EPIK HIGH leave Sydney on an epic high

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EPIK HIGH came, saw, and conquered Sydney on Friday night, 19 July.

As if they knew that their fans would be on edge waiting for them to appear, the music playing in the background while the crowd filled the space at Big Top Sydney was a classical selection, soothing and calming the hyped-up audience.

As the lights went down the intro video started, and the crowd exploded into an incredible roar as EPIK HIGH made their entrance. The members stood calmly in their spotlights; DJ Tukutz behind his decks, Tablo on the right, and Mithra Jin on the left. After a quick hello, they launched into their first song  ‘In Seoul’, with lyrics that quickly turned into ‘Sleepless in Sydney’.

The energy of the crowd lifted another notch as they reacted to the music and they became one heaving mass of bodies moving to the music.

Once the song ended, the members introduced themselves with Tablo speaking mostly in English and translating for Mithra Jin who laughed out loud when someone screamed out ‘I love you Mithra Jin‘ as he was introduced. Then, there was DJ Tukutz, who was introduced by Tablo as the founder and creator of K-pop.

Tablo expressed his displeasure at the barricades that separated the floor sections, but told the fans that there would be no barriers during the performance and everyone would get the opportunity to see them up close. 

They delivered on that promise by spending a large part of the concert sprinting around and through the crowd.  They high-fived, shook hands, posed for photos, appeared in videos and even took some of the multitude of proffered mobiles to snap a few selfies.

As musicians who have been in the music industry for over 15 years, they know how to work a crowd, and it showed – the audience loved every single minute of the show.  The deafening roar of screaming and yelling did not let up for the entire concert. The music is delivered with passion, energy and an overall sense of infectious and irreverent fun.

It is very clear how comfortable they are in front of their adoring fans. The engagement with their audience is constant and warm, as if they’re talking to longtime friends. They were humourous and downright hilarious at times, with Tablo constantly teasing not only the other members but also the audience.

It didn’t matter whether they were performing on the stage, standing on the turntable desk, standing on the barricades or on the floor in the midst of their adoring fans, the show maintained its energetic and frenetic pace.

Their music is the absolute star of the show, it’s delivered with passion and a level of cool that the rest of us can only dream about.

Tablo had everyone collapsing into fits of laughter with his story about Mithra Jin – the man who had not experienced love in his life until he came to Sydney. Tablo recounted the story of finding Mithra Jin on the street covered in leaves, pine cones and squirrel droppings. He pulled him out of that pile of mess, clothed him, fed him and basically saved him and then promised to show him the world. When Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz were trying to interrupt the story to ask questions between their laughter, Tablo told them ‘Be quiet, hyung is speaking‘. He then continued with his story recounting how sad Mithra Jin was when he expressed that he had never felt love in his life. But, the good news was that right then and there in Sydney he had felt love for the first time in his life.

It was the perfect segway into the next set of songs.

We got to witness the original Kpop choreography performed by all three members of Epik High, including the founder of Kpop DJ Tukutz. It was such a special moment and everyone there felt privileged to witness such a significant moment. The entire crowd were all laughing and cheering them on at the same time.

Unlike other groups who tease about encores, leaving fans screaming ‘encore encore encore‘, Tablo told an amused crowd that there was absolutely no way they would be coming back out on stage for an encore. He was adamant that there would be no encore (even though we all knew he was just teasing us) and with that they said their goodbyes and thank yous and left the stage.

Then, as the crowd screamed and chanted, they came back out for the much-anticipated encore, which consisted of ‘Born Hater’ and ‘Don’t Hate Me’. Both songs were greeted with the by now ear-splitting roars of approval from the audience. ‘Don’t Hate Me’ in particular morphed into a full-on rock version with all the brattiness and swagger that the song deserves.

With the encore in full swing and the show nearing its conclusion, the members took the chance for one last incursion into the crowd. It was one last chance to get a high five or a selfie.

And then it was over. Given the amount of music in EPIK HIGH‘s back catalogue, the show could have gone on for hours. We were left wanting more, but happy with what we got.

It was a show that no-one but EPIK HIGH could have done. It was the perfect mix of amazing music, showmanship, swagger, loud thumping beats and humour.

Tablo promised that this would not be the last time they visit Australia, and we like the rest of those in the audience to look forward to them coming back to wow us again.

Were you lucky enough to be at either of EPIK HIGH‘s shows in Australia? What were your thoughts on the show? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written and edited by Narelle

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