Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms

Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms

Two months ago, I would have asked the same question – “Who are BTS?” And yet a short while later, I am a huge fan, and well down the rabbit-hole of listening to, viewing, reading about, and absorbing the many, many facets of this powerhouse group – from music; to music videos with complex choreographies; to live vlogs, interviews, and fan videos; to fictional universe storylines and the connected webcomic; to reality TV shows; to solo projects; to unique cultural aspects; to live performances; to merchandise; to social media interactions and the online presence of their devoted fans, affectionately known as A.R.M.Y. 

What. The Heck. Happened??

 Simply put, I saw videos of their live performances on Saturday Night Live, and that was all it took. On April 13, 2019, BTS made history as SNL’s first K-pop musical guest. They performed two of their songs live: “Boy with Luv (feat. Halsey)”

[the peppy-sweet pop single from their latest album, Map of the Soul: Persona; and “MIC Drop”

 a more driven and aggressive hip-hop number that came out in 2017. For both acts, while singing they danced in crisply coordinated and charismatic choreographies. The performances exuded a mesmerizing group energy and yet also showcased individual talent strengths and personalities of each member, a magnetic combination that (along with their stunning K-pop idol good looks) is one of the many reasons this group has an insanely large and dedicated fan group.

Immediately after seeing SNL, I found myself seeking out and listening to their music, and somehow discovering that they were going to be doing a live performance very soon and conveniently close to my childhood home in New Jersey, a reasonable distance to travel from D.C. – and one of only three U.S. appearance locations on a limited six-date U.S. tour. Of course, I recognized that this opportunity might not come around so easily again and curiosity got the better of me – were there any tickets left? Oh look, there were – and they were hella expensive; but not quite expensive enough to deter me from purchasing – which I did. But hey – if I spend that much money to attend a concert, let me tell you, when I get there I want to know the music and what to expect well enough to enjoy it.  Continue reading “Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms”

Beat JENeration #010: Liz Phair

Beat JENeration #010: Liz Phair

I love Liz Phair. That has always been true, but last Monday, I was reminded, again, how much.

Currently, Liz Phair’s in the middle of her Amps on the Lawn tour and let me tell you, she looks great. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performer look so happy on stage ever. She sounded better than I remember too. Earlier shows — I’m thinking primarily her Whitechocolatespaceegg tour stop at SDSU’s Montezuma Hall (the internet tells me it was 1998) — was a little uncomfortable. Well, she seemed uncomfortable and I remember feeling bad about it.

But I still loved her. 

My favorite time seeing her was in 1994 or 95 in Chicago at Bub City (the old location on Weed St) while she was eating BBQ with her parents. Two tables over, I was too dumbfounded by breathing her same air to speak. I would later see her at Lounge Ax and Delilah’s just being a civilian and I never once even attempted to make eye contact. Aside from being raised near enough to LA to never bother celebrities, I’m also a firm believer that we mere mortals should never speak to deities. She’s a goddess.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #010: Liz Phair”

Beat JENeration #007: So, there’s this thing called Australian Pink Floyd

Beat JENeration #007: So, there’s this thing called Australian Pink Floyd

Last night I ventured out to Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa. This is where all the Broadway tours stop in Orange County. I recently saw Liza Minelli here. Eddie Izzard. Misty Copeland dances on this stage for American Ballet Theatre often. Plush red velvety seats for almost 3000 asses, it’s civilized for sure — not that it stops men from attending in shorts and flip flops most nights. But last night was, um, special, different, odd. Last night perplexed me, quite frankly, and I think I need you all to help me figure it out.

There’s this thing called Australian Pink FloydI love pretty much all things Australian. I’ve been there and the place holds up to its hype. Not only do they have koalas, kangaroos, Olivia Newton-John, Hugh Jackman, and Paul Kelly (essentially their Bob Dylan, but he can actually sing well), but they are home to the best dessert ever, the Lambington,  So, I’m always cool with Aussies as a general rule. 

Pink Floyd, on the other hand, hmmm… I went to a typical American high school and then matriculated to a party university. The Wall was rented many a night from Tower’s cult movies section (a young Bob Geldof, eye brows or no, was intriguing) and I owned Dark Side of the Moon to cue up with Wizard of Oz. But, as I wasn’t a stoner myself, I think I missed a lot of the finer points of Pink Floyd aside from the entry level hits – “Comfortably Numb,” “Wish You Were Here,” and…well, actually, if I’m being totally honest I just know The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon, “Wish You Were Here,” and I thought I knew “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” but only the radio cut, which I’ll get to later. Fake fan…I’ll accept that, though I would never use the word fan. I did, however, see Pink Floyd live once at Jack Murphy Stadium. This guy, Craig, who I knew from the BBS Board, Anarchy X gave me a ticket — probably because he felt bad for telling mutual friends he slept with me, when he most certainly did not — and well, he thought I was a fan, but he, as I already established, had a problem with the truth. Point? Pink Floyd’s okay by me.   Continue reading “Beat JENeration #007: So, there’s this thing called Australian Pink Floyd”