Epik High 2015 L.A. Concert Recap

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Six years have passed since South Korean hip-hop group Epik High last toured in the U.S., and last week, California fans made sure the group kicked off their highly-anticipated trek with a bang.

After successfully opening their 2015 North American Tour in San Francisco, Epik High headed to Los Angeles on May 29. Fans eagerly waited outside the Wiltern Theatre in Koreatown hours before the concert began, with the line winding around the block.

As fans squeezed into the theater, sweeping classical music echoed into the opulent gold ceiling. Instead of spectacular LED displays or set designs that are usually present at K-pop concerts, Epik High’s stage was minimally dressed with a single DJ booth that bore the band’s logo.

Promptly at 8 p.m., the concert kicked off with Koreatown rapper Parker, formerly known as Dumbfoundead, performing some of his signature songs, such as “Are We There Yet?” and “Ganghis Khan.” Fellow L.A. rappers Mike B and 1TYM’s Danny later joined him on stage to help create a dynamic performance.

Dumbfoundead at epik high

Epik High then took the stage with their soothing, orchestral track “Encore” and transitioned to their signature, electronic song “Fly.” Fans chanted the lyrics while bobbing their glow sticks to the beat.

Members Tablo, Mithra and DJ Tukutz then briefly introduced themselves to the audience—with the help of dramatic theme songs—and performed the hard-hitting song “Get Out of the Way,” followed by Map the Soul tracks “Free Music” and “Top Gun.” The group closed the set with “Light It Up,” which was originally featured in G-dragon’s second solo album.

After a short break, the trio proceeded to perform the ballad “It’s Cold” when DJ Tukutz abruptly cut off the music and suggested a song change.

“It’s too hot for L.A.,” the DJ joked in accented English. “L.A. too dry. L.A. needs more moist.”

Keeping the suggestion in mind, the two rappers proceeded to perform the melancholy song “Umbrella,” only for Tukutz to stop the music again—this time, citing that the song was “too moist.” Deciding to save the slow songs for later, the trio dove into the infectious beats of “Burj Khalifa” and cinematic songs “Map the Soul” and “Rich.”

During intermission, the band read a letter thanking North American fans for their continued support. However, the endearing letter quickly degenerated into a list of things they like about North America, which spanned from famous celebrities, such as Justin Bieber, Drake and the Jonas Brothers, to random things, such as grizzly bears, frappuccinos and Stanford University.

epik high performance 2

After DJ Tukutz opened the second half of the concert by showing off his K-pop dance moves, the team reflected on their long-awaited return to the U.S.

“The most difficult part of this tour is that it’s far away from home,” Tablo said to the audience, adding that he already missed his family back in Korea. “There’s only one good reason to be away from home, and it’s to be home with you guys.”

Without any set or wardrobe changes, the trio continued to perform old fan favorites, such as “Love Love Love” and “The One,” to hits from their latest album Shoebox, including Tablo’s cover of labelmate Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips.”

For the grand finale, Epik High closed the show with their dark, uptempo song “Fan,” but returned for an encore at their fans’ insistence and performed “Born Hater.” During the encore, Tablo and Mithra offered some heavy-duty fan service, tossing autographed shirts to the crowd and taking selfies and videos with their fans’ smartphones.

Epik High ended the night by saying farewell to their L.A. fans, promising to return and not make them wait six years for the next performance.

The next stop on Epik High’s North American trek is Seattle, where the hip-hop trio will perform at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle on June 2 before heading to Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, New York City and Toronto. For more information about the tour, visit the official tour website.

See Also


“10 Obscure Facts About Epik High”

“Epik High Adds Additional Dates for 2015 North American Tour”

“September Issue: The Persecution of Daniel Lee”


All photos by Derek Lee

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