KARD has stirred up an unimaginable amount of buzz internationally, with only three track releases and no “official” debut, many were wondering how they could possibly hold a world tour so early in their career. The last official co-ed K-POP group on the scene, was back in 2013 with Core Contents Media’s aptly titled “Co-Ed”. Almost four years later, we finally have a co-ed group for a new era, who is quickly becoming the must watch debut of 2016/2017. The “Wild KARD” 2017 tour, hosted by SubKulture, officially put all skepticism to rest and has solidified KARD’s international expansion. Lines of fans wrapped around the Ace Hotel and once inside the venue, the excitement and energy was on par with anything you’d see for well-established acts.
A montage of clips from their latest single, “Rumor” flashed upon the main screens, eliciting cheers from the audience. As KARD took the stage, the crowds roar soared as fans jumped to their feet and stayed there for the rest of the show. Opening the show with “Rumor” followed by an English version of “Don’t Recall”, KARD gave a powerful and polished performance. Afterwards, KARD members’ B.M., Somin, Jiwoo and J. Seph greeted the fans and began their official Q&A, hosted by our MC of the night, Danny.
Unfortunately, we missed out on sub-unit performances, as press rules required we stash our gear right after our coverage (SubK, who hurt you?). As we arrived back in the concert hall, we were greeted with the sound of fans cheering up a storm during some behind the scenes practice footage projected on the stage backdrop. KARD took the stage again to showcase a remake of “Can’t Stop”, a nineties track from previous labelmate and yester-years’ co-ed group “ZAM”.
The time finally arrived for the highly-anticipated fan-games. A giant plushy dice granted four lucky fans the chance for a personalized wake-up call, polaroid with the group, an autograph, a hug, or an autographed album. Danny kept the banter lively and the crowd laughing throughout the interactions. Danny knew well how to relate to the fans, and with every rigged dice throw, he made sure all their wishes came true. A random dance play with sexy dance penalties, served as the perfect source of fan-service and SMS fodder for KARD fans. Despite successfully winning every round during the North American tour, Danny won extra hosting points for making Somin and Jiwoo dance the penalty for the final LA stop. Of course, Danny gave all the fangirls a very special treat by requesting a peek at B.M.’s chocolate abs. Ten out of ten, Danny was a fantastic host, and from here on out, I want him as MC for all future K-POP concerts.
Bringing an end to the fan-meet and games, Somin and Jiwoo performed a cover of Ariana Grande’s “Side to side”, with B.M. and J. Seph smoothly weaving self-pinned raps into the cover track. The final talk of the night brought an energy of thankfulness and reflection, as B.M. expressed their excitement for their official debut in July. Each member gave their personal thanks to their fans, with B.M. giving an especially touching speech about the rewards of perseverance through the trainee hardships.
B.M.: "We'd go through it again, if we knew this was the reward."
Gone are the days when US fans could only mumble a few Korean lyrics. The enunciation as fans sang to KARD’s unofficial debut song “Oh NaNa” was almost word for word. KARD began to bid farewell to the audience, but we all know the show isn’t over unless the houselights are on and security starts shooing everybody. During the call for encore, an announcement to turn on all the phone flashlights for KARD, produced probably one of the most touching and beautifully unified moments I’ve seen in a K-POP show.
KARD bounced back on the stage lively and triumphant, decked out in the official KARD merch. You could see and feel the ease that KARD felt among their fans during their encore. The members took turns standing nearest the edges of the stage, immersing themselves in the vibes and energies of the adoring crowd. It seems like the success of the tour was finally hitting them, and their joy was tangible as they launched into the Korean version of “Don't Recall” and a 2nd reprise of “Rumor”. After a giant group pic with the LA audience, B.M. paid the ultimate fan-service by giving his fans the literal shirt off his back and an eye full of bare B.M. torso. What a wonderful day to be a K-POP fan!
All in all, the Wild KARD tour was truly the ace up their sleeve. While showcasing their songs, interacting with fans, and giving us the best of fan-service, KARD proved that their buzz was rightly earned and that their talent superseded the usual process of K-POP debuts. The fans have long since been won, and their appearance on the K-POP scene was exactly the shake-up that was needed. SubKulture did a fantastic job with KARD, in creating a show that lacked nothing in content and elevated the anticipation of KARD’s 1st album release. It’s been a long time since I had a real co-ed group to stan, but now I’m so ready. Bring it on KARD!
Big thanks to SubKulture, KARD, and DSP for bringing a great showcase to the North American fans!
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