SINGAPORE — “We are not everyone,” proclaimed Tablo at Epik High’s first full-length show in Singapore.
Pausing for dramatic effect, he added: “We are no one.”
Tablo is spot on. Epik High isn’t everyone. In this case, we mean the rest of the K-pop crowd.
Atypical of most K-pop acts who stage concerts here, Epik High subscribes to a fuss-free ethos.
Onstage, there was no flashy fireworks or striking strobe lights. Instead, Tablo and Mithra Jin showered the audiences with water from bottles.
There was no mass, synchronised dance. Instead, they freestyled.
One of the night’s highlight was when DJ Tukutz busted out his B-boy moves. Usually spinning records on the DJ console, DJ Tukutz surprised us by performing gravity-defying spins on the floor.
The 90-minute show was slick minimalism at its best. The trio of rappers focused on their music and audience interaction.
From the get-go, Epik High raised temperatures at The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa.
“Today is a hot night. It’s only going to get hotter,” said Tablo, the leader of Epik High.
Epik High were the conductors. The 1650-strong crowd was the orchestra. The audience’s energy dipped and rose according to the type of songs performed.
Opening with songs ‘In Seoul’, ‘No Thanxxx’ and ‘Burj Khalifa’, Tablo and Mithra Jin’s chemistry was apparent.
The dynamic duo’s rapping flowed and ebbed effortlessly on fast tracks, ‘High Technology’ and ‘Kill this Love’. The standing crowd bopped and jumped to the thumping beats.
Energy levels continued to rise, only dipping when slower tunes, such as ‘Happen Ending’ and ‘Love Drunk’, came on. The enthusiastic audience swayed gently as if drunk on Epik High’s music.
Also, Tablo did a lot of talking in fluent English.
Tablo is the group’s unofficial spokesman. He graduated with a bachelor and Masters in English from the prestigious Stanford University.
The free-spirit has a knack for spouting deep quotes.
At times, you want to collect the pearls of wisdom coming out of his mouth.
He comforted our weary souls at the start of the show. He said: “If you can here today from a place of stress, pain, worry, heartbreak. We will take that all away tonight.”
At times, he sounds like he is reciting poetry or song lyrics.
When the show was drawing to an end, he said: “Tonight is one of those nights you wish can last forever. Tonight is one of those nights you want time to stop.”
At times, he sounds profound and nonsensical in the same sentence.
Mistranslating Mithra Jin’s message to the fans, Tablo said: “So the story goes like this: “When Mithra was four years old, living in the wildness away from Seoul, he prayed very hard for somebody to love him. Those animals became his friends. But tonight, thanks to Singapore, he feels true love.”
That’s the beauty of Tablo’s ad-libs. It’s that personal connection with fans. No show is the same.
The night ended on the high with Epik High’s biggest hits, ‘Born Hater’ and ‘Don’t Hate Me’.
If there is one thing to hate about the show, it’s that the 16-song setlist left us wanting more.
Relive Epik High’s concert tracks on KKBOX here.