From LA Times:
G-Dragon, Teen Top and B1A4 make K-pop’s next moves at KCON
Korean pop has its own term, sasaeng, to describe the underground teen-idol culture’s more extreme forms of creepy devotion, which can be measured on the tear-streaked faces of fans.
But now that K-pop has crossed over into America, where top acts such as G-Dragon and Girls’ Generation have major-label record deals, it seems fair to expect the genre’s arena shows to get by on more than sasaeng fever alone. On Saturday, opening night of the South Korean pop-culture extravaganza KCON at a crowded Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the lineup featuring mostly sweet-and-scrubbed-up boy-band acts such as B1A4, Teen Top and Vixx (with the saltier rapper G-Dragon headlining) followed a similar — and very safe — pattern.
Acts that have won U.S. audiences with rousing high-gloss music videos were still figuring out how to hold a big stage.
Some may argue that they don’t need to — that the communal fun, shared dance moves and web of celebrity gossip that drive K-pop are enough. But watching KCON unfold, one couldn’t help but feel that K-pop still needs a way to meet American expectations for live shows.
(Review on other artists. See full article »)
G-Dragon is K-pop’s most significant figure, as far as the genre’s Western ambitions are concerned. After rising in the boy band BIGBANG, he transitioned to a solo career that has straddled American hip-hop, K-pop and electronic dance music. At last last year’s KCON, he performed with rapper Missy Elliott; he’s since cut singles with electronica producers Skrillex and Diplo.
He’s the hope for K-pop on U.S. radio. G-Dragon’s electro-rap singles such as “One of a Kind” and “Crayon” are minimalist and fiery and absolutely belong at festivals like Hard Summer.
His set at this year’s KCON was a bit pop-centric, but his visual aesthetic was perfect. (His dancers wore patches from the punk band GBH, and he looked to be wearing a promo T-shirt from the ’90s flick “Waiting to Exhale.”) G-Dragon could be the pivot, the K-pop person who stops being so nice and starts being truly challenging.
For the genre’s second wave in America, that would be a great place to start.
(Via bigbangupdates. Thanks RingaLingaYB for the tip!)