SXSW Review: f(x), March 12, Elysium

If SXSW is all about unique experiences, then clearly, there are few experience as unique as seeing f(x) in concert. The first K-pop band to ever play a showcase at SXSW, the five piece girl band packed the Elysium on Tuesday night. I think half the Korean population in Texas was there.

Formed by SM Entertainment (a record label), the five girls have been steadily gaining popularity in Asia with their take of electronic music, choreographed dance moves and well, let’s face it, good looks. With the hit single Electric Shock making some waves overseas here in North America, putting a show here seemed like a natural progression. Doing it in a dive bar in Austin during SXSW however, seemed like a risky move given the festivals tendency to lean towards the indie spectrum.

Personally, I thought the place was going to be half empty when I arrived. Instead, the Elysium was packed with a line that almost snaked around the corner. Once I got in, it became clear that this was no regular SXSW show. The stage had five lcd screens mounted on the walls and playing korean music videos. There was a smoke machine. The room seemed to be packed with K-pop fans with a small amount of actual SXSW music goers. These fans were quite rabid, as a stream of bodyguards was needed to block them off from when the band went from the truck to the soundcheck room.

Taking the stage to a rambunctious applause, the five girls danced around the stage to perform a song I can only guess is called “History”. As you would expect, the music was provided off a computer and the entirety of the stage was saved for the synchronized dancing. The show was about what you would expect if you have ever seen any k/j-pop videos, each singer gets their turn at the front of the stage and then the fans would cheer for whoever they liked the best, then they would get together to do a flirty dance that would immediately give any white guy yellow fever and then at the the end of each song, they would end with a pose.

The music itself was rather catchy, and I can definitely see the music being played at night clubs. It’s got that same turbo charged electronic vibe that made Psy’s track so popular. It seems like South Korea has gone EDM crazy. I was surprised that one of the singers, Amber, spoke perfect English. I don’t know if the others did, but it became pretty apparent she was the leader/JT version of the band. Always interesting to see the dynamics of a pop group when one person seems more talented then the rest. She might be the case.

In conclusion, a completely enjoyable night. The 15-20 minute set seemed a bit short but I guess that’s one of the tricks of the trade – leave them wanting more.

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Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

6 Responses to SXSW Review: f(x), March 12, Elysium

  1. Kia Semien

    Krystal also speaks English b/c she is American too (shorts shorts and with black hair) ans Victoria is the leader (long black pants)

  2. jhoana

    LOL amber is not the leader(she is the rapper and the social butterfly of the group) Victoria is the leader.

  3. Brian

    I can’t believe you would misread your K-pop girl groups so badly, Ricky. I mean, that other one these two people have pointed to is clearly the leader, not the one who, y’know, spoke the most at the show and seemed to take the lead on stage! GOD.

  4. Norm

    The song is called NU ABO, the barely audible words you were hearing were “Mystery mystery” and then “hysteric hysteric”. Amber and Krystal speak English fluently as they are originally from the U.S. Victoria is from China, who speaks little no no English (so probably didn’t do a lot of talking in Texas), is considered the groups leader.

    Amber may have the biggest following in the states because she also the most active on social media sites like Twitter, whereas the others are more active in social media only used in Korea and other Asian countries..

  5. Norm

    I don’t think the author was being criticized. In K-pop fandom, it’s common to know numerous facts about the idols and songs and it’s just fun to share such knowledge. Even as a metal head, I’ve been absorbed into k-pop for the past few months and the depth of things I know about f(x) and Girl’s Generation has become pretty ridiculous. lol

  6. Wayne Bowker

    F(x) at the SXSW is all about five lovely talented girls who made history by being the first K-pop group to perform there. Victoria is the leader and is Chinese and speaks no English. Luna and Sulli are Korean and speak very little English. Amber is Taiwanese-American and speaks perfect English and is very outward and does the talking on stage when in the US. Krystal the youngest and also a model and actress is Korean-American and also speaks perfect English. She is quite dynamic and outward when performing, but is quiet and reserved when the music stops. To me they are the cream of K-pop girl groups. Sweet and delicious to watch. They are my favorite group and Krystal is my favorite entertainer. F(x) along with Girls’ Generation who has Krystal’s sister, Jessica, as a member rule the world of ladies K-pop.

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