FRANCES MAGSALIN WRITES – Since their debut in 2015, the members of Day6 have sent shockwaves through the K-pop industry by writing and composing their own songs, playing instruments during their concerts, and singing live without a backtrack. This is in stark contrast to other popular groups in the industry, who are usually given material to sing while performing intense choreography, rather than playing instruments or focusing on vocal talent during concerts.

Day6 constantly pushes its listeners to question what is considered “K-Pop” by testing the industry’s stereotypes. Their pop-rock musical style and impeccable talent drove thousands of fans from all over the world to the small town of La Mirada, California this month for the Day6 Live Meet and Greet Tour.

They opened with a nostalgic post-breakup song, “I Wait.” The boys supplied not only live vocals, but a live backtrack as well. With Dowoon on percussion, YoungK on bass, Wonpil on the synthesizer, and Jae and Sungjin on guitar, the band proved their instrumental talent and chemistry. Amazingly, fans who did not even speak or understand Korean shouted the lyrics in unison.

 

Jae brought the audience to tears as he expressed gratitude to his international fans, especially those attending the first show held in his hometown:

“This concert is a crazy moment for me… I debuted in Korea, I’ve done my stages all around the world with the team, and everywhere’s been amazing — it’s just, this is where everything started.  It feels like a fantasy when you’re doing it in a different country, but here it feels real to me.”

The group also snapped a picture with the fans to commemorate the occasion.

Finally, the band closed with two of their most upbeat songs: “Dance Dance” and “Free.” In an exhilarating moment, Jae and Sungjin leapt into the crowd, causing a great ruckus and getting everyone up on their feet.

After the concert, there was a “hi-touch” event where fans could exchange high-fives with the band. Separated only by a table, fans respectfully approached the group in a single-file line. Reactions from the fans ranged from calm and collected conversations to fans screaming as soon as they had high-fived the last member. Though the event moved rather quickly, fans were satisfied with their close interaction with the band.

The stadium was full of emotion from start to finish, an example of Day6’s ability to transcend linguistic and cultural barriers in order to connect with an international audience. As the Korean “hallyu” wave of pop culture continues to break through into the American mainstream, Day6 provides a fresh sound, identity, and ownership over their audience– a force to be reckoned with.

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