AOMG is one of the most influential hip-hop labels in South Korea, and they sure as hell proved that point at our first concert to kick off 2019!
The Belasco Theater is a pretty good-sized venue with a massive first floor and a large balcony complete with bottle service VIP tables and a clear view of the stage below. It’s one of my favorite venues in Los Angeles and perfect for wild, raucous hip-hop shows. I drove up to the venue and found a line that not only wrapped around the building but wrapped around the city block! The crowd was enormous as more people continued to line up throughout the day into the evening. Girls in the front row told me they had started lining up at 6 PM the night before. If they did, that’s pure dedication! It’s also dangerous as hell in Downtown LA, but I’m not surprised. These fans were determined to get up front and center to see:
- Woo Won Jae – the dark and brooding new-comer who dominated ‘Show Me The Money 6‘, signed with AOMG and proceeded to drop some of the best emo hip-hop to date.
- Gray – the producer extraordinaire who has a voice like butter, a devilish grin and makes beats that brings some of the hottest party tracks around.
- Loco – the pure magical innocent wholesome awkward giant man-baby that in between being a homebody, drops everything from mainstream OST drama hits to hardcore new school party hip-hop tracks that can be heard in every Korean club.
- Simon D – Oh Simon. There’s something about a man who can yell “you got that bomb ass pussy” into a mic, his deep rumbling voice triggering nearly every person in a two-block radius to suddenly get wet. The industry was a sad place for over two years without this man, but he’s back now and all is right with the world.
With DJ Wegun on the ones and twos, we had a hell of a show complete with a huge set list, a massive video screen and smoke effects and some of the best hip-hop tracks released.
The crowd was packed in like little vienna sausages. Shoulder to shoulder, chest to back there was little room to even move. I’m talking wall to wall humans with pathways carved by security guards for emergency exits. People crammed around the back bar and the balcony full to the brim. It was so packed, press couldn’t access the pit. It was a hazard just trying, so yo girl got to shoot the show from the sound booth. Thank you, Belasco Theater and Proper Form for being accommodating!
The show started with DJ Wegun spinning a quick set of hip-hop to hype the already anticipatory crowd while they piled into the venue. The show started by tickling the feels of every concert goer as AOMG newcomer Woo Won Jae took to the stage, mic in hand. He performed such tracks as “Cash“, “Phone“, “Hashtag“, “Hate You“, and “Fence“.
He also brought out special guest Chloe Devita, who proceeded to steal the damn show with her intense hotness and fire voice.
Loco then took to the stage and the whole crowd just went pure bananas. I’m talking an already overly packed crowd crammed itself toward the stage, eliminating any space between bodies. At one point early on into his set, the entire audience swayed side to side like an overly excited tide pool. He had to cut the track, asking various members of the audience if they’re okay. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Is everybody okay? You okay?!” He made everyone take a few large steps back as the front row took a collective breath. His sweet, genuinely concerned face smiled in satisfaction as he continued. He performed “A.O.M.G“, “Movie Shoot“, “Too Much“, “Party Band“, and “Oppa“.
He talked about how he was happy to be back in LA before his enlistment, to the many cries of girls in the audience, then continued with “Still“, “Hold Me Tight“, and “It Takes Time“.
Gray was next up and when he stepped on stage … let’s just be real: he’s too fine to be hiding behind a production booth. He comes out looking impish in leather bondage pants and a butternut squash yellow sweater, touching fans hands as they hungrily reached for him.
Gray is a top-notch producer and is responsible for some of the biggest party bangers in Korea, but he also has a voice that tugs at the heart. He performed “Change“, “Dream Chaser“, “Summer Night“, “In My Head“, and “Dangerous” before Loco and eventually Woo Won Jae joined him back on stage. The trio performed with “Good“, “I’m Fine“, “Respect“, “Late Night“, and “Just Do It” before rounding it off with “We Are“.
Finally, the veteran stepped out on stage. It was dark, with simply him silhouetted against green light paneling, and then the classic starter “Simon Dominic” blasted as audience roared and churned to that infamous voice in the mic.
We went from classic to new school in a flash. He performed “Jung Jin Chul” from his newest album ‘Darkroom‘, which he sang in Korean and then in English, surprised as the crowd sang it back in both languages with no problem.
We then got a fire “Soju” remix that had me clutching my pearls from the sound booth, “Won & Only“, and “Money Don’t Lie“, after which he stopped and chatted about being 36 and too old to hold that 14-second “LIIIIIEEEEEEE” note, which he then nailed in demonstration to screaming fans. He finished off with “Bathtub” and, to my absolute delight, he performed G2’s “Comfortable“, on which he featured.
Simon D talked about stepping down from the co-CEO position of AOMG and performed “Me No Jay Park“, as well as that fantastic filthy remix of “Mommae” with that oh-so-famous line that could be heard and felt three concerts over. We were shook! And with that, the show ended.
But of course it didn’t really.
The encore was an all-out confetti-canon-exploding, smoke-machine-firing, bass-thumping good time! They performed “Upside Down” then rolled right into Loco’s “Thinkin’ About You“. We also got “Who You” as well, which had even me scream-singing the whole song to the hilarity of the sound guy on one side of me and DJ Pumkin on the other.
Not only that, but Simon D brought hometown hero Dumbfoundead, Rekstizzy, and the crew to perform his track “Hyung” live.
The building shook as everyone screamed and partied to the point of no return. I never thought that track could be so lit live! The night was topped off with a random stage appearance by Vic Mensa who partied hard with the guys during the finale.
And with that, it finally was over. There were so many people stuffed inside they practically spilled out the doors, onto the street, and directly into the LA hot dog vendors (danger dogs are the best hot dogs ever).
The Above Ordinary Tour absolutely rocked every stop it made and we were lucky enough to see the likes of Woo Won Jae, the newest AOMG member at his first US tour, and Loco just before his enlistment, which is in fact this week.
We won’t get another fire show like this for a while, but when AOMG comes back, I’ll just warn you now, you don’t want to miss it.
Thank you Proper Form for allowing Asian Junkie to participate in this event!