[Herald Review] Big names light up the stage at ‘Blue Spring Hip-hop Festa’

Rapper Loco performs at Blue Spring Festival (Courtesy of Blue Spring Festival)

As large-scale concerts return with the slow lifting of pandemic and social distancing rules across the country, abundant crowds filled the Jangchung Arena in Jung-gu, Seoul on Friday night as R&B performers and renowned hip-hop. took the stage for “Blue Spring Hip-hop Festa”.

The concert is an offshoot of the Blue Spring Festival, one of the country’s biggest music festivals, which takes place in a different city every year.

The first session was held this year under the theme “Hip-hop is One”, and various faces from global hip-hop agency AOMG’s roster created an unforgettable evening of hip-hop megahit performances.

Even before the event started, hundreds of fans from different regions gathered around the venue to enjoy the night. As the clock struck 5 p.m., eager onlookers dressed in the hip-hop style trending here — baggy T-shirts, baggy clothes, tank tops, sunglasses and shorts — entered the venue.

Dressed in white from head to toe, singer-songwriter ELO kicked off the electrifying evening with a 30-minute set. The excited crowd responded with cheers and applause – one of the things they’ve probably missed the most during the COVID-19 era.

Later, R&B artist Hoody took over to speed up the evening. The solo female actor’s performance blended her soulful vocals with various hip-hop genres, blanketing the stage in smooth R&B.

The thrill and energy intensified inside the indoor stadium in the 60th minute as Punchnello, winner of Mnet’s “Show Me The Money 8,” took to the stage. Along with his hits, he ended his set with a performance of “Back”, a track from the album “Demon Youth” which he released in 2021.

Rapper Coogie performs at Blue Spring Festival (Courtesy of Blue Spring Festival)

Rapper Coogie performs at Blue Spring Festival (Courtesy of Blue Spring Festival)

Singer-songwriter Meenoi came up next. She emerged as the stage fog lifted and opened her set with “Salang Salang,” the title track from her debut LP, “In My Room,” released last year.

“Am I not relaxing the mood enough because a lot of my songs are quiet?” she asked, fearing the mood was getting too mellowed.

But fans eased his worries by singing along to his megahits – “Da Da!” “Busy Guy” and “I Can’t Wait!” — and waved their hands as the singer paced the stage.

The event took a majestic turn when rapper Coogie entered the room. Knowing how to make the audience feel like they’re sharing the night with them, Coogie performed his megahits including “Good Night”, “MBTI”, “Achoo” and “Life Goes On”.

The second half of the festival became more vibrant and lively, as eagle-eyed fan anticipation grew for rappers Woo Won-jae, Loco and Simon Dominic.

Wearing his signature look – a black beanie and a black Adidas jacket – Woo Won-jae was the first to take the stage among the three. As “Black Out,” a track from his 2020 self-titled debut album, blasted from the speakers, the crowd responded with fan chants and applause during his half-hour set.

Rappers Woo Won-jae and Loco performed at the Blue Spring Hip-hop Festival at Jangchung Arena, Jung-gu, Seoul on Friday.  (Park Jun-hee/The Korea Herald)

Rappers Woo Won-jae and Loco performed at the Blue Spring Hip-hop Festival at Jangchung Arena, Jung-gu, Seoul on Friday. (Park Jun-hee/The Korea Herald)

Rapper Loco, also known as the winner of “Show Me The Money 1”, went straight to his megahits to light up the show: “Don’t”, “Here”, “MBTI”, “On It”, “Hold Me Tight,” “It Takes Time,” “Too Much,” and “Encore.” He relied on every beat the DJ gave him, giving fans many unforgettable moments. After Loco’s solo performance, Woo Won-jae jumped on stage to perform “We Are” and “No Manners” with Loco.

Loco also teased a snippet from his new duet with Mamamoo’s Hwasa, titled “Somebody!” which was released on Monday evening.

The four hour session of sheer madness and fun ended with Simon Dominic’s set. Fans cherished every moment as they snapped photos and videos on their phones, while chanting, “Simon, Simon Dominic, Simon Dominic oh, oh.”

The highlight of the night came when Loco, Woo Won-jae, and Coogie returned to the stage to perform “Make Her Dance.”

To show their gratitude to the audience, who had waited so long for the long-awaited seasonal concert, the rappers came down from the stage to hold the hands of the audience and sign the albums that the fans had brought.

By Park Jun-hee (junheee@heraldcorp.com)