheless, all the artists had undeniable chemistry with one another.

The festival itself is very organized – especially considering it is the first of its kind.

There were the usual merchandise booths, eateries, and a second stage with local DJ’s dipping their toes into the pool of live performance. This festival was the very first stop on their tour across the nation, and hopefully the first of many more tours to come. A company with as much ambition and passion as 88Rising will grow exponentially as they add more and more artists to their unique label.

Review by: Eduardo Orozco
Photo by: Eduardo Orozco