A slightly drunken review of Boys Republic in London
It has been just over three weeks since Boys Republic performed for the first time in the UK as part of their European tour and, boy, did my liver need time to recover. But it was not just my liver (and head) that needed that much recovery time in order to write this review clearly but also my little heart.
You see before going to see the group perform I had started to consider myself somewhat a fan of their music…now I am somewhat sitting on the fence. Although many reviews have seen the writers expressing their new-found love for the rising group, I left a little confused but mostly drunk.
Why was I not feeling as connected to this group watching them ‘live’ as I had done listening to them online? Maybe it was something to do with feeling as though I was simply getting what I could have got from them whilst sitting in my room on my laptop, just with a LOT more people.
Perhaps it was a little connected to the fact that I enjoy seeing idols perform live, and by live I mean singing live also. This is something Boys Republic unfortunately did not do. Now I know some could easily argue that it would be a little difficult with them also dancing but other groups have come over and accomplished this and left me speechless (including Infinite and Teen Top).
Despite my qualms with the show however, I remain sitting on the fence with the group because they were able to accomplish something many other relatively unknown groups have been unable to: a connection with the people watching the show, both fans and new fans alike.
This was shown when after several songs the group invited fans they had picked from the audience onto the stage to take part in a game with them. 3 young women and a young man joined the group and teamed up with them in two teams to complete a game and despite not everyone ‘winning’ said game, each and every one of the participants walked away with a memento of the group. This great sense of fan interaction left each person in the room wanting to see more from the group and helped to create a somewhat intimate feeling in the room (but maybe this was the alcohol). It was such an intimate setting and I was in such a lovely mood (see: drunk) that I decided to ask a couple of fans about their opinions on the show:
Nikki and Lauren were the first people I asked for a quick chat to get their opinion on the performance and both were more than happy to share their views. As slightly older fans they said they were happy to see more groups coming to the UK to perform and seemed to enjoy the fact that the group (who they were fans of beforehand) had travelled over here instead of venturing elsewhere as with other performances. They also shared that they were fans of other idol groups, mostly BTS, and were hoping that they would come over at some point in the near future.
I grabbed Abbie for a chat whilst walking around and asked her about the group and why she had come to see them and if she had been a fan before. She said yes and explained that she had bought tickets for two reasons: because she was a fan of them and because it was so close to home for her. She was pleased that they had come to the UK to perform and was looking forward to further events; especially as she was a new fan to K-pop (Abbie explained that she had been listening to kpop for a year and a half now). When asked what other groups she enjoyed she explained that she also enjoyed BTS, EXO, SHINee, Big Bang, f(x), 4 Minute, 2PM and Teen Top.
We bumped into these Rebecca and Saffron whilst making our way back inside from a quick smoking break (with me smoking and everyone else looking casually cool) and, boy, were they fans!
They quickly explained to us that they had bought tickets for the group straight away when they had gone on sale and had liked the group before but not as much before the actual performance (which they described as amazing). Both told us that it was essential for them to buy the tickets as they felt that not many groups came over to the UK to perform so the chance to see anyone was a good one. They appeared to be overjoyed that they had come to the performance and rated the groups fan service and performance as some of the best they had seen so far, agreeing that their favourite songs had been dress up and video game.
Most of the people I asked appeared to be fans of the group and were supportive of the fact that they had ventured to the UK to perform and I personally felt was a great thing. The atmosphere was nice and calm and even during the most passionate parts of their performances fans remained…calm. It was nice I admit it but dull at points also. There was a period of time where nobody seemed to have a clue what was happening during the groups’ small interval between songs. At this time many people seemed a little confused. It also didn’t appear to be as organised as other events have previously been.
The group performed as well as they could but I did fear at times that if their backing music i.e. CD stopped then they would have been completely stumped as to what to do next. There were three times I bumped into a sound technician who made jokes about stopping it to see how they would react, simply because he had been there the entire day and nothing had in his words ‘improved with the set’.
The dancing was great but no better than any other K-pop group that has come over before them. I was left with a bit of an empty feeling after watching them which disappointed me. I had expected them to want to leave their mark on international fans however I felt that they simply did not seem to care. After all we have to remember that most of their company’s revenue does not come from us. I have hopes for them though. There was something there that left me feeling that at some stage this group could come back a little stronger. Perhaps next time they should bring along another group.