REVIEW: At the Oakland stop of their tour, ATEEZ focuses on the hip-hop in K-pop

in Oakland K-pop newcomers ATEEZ launched the North American leg of their second arena tour of 2022 at Oakland Arena on Saturday, offering Bay Area fans a taste of the octet’s hard-hitting sound after playing two arena gigs in Seoul, South Korea.
ATEEZ’s identity was mostly in the rap genre, unlike more current K-pop bands that have performed there like Stray Kids and Seventeen. The majority of the group got opportunities to showcase their talents, but rapper Song Min-gi stood out for his powerful, baritone voice. Fans refer to him as Mingi, and he had a rapping voice that would be appropriate for the horror-core subgenre. Additionally, people paid attention to him when he delivered his words.

The Fellowship: Break the Wall tour, which is now underway, will take the group to around 10 locations in the United States and Canada. In terms of venues, the majority of those markets, including Oakland, are new to the band. The biggest venues ATEEZ played in the US before pandemic lockdowns were significantly smaller clubs. Even though the Oakland concert wasn’t sold out, hundreds of fans nevertheless made a statement by showing up early and swarming the band’s platform as well as a catwalk leading to a huge second stage in the centre of the stadium floor.
The concert had a happy vibe about it. The group, which consists of the singers and rappers Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Wooyoung, and Jongho, made no mention of the crowd surge catastrophe that occurred in South Korea on October 29 and resulted in 156 fatalities and further injuries. However, the group had contributed 100 million won (about $71,000) to the relief effort.
Trainee group KQ Fellaz 2 served as the concert’s surprise guest opener at the start (think of them as a minor league team for ATEEZs management company, KQ Entertainment). This 10-person ensemble performed a fast-paced two-song concert with powerful dance. The opening track, “Geek,” focused mostly on rap. The second song was equally bass-heavy and contained sounds from Southeast Asia and even Bollywood. An obscure opening act would probably have been ignored if this were a rock performance. But KQ Fellaz 2 received a tremendous reception from the crowd.
Seonghwa and Wooyoung were now largely featured in ATEEZ’s switch to poppier, dance-oriented tracks like “Dazzling Light,” which included a pop-oriented beat. The R&B ballad “Mist” stood out amid the more aggressive songs thanks to its softer elements and modulated vocals. “Sunrise” and “My Way,” as well as the tropical-sounding “Illusion” and “Wave,” were combined by ATEEZ. The first of the later two included some entertaining animated images of palm palms and volcanic mountains, while the second had vibrant rainbow lights. Even though it was a banger, the next song, “Win,” which was played aboard a mock pirate ship, had a samba-influenced tune.
The group saved some of its biggest party songs for the very end, including the frantic “Say My Name,” on which the octet showed off its best combination of singing, rapping, and dancing at the same time; “ROCKY;” the tempo-changing “Wonderland,” and the industrial-sounding “Cyberpunk,” which featured vocals that followed a descending scale and a choreographed chair dance after which all eight members were glisten After multiple outfit changes, the gang was now sporting all-black military attire. It elicited the night’s biggest shrieks.

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