It’s Saturday night and I find myself at a cramped, yet atmospheric Amsterdam Bar and Hall amongst about a zillion different people, about to attend the concert of a band I didn’t know existed until a little over 24 hours earlier. Needless to say, I was slightly overwhelmed.
I did my best to prepare myself, a Spotify playlist here, a light Wikipedia-ing there, but Hyukoh put on a show that was impossible to prepare for. The four-piece South Korean indie rock group was formed in 2014 and has since put out 3 EP’s and 2 albums. I was excited, but a little nervous to see what they could do since I had only heard a couple of their softer songs, but quickly discovered I had nothing to worry about.
Before I could be blown off my feet by Hyukoh, LA-based indie pop/rock band, Inner Wave left my head spinning. The interactive and bubbly fivesome made the crowd feel right at home by cracking a few jokes about the particularly chilly night.
They set the mood for the night with soft guitars and distorted vocals comparable to the likes of alternative legends Tame Impala and The Strokes. I was happy to see they achieved the goal any opening act can hope for; the crowd’s approval and a spot in our music libraries.
After the impressive Inner Wave, the crowd grew antsy again, ready for the headliner. A decent wait and some bad dubstep songs later, Hyukoh stormed the stage, greeted by an electric audience. I’ve never wished I spoke Korean more in my life.
Lead singer and guitarist, Oh Hyuk had a charm about him and was seemingly witty as he spoke Korean into the crowd. As soon as they started to play I knew that this would be nothing like the quiet indie band that I had listened to on Spotify. They ripped out moody and intense guitar riffs with hard hitting bass lines and a pounding drum and I watched them transform into utter rock stars.
The synergy between the members was evident. They were perfectly in tune with each other and even had the crowd sing almost an entire song for them as they thrashed away at their instruments.
One of the highlights from the show was their song Citizen Kane, a three and a half minute riot of a song the blared out over the energetic crowd and potent red light. On a more mellow note, Their performance of Wi Ing Wi Ing was a beautiful closing to the night. The gentle vocals and acoustic guitar could bring badass Dirty Harry to tears and make your grandpa jump out of his wheelchair to dance.
I was completely in awe of the performances from both artists. It was truly a night full of great and unique music that serves as a visual of everything a concert should be. I can’t give all the credit to the artists though. The crowd that the bands drew was probably the most diverse crowd I’ve ever been a part of and everyone exuded excitement, positivity, and all around good vibes.
I have since downloaded all of Inner Wave and Hyukoh’s music and they have rightfully earned a place in my fall playlist. If you ever get a chance to see them live, I would highly recommend it because I will be there too.