KCON 2017 LA: Day 2 Closes Out With GOT7, Wanna One & More

Wanna One, 2017
Courtesy of Lippin Group

Wanna One performs onstage at KCON 2017 Concert at Staples Center on Aug. 20, 2017 in Los Angeles.

With over 85,000 people in attendance over the three days of this year’s Los Angeles leg of KCON USA presented by Toyota, KCON 2017 LA was bigger than ever and the Korean culture festival wrapped with a second night of performances featuring some of K-pop’s rising acts.

Beginning with K.A.R.D, a new co-ed K-pop that’s attracted fans throughout North and South America with their reggaeton and moombahton-tinged dance music, the second show was a testament to the youth and vitality of the industry.

Decked in red and white outfits, the quartet -- two males, two females -- performed “Don’t Recall,” “Hola Hola” (their first formal single) and “Oh NaNa.” With each beat, they energized the crowd up that much more, serving as a fresh-faced hype crew for the rest of the night and leaving their set with the audience cheering for more. During a short talking session, the act introduced themselves and rapper BM expressed delight at being able to perform in his hometown. BM then brought vocalist Somin to tears by asking the whole crowd to sing her “Happy Birthday.” 

Following after K.A.R.D came another scarlet-clad group, with Oh My Girl breaking into a rendition of their latest single, the quirky electropop “Coloring Book,” as they flounced around the stage looking like they stepped straight out of a Disney Channel film in their voluminous skirt and shirt ensembles. As special guests rather than full-fledged KCON Artists, the girl group only performed two songs to the disappointment of many a girl group fan in the audience that night. They chose to close things out with their atmospheric electro-ballad “Closer,” showcasing the stylized choreography and the members' sweet vocals before the stage went dark.

Heize, a recent breakout alt-R&B star in Korea and the final female performer of the night, took the stage on her own to perform her emotive “Don’t Know You,” impressing with her vocal prowess. The jumbotron then directed the KCON audience to turn on the flashlights of their phones, and the glow throughout the stadium had the soloist break into tears of gratitude as she finished out her set with the song "Star" awash in the light of thousands of fans.  

The most intriguing, and newest, act of the night came next, with the 11-member Wanna One taking the stage. “Energetic” and “Burn It Up” filled the stadium with roars as local fans expressed their love of the newly-debuted boy band, whose elaborate dance formations were some of the most intricate of the night. Formed through a television show and limited in lifespan, the group is the poster child for the transient nature of K-pop. Though they won't exist come 2019, there were many Wanna One fans in attendance paying for the opportunity to see the new group despite the knowledge that the band's time is limited. 

Following the newest performers of the night was the oldest, with g.o.d’s Kim Tae Woo bolstered by boy band Astro for a performance of “One Candle,” a g.o.d classic, before Kim belted out his hit “Love Rain” and “Following,” his most recent single, pleasing both older and younger fans in the venue with his mellifluous electropop.

Following Kim was a special performance from JJ Project, also known as JB and Jinyoung from GOT7. The two took to the center stage to offer up a reflective performance of their recent single “Tomorrow, Today,” acting as foils for one another both vocally, with JB’s warm tone countering Jinyoung's sweeter one, and also through the mirrored choreography, showing a sentimental and introspective side to GOT7 that the band would later revisit as a whole.

Following JJ Project, Wanna One surprised the crowd with a second appearance on the main stage, this time to perform “Never” and “Pick Me,” two songs from Produce 101 that had the entire venue filled with exuberance. The audience passionately danced and sang along to the members delivering the high-energy EDM tunes as the band offered up some tight choreo.

Six-member boy band Astro returned to the stage after Wanna One departed to hype up the crowd with sleek electropop. The only repeat that night from the previous year’s KCON LA, Astro showed a new side to themselves, moving away from the fun, festive performances that they showed in the past and instead offering up a suaver, more masculine stage image. Gone were bright outfits of 2016, and instead the members were decked out in in red and black streetwear as they took the stage with a impactful dance intro. But the group’s bright vibrancy shone through their songs, which had many crowd members singing along to "Again," "Breathless," "Polaris," and "Baby."

Rising rookies NCT 127, who also performed at KCON 2017 NY, were up next, dominating the stage with their dramatic choreography, filled with popping and acrobatics as the members moved around stage in staid white athleisure suits. Despite some issues with their microphones that resulted in concert crew appearing on stage to provide a few replacements, the nine members were able to command the attention of the crowd at the Staples Center with powerful performances of "Firetruck," "Limitless," and "Cherry Bomb” as fans sang along and waved green light sticks in motion to the propulsive singles.

GOT7, a multinational act that’s performed in the States on multiple occasions, closed out the night with powerful performances of “Never Ever” and “Hard Carry.” But nestled in between the two aggressive dance tracks, the seven members offered up an evocative performance of the ballad “Everyday,” co-written by JB. Along with their trio of songs, the seven men took some time to meet local fans through a proposal-style interaction with concertgoers, with cheers echoing throughout the stadium as Jackson hugged two fans. Promising to return soon, and teasing new music, GOT7’s set ended with the rest of the concert lineup returning for one final bow before waving farewell.

As the artists, and the audience, reluctantly left the arena, KCON 2017 LA came to a close with fans leaving the venue singing along to the songs they had seen performed earlier that night.