B1A4 Shine With Super-Supportive Fans, Live Band & Bob Dylan Cover at Debut NYC Concert
The boy band also tease "seasonal" new music they're hoping to release ASAP.
California has got a healthy amount of B1A4 lately with the K-pop boy band recording their "Solo Day" music video in Los Angeles in May and then performing at KCON 2014 in downtown L.A. this summer. But the rest of the country got a chance to get close to Jinyoung, Baro, Sandeul, CNU and Gongchan via the just-wrapped U.S. leg of their Road Trip tour. And their New York audience sure seemed appreciative of the trip.
There was the usual fan hysteria before the guys hit the stage -- like any show -- and it was kept high throughout performances of early singles "OK" and "Beautiful Target." It soon became clear the audience was filled with longtime, committed fans. Every member got huge screams when they sang their lines while the signature "sprout dance" move in the band's "Beautiful Target" choreography had attendees shrieking. B1A4 debuted in the K-pop scene in mid-2011, just as the music was gaining international traction, so these early songs very may have been the initial tracks in helping solidify a new generation of excited, American K-pop fans.
The enthusiasm stayed high with yelps and hollers seemingly from any type of slightly suggestive dance move -- whether it was a slight shimmie or a crotch grab -- to any time a member had a vocally challenging riff or rap section. The crowd even yelled supportive chants throughout certain singles. It was all likely comforting for the group who were not totally in-sync with each other during early numbers like "Oh My God" or "Because of You."
But nerves eased as the guys were allowed to get a little more free onstage. After performing "This Time Is Over," the quintet brought a video camera backstage where they showed fans their changing area in addition to a ton of kissy faces for the camera. The boys came back to perform an unexpected, sing-a-long cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," led by Jinyoung on guitar.
By the time the guys got to 2014 singles "Lonely" and "Solo Day," coming smack dab in the middle of the setlist, it was clear they were in their element with their sharpest performances up til that point. The "Lonely" number also let B1A4's backing band -- an expense usually not spent for K-pop acts touring the U.S. -- shine with additional live instrumentation added. The four piece (consisting of guitar, bass, drums and keys) was an awesome addition throughout the whole show, but the songs like "Lonely" and "Who Am I" stood out sonically for the added instrumental riffs.
While their backing band was the most striking technical difference between B1A4's concerts versus other recent K-pop showcases, the boys pinpointed to Billboard another reason their show stands out.
"We can't say that our concert is different from any other band," B1A4 leader Jinyoung says via translator. "But what we're trying to do is communicate more with the audience through our music and that's what we think is most special during our concert."
The guys didn't speak a ton of English to the U.S. audience -- though the band agrees that Baro has the best grasp on the language and is "always studying somewhere" -- the fivesome worked hard to make a connection with attendees; whether that was pulling a fan onstage to serenade during "Chu Chu Chu" or going into the camera pit to take selfies with them.
While fans can watch the guys' stateside adventures on Mnet America's Go! B1A4: Road Trip YouTube series, the boys told Billboard they're currently recording new music off-camera. While there is no concrete release dates, CNU says their next release will be related "to the season the album is released during" with Jinyoung adding they're looking to share the music "as soon as possible." They've discussed solo or sub-unit options within B1A4, but the group adds they're opting to keep those types of performances for their concert dates at the moment.
But whether as soloist, units or the full B1A4, it's clear B1A4 has done a fine job established a super-supportive fanbase that will cheer them on while the band pays them back, first and foremost, with performances of high musicality and the occasional selfie.