Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a gig by Columbia University’s band ‘Talent Complex’ (개성공단) that our very own U-KISS’s AJ is a part of. This was AJ’s second time performing with the band, since the gig from December 2015 was cancelled at the last minute. Brad and I caught a taxi up the Upper West Side and walked through the Columbia campus to the Union Theological Seminary, where the gig was held. I think there were only a couple of KISSmes there, counting myself (does Brad even count? :P).
With the concert starting at 8PM, we arrived at 7:40 to try and get some good seats. As soon as we walked in AJ recognised us from the previously cancelled gig and thanked us for coming. We had a nice chat before he was whisked away for a final sound check for the performance. The band is quite large as it has 4 main vocals (3 gals & AJ) as well as band members who alternate between instruments and singing too. I was able to chat to a few of the band members throughout and they are super lovely. They’re very aware AJ’s k-pop power and there’s always fans who attend these gigs. With that said, most of the audience were still classmates or from the Korean society at Columbia.
Even though 90% of the audience were Korean, some of the band members typed up an English script of the gig and passed them out the non-Korean speaking attendees. The gig followed the format of “The Starry Night” radio on MBC FM4U, with a DJ in the background leading the show, stories (in this case, of college students) being read out, followed by songs relating to those “stories”. It was almost a parody, with all the songs being performed by the band.
- IU – Hey (performed by female vocalists)
- SES – Just A Feeling x Bumkey – Attraction Mash Up (performed by female vocalists)
- Leessang – Let’s Meet Now (performed by AJ)
- Rumble Fish – A Lucky Day (performed by female vocalists)
- Gummy – Memory Loss (performed by female vocalist)
- Stacie Orricio – Stuck (performed by female vocalist)
- Big Bang – It’s You (performed by female vocalists)
- Daft Punk – Get Lucky (performed by female vocalists)
- Brown Eyed Soul – Like The Wind (performed by female vocalists, featuring AJ)
- You Must Be Fine (performed by AJ) — I think this is an original song. If not, I have no idea who the artist is.
- Busker Busker – Bus Stop (performed by male vocalists)
- Cheeze – Mango (performed by female & male vocalists)
- Rain Check (original from Talent Complex; performed by female & male vocalists)
- ENCORE 1: Mamamoo – Um Ah Oh Yeah (performed by female vocalists, featuring AJ)
- ENCORE 2: 2NE1 – Fire (this was not really an encore, more like they were trolling us)
The intimate gig kicked off with the band’s leader, Marvin, introducing the 9-member band to the small audience. During each song AJ wasn’t featured in, he was chilling on the side enjoying the music and also in charge of the “stage lights”. He basically turned them on and off at the start and end of each performance. The hall wasn’t really designed for a concert/gig type of event. It’s more like a hall where people are presented with awards or something. It was very old, which is why all the footage and photos are poorly lit. (Side note: After the concert, I asked AJ jokingly if the dim lights were a precaution used to stop people filming him. He laughed and basically said the lighting is just bad in this venue.) Anyway because of his lighting operator role, I wasn’t able to get many good pictures of him.
Each performance by AJ was a totally delightful experience. I haven’t seen him performing in-person in three years, so it was very refreshing. He was so energetic and has an undeniable stage presence. But that means it was super hard to photograph him, and in combination with the shitty hall lights most of my pictures ended up like this.
What a beautiful blur.
Even though it turned out this way, I’m grateful to be able to snap a couple of shots of AJ. After the concert ended, Brad and I said our goodbyes to AJ. He gave me a hug (which I always feel weird about), and tried to give Brad a hug. Brad, trying to preserve his manliness, refused and opted for a handshake. AJ said he was being ~too cool~ and laughed. He was very happy and grateful to have fans supporting him at a small events like this.
I’ve uploaded the videos I shot to Rocketboxx’s YouTube account below. Any fancams you see that aren’t focused on AJ is a result of Brad’s handy work. He didn’t really understand why he needed to film AJ whilst he was doing nothing and someone else was singing. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about that.
I really hope to AJ perform more in NYC soon. ;)