Turn up the mind-numbing bass and pull out the styling gel — MBLAQ is here.
The South Korean boy band MBLAQ (pronounced M-Black, an acronym for Music Boys Live in Absolute Quality) kicked off The Blaq% Tour in Jakarta this Saturday. It was the first time the band had been to Indonesia.
Why would a South Korean band start a tour of Asia in Indonesia? Two words: the fans (nicknamed Indonesia A+).
“Our fans in Indonesia really supported us,” the band said at a press conference on Friday. “They asked us to come over to Indonesia.” And so they did. And about 30,000 screaming fans were there at Mata Elang International Stadium to greet them.
Whenever the five singers of MBLAQ walk onstage together (as they invariably do), whether they be dressed in matching silver vests, white shirts with metal studs or black spotted T-shirts, it’s difficult to tell them apart. Gradually it becomes easier for the untrained eye to distinguish between them — mostly by their multi-colored hair. And since the band’s main focus seems to be its members, here they are in detail (though the nicknames are not official in any way and are only intended to be used as memory devices):
Seung Ho (“spiky,” due to his long red hair), is the leader; G.O. (“angsty,” with his straight bangs cutting across his forehead), is the main vocalist; Thunder (“mushroom,” for lack of a better term — his hair is not quite a bowl cut, but close) and Mir (“blondie,” for obvious reasons) both rap; and finally, Lee Joon (“studly,” because not only is he considered the most attractive member, but he prominently sports a stud in his left ear) is the lead dancer. His abs are apparently a subject of much discussion.
Though they each have their niche, all five sing and dance in unison.
The band performed a number of their best-known songs on Saturday, including “One Better Day,” “Good Luv,” “Stay With Me,” “Mona Lisa” and “Oh Yeah.” Most songs pretty reliably featured a build-up to the dropping of the beat, flashing spotlights, repeating English catchphrases and synchronized disco dance moves. Occasionally, they mixed in solo numbers.
For instance, Lee Joon’s solo performance began with a black-and-white video, showing him showering, dressing in slow motion and taking an elevator. He apparently needed no more introduction, as the fans began to chant his name, “Lee Joon,” over and over.
When he arrived on stage, he called out, “I’m looking for a girlfriend — just one.” After searching through the audience, he pulled one lucky lady onstage. This girl was not only serenaded by a romantic song, but was then pulled over to a red couch, reclining while Lee Joon danced a sexy dance — removing articles of his clothing as he went. When he tore off his shirt, the crowd went wild. His “girlfriend” seemed overwhelmed — one can only suppose with ecstatic bliss.
Seung Ho also had a memorable number, dressed in a tunic with two sets of buttons and dancing with two stage girls. He somehow pulled off a two-second costume change and suddenly appeared in a red suit as the song switched to a fight-like number featuring, among other things, an impressive back-flip on his part.
MBLAQ enjoys the dramatic, and the intensity of the build-up in each number was echoed on the screens behind them, like one song where a virtual gothic mansion exploded, with real sparks shooting from the stage and fire flickering on the screen. Other effects included confetti and golden ribbons.
This concert was just as much about the audience as the performers. The fans were completely engrossed, waving MBLAQ-themed glow sticks to the music. Whenever the boys pointed a finger or flashed a finger-made heart in any direction, the corresponding section of the crowd would immediately respond, not to mention universally frantic cheering anytime a female so much as approached any of the stars.
The fans desperately tried to pass presents (ranging from roses to stuffed animals) to the members. Several fortunate girls had their cameras snagged by the celebrities, who would snap pictures of themselves before returning the devices to their owners. At one point, the audience cheered a turbulent “encore gauge” up to 100 percent, bringing the singers back to the stage for several more numbers.
In honor of these dedicated fans, MBLAQ performed a new song, “Wild,” during the concert, a duet featuring Mir and G.O. Needless to say, the audience was “wild” about it.