On Saturday 4th July 2015, K-pop boy group Boys Republic greeted UK fans at the O2 Islington Academy with their first European tour. The concert couldn’t have been on a better day. It was one of the hottest days in the UK and for the first time, London did not greet K-pop idols with rain.
The venue itself was in the heart of Angel, Islington. The hall itself was ideal for an event like this and allowed the concert to feel more personal. There was merchandise available at the back of the hall where staff were laughing and joking with fans, along with security (which was nice to see as most of the time they can be slightly on edge).
The hall was not as full of fans as I had hoped for, which was sad in one way as these boys deserved so much more than what was given (though I’ve got to hand it to the fans that turned out for the concert, they gave it their best – dancing, screaming, and singing).
When the lights went down, and the music began, the crowd were pumped and went insane, screaming and singing. The boys stepped out wearing crisp suits looking ready to perform to their best ability, singing a mixture of songs from their own releases, as well as a few special ones along the way.
Sunwoo had his solo moment by sitting on a high stool centre stage and taking the hype down a notch by singing his own rendition of Robbie Williams “Angels“. The fans reacted by singing along with him and swaying their hands from side to side. The youngest member Suwoong took Sunwoo’s place on the stage and sang to his highest to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon“, which he stated was one of his favourite songs to sing. I have to hand it to the guy, his voice was out of this world; I was thoroughly shocked at how well he performed this song, his vocals were spot on!
Following on from the youngest, the oldest and leader of the group Wonjun took to the stage after playfully pushing Suwoong off, and set up a piano. The crowd were serenaded to a compilation of British and Korean songs, once again proving that these guys have amazing vocals that need to be heard! Minsu and Sungjoon then took to the stage a little later with their own R&B/hip-hop stage, performing their fusion of Korean rapping of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk“, which was a huge hit with the crowds. There was a particular crowd of fans at the back who were truly enjoying themselves and dancing like there was no tomorrow, which caught the attention of the members. It was really nice to see fans enjoying themselves.
Choi Soo Min is a firm favourite of MCM Buzz, so it was a delight to hear that he was going to be performing with Boys Republic, especially after his last performance with Jung Min was cancelled. As if on command, Soo Min took to the stage and proved why he is a musical genius. People were enthralled by his skills on the keyboard and were even dancing along to the classical music he was playing. It was really nice to see a different genre of music being enjoyed by the crowd.
At one point during the concert the members invited a few of their fans on stage to play a game. It was a really heart warming moment to see the natural interaction with fans. As time went on there was a special video created, written, directed and performed by the members of Boys Republic, showing their heartfelt thanks to their fans. It was a nice edition and allowed the boys to change into their new outfits. The next segment was a dance performance. Full of acrobatic and strenuous movements, these boys slayed the dance floor.
Arriving at the event, nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to watch. I left feeling hyped and ready to party even longer. I found a new level of respect for the boys and their hard work, and even now I feel I could quite easily pop on to YouTube and watch their videos and performances. I went in unaware and came out a fan – that in itself is a feat!
Big companies look at these smaller concerts to see if it’s worth their time and money to come to London. Even if you’re not a fan of the group, it’s guaranteed that if you go with your friends to an event like this, you will end up leaving like you have attended a great party. At the same time you are supporting the growth of K-pop in Europe, and showing that there is a demand for more K-pop artists in the UK.
A big thank you to B7klan and Torpedo Productions, Charlotte Naudin, Boys Republic, Choi Soo Min and the staff at O2 Islington Academy for a thoroughly great night out. If you have a chance to see Boys Republic live, I wholeheartedly recommend you don’t miss out, as it was a fantastic performance. Be sure to check out the Boys Republic photo album we have on the MCM Buzz Facebook page.
Photo credits to @DestDanni