[Event Coverage] Chung Ha, iKON, and more for Korea Spotlight @ SXSW!

Korea Spotlight

SXSW @ Austin, Texas

Wednesday, March 13th


KOCCA (Korea Creative Content Agency) returns to SXSW for their 7th annual Korean Music Festival Showcase with artists Jambinai, KIRARA, XXX, Hitchhiker, CHUNG HA, and iKON!

With the success of constant venue-packed shows in the past and anticipation of this years line-up, this years Korea Spotlight was upgraded to ACL LIVE at the Moody Theatre to hold even more fans of K-POP and Korean music. Artists that have performed at this event in the past include f(x), Hyun A, Crayon Pop, Jay Park, Lee Hi, DPR LIVE, MAMAMOO, KARD, Hyolyn, Hyukoh, Red Velvet, Crush, MFBTY, Junoflo, and more!

Korean rock band Jambinai were formed in Seoul in 2009, and are known for their sound of combining rock music instrumentals with traditional Korean folk music. Their debut album Différance won the award for Best Crossover Album at the 2013 Korean Music Awards.

At 8pm they took the stage with an excitement-filled venue, as fans were anticipating the first performers of the night. After performing a few songs getting the crowd pumped up, member Lee Il Woo gave an intro to their next song;

“This song was written because of the tragedy that is the sinking of the Sewol Ferry. I want to dedicate this next song to anyone who has lost someone maybe family, or friends, and this is anger towards the government who didn’t risk saving their friends and students. Please listen to our song, this is called ‘They Keep Silence’.”

The audience was touched by their performance and cheered loudly in return, as they finished Il Woo returned to the mic and spoke to the audience again; “I feel a really really heavy presence about YOU… thank you for a great ending, thanks for your love and support, and thanks for your great vibe. I am shocked because we are not a big K-POP group but you guys still show us so much love. Thank you” They performed their beautiful slow paced song “Connection“, and left the stage with the crowd cheering for them.

Electronic music producer/performer KIRARA won the best electronic & dance album for her 2nd LP titled ‘moves‘ on the Korean Music Awards in 2016. KIRARA has also performed at the overseas tour on Nuits Sonores 2016, Trans Musicales 2017, and UMF Korea in 2018.

At approximately 8:50pm KIRARA took the stage with bright flashing lights beaming around her, while videos of saturated neon lights began playing overhead. After playing a song she turned to the audience and said, “Hi! I’m KIRARA from South Korea, It’s very nice to meet you. Please enjoy!”. She then performed her songs including “Wish, “Blink”, and “Prank”. As her set ended she bowed towards the audience and said “Thank you, Austin!” to which the crowd thanked her back by clapping and yelling excitedly for her, and she walked off the stage.

South Korean hip-hop duo XXX consists of members Kim Ximya, and producer Frnk. The two have received praise for their “dark hip-hop” sound as they channel their anger into their music and perform with confrontational/aggressive lyrics. The duo also received praise from The New York Times as they quote “XXX take cues from their own culture and mash them up with weirder found sounds, proving that Korean rap can innovate, not just replicate”.

At approximately 9:40pm, XXX took the stage and performed songs including “Bougie”, “Dior Homme”, “Sujak”, and “Scale Model”, while member Ximya also pleased the audience with some free-style on the turn tables.

Hitchhiker is a South Korean music producer working for SM Entertainment, as well as releasing his own music as a solo artist. Songs he has composed for SM artists include “A-CHA” by Super Junior, “Sign” by Girls’ Generation, “Dynamite” by SHINee, “Sweet Witches” by f(x), “My Lady” by EXO, “I Just” by Red Velvet, “Lucky Star” by TVXQ, and many more.

Hitchhiker took the stage at approximately 10:30pm and the crowd cheered loudly as he entered with epic-sounding back round music, and his costume shined brightly. He then played an array of DJ freestyles with the crowd jumping along to each beat, while various artistic videos played overhead. He then ended his set with a finale of his most-loved solo song “Eleven”.

Rising K-POP star CHUNG HA was first seen on the first season of MNET survival show Produce 101, where she placed 4th and debuted in South Korean girl group IOI. After the groups disbandment, she ventured out on her own as a solo artist and has received rising success. This will be CHUNG HA‘s third appearance performing in the states, as she previously performed alongside her group IOI @ KCON LA in 2016, and returned to perform @ KCON LA in 2018 as a solo artist. CHUNG HA recently received her first win as a solo artist on major Korean broadcasting show Show Champion on January 9th, 2019.

With a very highly anticipated performance, the crowd went wild as she finally took the stage at 11:20pm and performed songs “Do It”, and “Gotta Go”. The lights then beamed bright on her as she introduced herself, “Hi guys I’m Chung ha! I’m actually from Dallas so it feels great to be back to Texas after I left 10 years ago to Korea. This next song I’m gonna is called ‘Pit-a-Pat’ and if you’d like to take a selfie or something we can!” to which got the crowd extremely excited and cheering. She then performed “Pit-a-Pat” while walked around the sides of the stage and taking the phones of fans for selfies.

“This next song is a dance cover that I think you guys know the song, so if you know the words please sing along!” She told the screaming crowd as “7 rings” by Ariana Grande began playing with the audience singing every word. She then performed her debut song “Why don’t you know” and her famous cover from the show Produce 101, “Bang Bang”. “Thank you guys for all of your love, your support, and for those of you I see  dancing to my songs I really appreciate it! I love you guys, you guys are the best and I’ll be back soon!” she told the crowd as she exited the stage.

iKON are a 7-member boy group from YG Entertainment consisting of members B.I., Bobby, Jinhwan, Ju-ne, Yunhyeong, Donghyuk, and Chanwoo. The group was first seen from YG survival show WIN: Who is Next? and nicknamed as Team B. Soon after, the group was then put on survival show Mix & Match, which determined the groups final lineup. iKON finally debuted in 2015 taking their first music show win with “My Type” on MBC’s Music Core before even having their first official live appearance.

With this being iKON‘s very first performance in the United States, the crowd was highly anticipating their performance while constantly chanting “iKON! iKON! iKON!”. Many fans held banners and waved their official iKON light sticks while also singing along to iKON songs in excitement for their performance.

At 12:10am the venue was filled with high-pitched screams as iKON finally came to the stage and performed songs “Killing Me“, “#WYD” and “SINOSIJAK”. The members then each introduced themselves while each taking the time to say how excited they were to be in the US for the first time. They then performed songs “Love Scenario”, “Bling Bling”, “Rhythm Ta (Rock Version)”, “Freedom”, and “B-day”. Bobby then looked at the crowd and said jokingly “I’m so surprised you guys know all our songs and that we’re here.. I mean you guys actually know us right?” which had fans laughing in return.

The members then bowed and said their goodbyes to the crowd, and as they exited the stage the audience continuously chanted “iKON! iKON! iKON!”. The lights then went dim and the audience cheered with excitement as iKON appeared on stage again. They began throwing water from their water bottles on the crowd and gave an encore performance of “Bling Bling”. After finishing their performance each member bowed and said thank you, to which Bobby let the audience know “We’ll be back!”.

K-popped! would like to thank SXSW for the privilege of attending and covering the highly anticipated event Korea Spotlight and look forward to their future events!

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