The phrase “painting the town red” had never been literal until the 13th of October 2018 when South Korean boy group iKON paid us another visit with their CONTINUE Tour. Organised by Macpiepro, the concert was held at Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam—a bigger venue than their last. A total of 7,000 fans attended the event, proving how strong the fan base is here.
The group’s last visit was in 2016, freshly after the group had just made their debut. This time however, there was expectation built since they traded their boyish charms for a more mature look. Made up of 7 members – B.I., Jae, DK, Bobby, Song, Ju-Ne, and Chanwoo were the subject of Malaysian iKONICs’ adoration when they announced their 2nd tour here.
Formed under YG Entertainment, iKON was a miracle group for many. Being the losing team on survival show “WIN: Who Is Next?”—where label mates WINNER debuted as champions—it seemed as if all hope was lost for the boys. However there was a surprise in store for them as both teams ended up debuting in 2015, despite the results. Garnering a decent amount of hype, the group caught the attention of many early on with their hip hop sound that was reminiscent of G-Dragon. Their rap line, consisting of leader B.I. and Bobby, had already established quite a name for themselves in the scene. After winning on the rapping survival programme, “Show Me The Money”, all eyes were on YG’s new hip-hop group.
Draped in various shades of crimson, iKONICS filled Stadium Malawati from early as 9am in order to secure the best spot for viewing their oppas. “I made sure to line up early because I was afraid of it running out of stock,” explained Ka Mun, an iKONIC clad in red who clutched her KONbat (iKON’s official light stick) adoringly. “And I can’t go for the concert without it!” She said with a laugh, waving it in glee.
The pride of K-pop groups come when they see their fans holding their light sticks — and Malaysian iKONICs weren’t about to let them down. Even before the concert started, it was hard to miss the glow of red coming from the light sticks that were already on. Fans screamed when they heard Ju-Ne singing along to the tunes that were being played, all the way from behind the stage. Excitement was in the air, for both parties involved. At 6:10pm when the lights went down, all that was audible were screams and cheers when the bombastic intro of “Bling Bling” played. All 7 members emerged in sparkling cherry suit jackets, handsome as ever, as they began their first number.
iKON doesn’t disappoint when it comes to delivering high energy, song after song. The crowd was in for a treat of fireworks, streamers and even fire flares. It’s hard not to stay pumped when tracks like “Sinosijak” and the iconic “Rhythm Ta” were blaring from the speakers, making everyone bop their heads to the hip-hop dance tracks. They took a break to introduce themselves in English individually, with American-raised Bobby taking the lead. The boys made sure to ask the fans to be safe while enjoying the concert, which gained them choruses of ‘awww’s. The chatter turned into talks of holidays, where Jae mentioned, “I heard the night view of Kuala Lumpur is amazing.” With that segue, the relaxing “Cocktail” began playing accompanied with visuals of a beach getaway.
B.I. and Bobby then took the stage, explaining the meaning behind their latest song, “Goodbye Road”. The pair even played a game with the crowd, dividing the stadium into groups to see who could sing louder. When Bobby lost and had to do aegyo (acting in a cute manner), he embarrassedly ran off with B.I. chasing after him.
This signalled the beginning of solo stages, with the vocal line (consisting of Ju-Ne, Jae, DK, Song and Chanwoo) showcasing their strengths with the tender “Perfect”. It was in this performance that we could truly hear the hidden talents of the group, as the vocals are often saturated amongst loud beat drops and auto-tune. Ju-Ne’s naturally raspy voice enhanced the song, crooning along to the ballad like it was his second nature.
However all traces of nostalgia and romance were removed for the hard hitting “One and Only”. Bathed in red lights, B.I. sits on a throne in a carefree fashion—oozing royalty. After a flawless execution of the song, Bobby took the stage for his solo track—“HOLUP!”. With his fast paced delivery being the wow factor of the track, the man did not disappoint with his performance. The pair was reunited for the classic “Anthem” which had the entire stadium chanting along to the addictive intro of “iKON is coming to town”. The rest of members emerged from below the stage to join them towards the end, adding to the hype of song before launching into the equally powerful “B-DAY”.
They toned things down with their soothing tracks of “My Type”, “Rubber Band”, “Best Friend” and “Everything” which was overflowing with charm. Even though they were famed for their hip-hop image, iKON proves to be versatile by being able to flawlessly pull off endearing concepts as well. But one does not simply speak of their slower songs without mentioning the legendary “Love Scenario”. The song that broke the charts and became the song that even kindergarteners were avidly singing along to; the entire stadium sang their hearts out to the anthem of the year.
The boys took a break to interact with the crowd once more, further explaining about their latest track. “B.I. wrote the song…but I sang it very well!” joked Jae, gaining a couple of laughs from the adoring fans. DK even showed a little sneak peak of the choreo, teasing the crowd of what to expect. It was then that they announced that Malaysian iKONICs were in for a surprise as they were going to perform “Goodbye Road” for the first time live in a concert. After the emotional number, they were back at it again with the sexy dance track “Killing Me” which showcased their dancing skills in the fast paced beat drop. They then transitioned into the rock track, “Freedom”, where once again Ju-Ne fully utilised his deep voice for.
As they edged towards the last song of the night, the slow “Just For You”, Malaysian iKONICs wished B.I. many happy returns of the day. Bobby was in awe hearing the stadium sing ‘Happy birthday’ in Korean—noting how even though they were of different cultures, the fans were willing to learn it for them. With deep appreciation for their fans, iKON disappeared backstage to prepare for their encore stages, with began with another round of “Love Scenario”.
The surprises didn’t stop as they performed another never before seen stages, “Adore You” and “Don’t Let Me Know”, which are both off their new EP. And just when fans thought it couldn’t get any better, the pulsating beat of “Dumb and Dumber” began ringing through the stadium. Everyone was on their feet, jumping along in an addictive haze to the tune. Even though it was the final performance, there were no sorrows as both iKON and iKONICs let loose to the music.
Overall, iKON is definitely a group worth checking out if one has a preference for gritty hip-hop dance tracks. It is in these performances that they truly shine and exude a strong ‘YG’ flavour. However, fret not if it is not up your alley as they do do more mellow choices. The boys of iKON won’t let you go that easily—with their overflowing charms and charisma; it’s hard not to fall in love.
Review by Leyasheena Panicker.